India has always been referred to as the “Sone ki Chidiya,” or the Golden Sparrow, because of its extensive cultural legacy. The earliest types of Indian art date back to about 3500 BC, and both cultural and religious factors have had a significant impact on their development. Whether they be paintings, sculptures, poems, or musical compositions, the diverse culture of the nation leaves a lasting impression on these works of art.

Indian Art For Pre-Historic Times

Ancient Indian artistic expressions can be seen in rock paintings and temple art. The Indian subcontinent has ancient cave art. The murals at Ajanta, Ellora, Bagh, Sittanavasal, etc., which emphasise naturalism, are among the best examples of these paintings. 

Bagh paintings

The Bagh Caves’ wall paintings originate from the time between the fifth and seventh centuries. These works of art showcase the most magnificent Indian artistic traditions. These mural paintings are worth your attention.

Sittanavasal Paintings

Animals, fish, ducks, people gathering lotuses from a pond, two dancing figures, and other subjects are depicted in these paintings. In addition, there are inscriptions from the ninth and tenth centuries.

Bagh Painting (l); Sittanavasal Painting (r)
Image credits: Madhya Pradesh Tourism (l); Sreenivasarao’s Blogs(r)

Chola Art

The Chola Artists of Deccan produced paintings and sculptures out of rock, sandstone, and metal between the years 800 and 1300. They are particularly well-known for their bronze sculptures, the most well-known of which is Shiva as Nataraja.

Image credits: The Antique Story (l); World History Encyclopedia (r)

Indian Art Art From Colonial Times

It was during this phase that the Bengal School of Arts originated. Additionally, many artists merged avant-garde western forms of art into the original Indian art forms.

Miniature paintings

Miniature art is a labour of love that is meticulously crafted and shown on a variety of surfaces, including palm leaves, paper, wood, marble, ivory panels, and fabric. To produce gorgeous colours, organic and natural minerals such as stone dust, and actual gold and silver dust are employed. Even the paper that is used is unique; it has been polished with stone to provide a smooth, impermeable surface.

Rajasthani Miniature Art

In contrast to Mughal miniature art, which portrayed regal life, Rajasthani miniatures, which were created as manuscripts and decorations on the walls of Havelis and forts, focused on the love tales of Lord Krishna and the mythical literature of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Image credits: Saatchiart (l); The Luxe Cafe (r)

Pahari Art

In the mountainous areas between Jammu and Himachal Pradesh, the Pahari style also developed with the support of the Rajputs. The Mughal miniature painting and Vaishnavite narratives were assimilated into the Pahari school’s development.

Image credits: Wikipedia (l; r)

There are several schools of Pahari art, including the forceful Guler and Kulu-Mandi, the delicate Kangra style, with its poetic portrayal of naturalism and “Srinagar,” and the bold Basohli art with its use of monochrome colours and multi-floor constructions.

Deccani Style

The miniature art form known as the Deccani style was popular in Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Golkonda, and Hyderabad between the 16th and 19th centuries. This fashion initially evolved without any Mughal influences. It was a style of Islamic painting that combined Turkish, Iranian, and European elements. The Holy Quran and the Surahs were often depicted in paintings at this time through text illumination and embellishment.

Image credits: Flickr (l); Soundcloud (r)

Indian art continues to show the range of creative and cultural influence that has informed and defined its aesthetic over the duration of Indian art history, from prehistoric rock carvings to current adaptations of classic traditions.

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Because really, How much art is too much art?