Dal Baati Churma, Bandhani Saree, Hawa Mahal, Marwari Pagri! If there’s one thing that all of us know about Rajasthan, it is probably the song “Kesariya Balam”. But did you also know that Rajasthan is home to nearly 8 schools of miniature paintings? You heard that right. Try this. If you think about Indian paintings, the first pictures to probably pop into your head are visuals of Maharajas and Ranis, bedecked in jewels and seated in opulent surroundings of palaces. These pictures you visualize belong to none other than the influential schools of Rajasthani miniature paintings.
And now, for the first time, Rooftop is launching a course uniting 8 schools of Rajasthani miniature paintings, led by eminent maestros from each school.
From the Mughal-inspired depictions of Lord Krishna in Kishangarh school to realistic depictions of flawed skin in the Deogarh school, the Rajasthani Miniature Course offers you multiple ways of seeing the world we live in. Thanks to this course, you can now access these various artistic legacies without stepping out of your home.
What will you learn in this course?
Your first teachers in this course will be a group of extremely acclaimed artists like Padma Shri Syed Shakir Ali, Ramu Ramdev and Samdar Singh Khangarot, who will take you through the history and origins of Rajasthani miniature art.
But our course goes beyond just exploring the history and characteristics of different art schools. Our skilled maestro artists also share some handy tips and tricks that will make practising your brushstrokes a breeze. For instance, in this course, esteemed artist Virendra Bannu guides the learners into sketching the human figurines depicted in Rajasthani Miniatures.
In this blog, we will explore the 8 schools of Rajasthani miniature painting featured in Rooftop’s course and introduce you to the talented artists teaching the myriad artistry of these schools.
1. Bikaner School of Rajasthani Miniature Painting
The Bikaner School of painting traces its origins back to around 1488, during the reign of Rao Bika. This school is known for its depictions of mythologies, Puranas, and the royal life of Bikaner. Bikaneri paintings often feature scenes of the royal court, animals and flowers, with women figurines delicately clad in translucent ghagra-cholis. Notable characteristics include the realistic portrayal of animals and the depth added to the background, typically lush with greenery.
The Artist: Mahaveer Swami
Mahaveer Swami, born in 1959 in Rajasthan, comes from a lineage of traditional Bikaner artists. He revived the Bikaner School with remarkable originality and brilliance, distinguishing himself from contemporary miniaturists. His work draws influence from Mughal and Rajasthan Miniatures. Mahaveer Swami’s preferred subjects often revolve around ascetic lifestyles, the daily life of Indian women, and Hindu mythological themes. His art has gained international recognition through exhibitions at prestigious galleries in various Indian cities and abroad.
2. Jaipur School of Rajasthani Miniature Painting
Originating from the capital city of Amer, the Jaipur School of Miniatures gained prominence under Raja Sawai Jai Singh (1699-1743). This school is characterized by vibrant depictions of Radha and Krishna, as well as scenes of leisurely pursuits, including hunting, elephant rides and elephant fights. The paintings often use bright colours, accentuated by precious gemstones like Emeralds, Jade, Sapphires, and others, ground finely and added to the artwork. Borders are ornate, adorned with religious symbols and delicate vines.
The Artists: Shammi Bannu Sharma & Asharam Meghwal
A seventh-generation miniature artist, he comes from a lineage of esteemed miniature artists. He learned the art by silently observing his father’s artwork and went on to demonstrate painting techniques and conduct workshops at the V&A museum in England. Shammi’s Miniature paintings have graced exhibitions across India and overseas, and he received the prestigious National Award in 2014 for his impactful contributions to the art form.
As a master artist, Shilp Guru Asharam Meghwal’s exceptional contributions to the art form were acknowledged with the prestigious National Award in 2001. Rajasthan’s rich history including its forts and wars and captivating folktales serve as his primary sources of inspiration. He has honed his skills to the point where he can use 12 different brush-holding techniques. In this course, Asharam Meghwal shares insightful information regarding the brushes and brush techniques used while painting these miniatures
3. Nathdwara School of Rajasthani Miniature Painting
The Nathdwara School of Miniature Paintings derives its name from the spiritual home of Shrinathji – the Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan. This art form emerged from the Bhakti movement and the pursuit of Pushti Marg, similar to Pichwai paintings. Nathdwara miniatures often depict motifs like lotuses, cows, and peacocks adorning the negative spaces, with Shrinathji occupying the central focus. These paintings are rendered in deep blues, bright yellows, and oranges, all auspiciously associated with Shrinathji.
The Artist: Anandi Lal Sharma
An artist from a lineage deeply rooted in the Nathdwara style of painting, Anandi Lal Ji began his artistic journey under the tutelage of his father. His exceptional ability to create distinctive colours from natural pigments sets him apart and enables him to produce awe-inspiring works of art.
4. Mewar School of Rajasthani Miniature Painting
The Sisodia dynasty of Mewar patronized the Mewar School of Miniatures in the 17th Century. Mewar miniatures are typically bright with saturated colours, featuring figures painted with protruding eyes against architectural arches or plain landscapes. Sahibdin, a renowned painter, created extensive artworks during the reign of Karan Singh and Jagjit Singh in 1614, contributing significantly to the Mewar Miniature tradition.
The Artist: Bhanwar Lal Kumawat
Kumawat’s artistic heritage traces back to his grandfather, and despite challenging times when art faced a decline, his father turned to masonry for survival. Today, Kumawat is a sought-after artisan, with his creations adorning restaurants in Chennai and Bangalore.
5. Deogarh School of Rajasthani Miniature Painting
The Deogarh School of Miniatures, one of the thikanas of the Jodhpur School, bloomed in the late 18th century under Bagta, a painter for the Rawat clan of Deogarh. This school introduced an aerial perspective to its landscapes and depicted court life with exquisite detail. Some of Bagta’s paintings have a satirical, caricature-like feel, marked by humour and wit.
The Artist: Virendra Bannu
A seventh-generation artist, Virendra Ji continues his family’s artistic legacy. His journey has taken him from the brink of decline to becoming a sought-after artisan, with his creations gracing establishments across India.
6. Kishangarh School of Rajasthani Miniatures
Emerging from Kishangarh in the early 18th century, the Kishangarh School of Miniature painting merged technical aspects of Mughal paintings with devotional figures like Lord Krishna. Kishangarh paintings often feature petite figurines with elongated faces in side profiles, characterised by their distinct facial features.
The Artist: Khushnarayan Jangid
Hailing from Jaipur, Khushnarayan Ji has dedicated three decades to perfecting his skills in traditional miniature art and contemporary painting. His remarkable talent has earned him prestigious awards and accolades.
7. Kota Bundi School of Rajasthani Miniatures
Frequently associated with the Bundi School of Miniature Painting, the Kota Bundi School of Miniature Painting emerged in Kota. These schools share common characteristics, such as intricate brushwork, vibrant colours, and a focus on depicting emotions and nature. They often feature hunting scenes set in lush landscapes.
The Artist: Sheikh Mohammed Luqman
A fifth-generation miniature artist, he stands as a torchbearer of this tradition. His lineage and passion for art have propelled him to receive accolades and recognition.
8. Jodhpur School of Rajasthani Miniatures
The Jodhpur or Marwar School of Painting gained prominence in the 17th century under Maharaja Jaswant Singh. This style of art combined Mughal influences with typical Rajasthan miniatures, featuring flat images, bold hues, court themes, and delicate figures. Notably, the treatment of the sky in Jodhpur School paintings includes slender, spiral-shaped clouds.
The Artist: Sampat Raj Bochiya
Sampat Raj Bochiya’s portfolio spans diverse genres, showcasing his versatility and storytelling prowess. His creative journey began as a 4th-grade student fascinated by his uncle’s painting and eventually led him to win a National Award for his unique narrative-driven art.
Rooftop launched this course at its premier exhibition on Indian Art Forms – Indiyart at Bikaner House, Delhi. Click here to read a blog covering all the fun details from Miniature Melodies – an evening celebrating Rajasthani music and art.
The Rajasthani Miniature Course brings together master artists who have dedicated their lives to preserving and enriching these traditions. This course is not only a celebration of art but also a bridge between tradition and the contemporary world, ensuring that these invaluable artistic legacies endure for generations to come.
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