Rajaram Sharma is an artist who has dedicated almost five decades of his life to art. A first-generation Pichwai artist, he left his home when he was 13 and went to Nathdwara to learn the traditional art form. Over the years, he also mastered the Miniature art form and is recognised for his skill in the two art forms. In this blog we will know more about Rajaram Sharma’s paintings in Pichwai art and Miniature art form.
Rajaram Sharma and his Pichwais
Pichwais were created to be hung on the walls behind the main Shrinathji idol of the Nathdwara Temple. Though a type of temple art, Pichwais themselves were not worshipped but served as the idol’s background. Over time, these paintings were shrunk to sizes that could be carried by the visiting devotees as souvenirs of their pilgrimages; and were seen as a way to take the deity’s blessings into their homes.
Rajaram Sharma is acknowledged nationally and internationally for his Pichwais. The maestro has not only perfected the traditional techniques and visual compositions but has also excelled in creating unique artworks that pull the viewer in.
His works focus on the central deity, highlighting the value of bhakti in the Pushtimarg sect. The deity is seen as the embodiment of the energy which makes up the entire universe. This utmost faith in Shrinathji is visible in his paintings.
The characters and objects depicted in Sharma’s paintings are close to each other. There is limited negative space among the surrounding characters and even between them and the deity; which can be inferred to be metaphorical of the oneness of the universe and everything that inhabits it. Moreover, his Pichwais are replete with symbols associated with the deity; further emphasizing spiritual oneness.
This centrality of the deity and the idea it represents illuminates the spiritual aspect behind these paintings.
Rajaram Sharma and his Miniature Paintings
Also taking to mastering the Miniature art form, Rajaram Sharma creates miniature paintings where he carefully juxtaposes motion and stillness. On observation of his works under this art form, one can notice that he usually depicts a still landscape with just a single element in the artwork that is in movement.
Unlike typical miniature paintings, Sharma’s works do not revolve around a central figure like a heroine or a king or a deity. Humans are generally absent in his miniature works. This is quite in contrast to his Pichwai artworks too where there are many characters.
The miniature paintings of Rajaram Sharma radiate a sense of serenity. The tranquillity and lull in these compositions can be inferred as the need for an individual to be calm and stable to be a wise soul; however, there needs to be some movement to escape any inertia and rigidity to be truly enlightened.
Traditional Art as Religious Art
Most of the centuries-old traditional art forms from the subcontinent are religious. This is given the importance religion has in keeping a community together. Moreover, in times and communities where written literature is not prevalent, art becomes an essential part of the culture. It becomes the means of recording the local mythological and religious tales, the region’s conditions, and the social practices and festivities. Hence, traditional artists usually practise religious art.
Spirituality and art are intrinsically linked. Art is often seen as the visual expression of an artist’s feelings, whether spontaneously or planned. This is because it is believed art comes from the heart of the creator, and contains elements from the artist’s emotions and sensitivities.
Similarly, traditional folk art is the visual expression of a community’s emotions and sensitivities. It includes the values and belief system that shapes its members.
Rajaram Sharma’s Paintings Diving into Spiritual Art
Other than the themes and compositions of Rajaram Sharma’s paintings which exude spiritualism, it is also his diligence and patience while creating his works that reflect the same. The amount of concentration that goes into making these intricate paintings is almost meditative. From the process of preparing the canvas and the paints to the use of single-hair brushes to fill in the colours, all aspects of the process involved in making Rajaram Sharma’s paintings illuminate the understated world of spiritual art.
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