Rajasthan Painting

  • New schools of painting originated in Rajasthan and central India in the 17th & 18th centuries.
  • Their themes included depictions from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata, Siva Purana, Naishadacarita, Usha Aniruddha, Gita Govinda of Jayadeva, Rasamanjari of Bhanudatta, Amaru Sataka, Rasikapriya of Kesavadasa, Bihari Satasayee and Ragamala etc.
  • In 16th century, there already existed in Central India and Rajasthan the primitive art traditions in the form of the ‘Western Indian’ and the ‘Chaurapanchasika’ styles which served as a base for the origin and growth of various schools of painting during the 17th century.
  • Among these important schools are Malwa, Mewar, Bundi-Kotah, Amber-Jaipur, Bikaner, Marwar and Kishangarh.

Malwa School of Painting

  • Some important paintings executed in the Malwa style are a series of Rasikapriya dated 1634 AD, a series of Amaru Sataka painted in 1652 AD at a place called Nasratgarh and a series of the Ragamala painted in 1680 AD by an artist named Madhau Das, at Narsyanga Shah.
  • The art of painting in Malwa continued till the end of the 17th century AD An example from a series of the Ragamala of 1680 AD represents the Megha Raga. Bhagvata Purana is a typical example of Malwa style.
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Fig: Raga Megha, Madho Das, Malwa

Mewar School of Painting

  • The earliest example of Mewar painting is a series of the Ragamala painted in 1605 AD at Chawand, a small place near Udaipur, by Misardi.
  • Another important series of the Ragamala was painted by Sahibdin in 1628 AD. Maru Ragini from the set of Ragamala series
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Fig: Yuddha Kanda of Ramayana, Sahibdin, Mewar, 1652

Bundi School of Painting

  • Bundi style of painting is remarkably close to Mewar style, but former excels the latter in quality. Some examples are an illustrated manuscript of Bhagawata Purana in the Kota Museum and a series of Rasikapriya.
  • A main feature of this painting is a peacock dancing in the rain.
image 378

Fig: Ashwin, Baramasa, Bundi

Kota School of Painting

  • Kota painting, like Bundi style, prevailed in Kota a place near Bundi, during late 18th and 19th centuries. Themes of tiger and bear hunt were popular at Kota. In Kota paintings, most space is occupied by hilly jungle which has been rendered with a unique charm.
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Fig: Maharaja Ram Singh I of Kota hunting lions at Mukundgarh

Marwar School of Painting

  • Earliest example of painting in Marwar is a series of Ragamala, painted by an artist named Virji in 1623 AD at Pali in Marwar.
  • The miniatures are executed in a primitive and vigorous folk style and are completely uninfluenced by Mughal style.
  • Many miniatures comprising portraits, court scenes, series of Ragamala and Baramasa, etc. were executed from 17th to 19th centuries at several centres of painting like Pali, Jodhpur and Nagour etc. in Marwar.

Bikaner School of Painting

  • Bikaner was responsible for introduction of a new style of painting having similarity with Mughal and Deccani styles. Artist Ali Raza “Ustad (master) of Delhi”, was employed by Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner in about 1650 AD.
  • Some other noteworthy artists who worked at Bikaner court were Ruknuddin and his son Shahadin.
  • Krishna swinging and Radha in a sad mood this painting was done in 1683 by artist Nuruddin, who worked in the court of Bikaner from 1674 to 1698.
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Fig: Krishna supporting Mount Govardhan by Shahadin

Kishengarh School of Painting

  • During second quarter of 18th century, developed the most charming school of Rajasthani painting at Kishengarh, under the patronage of Raja Savant Singh (1748-1757 AD) who wrote devotional poetry in praise of Krishna, under assumed name of Nagari Das.
  • The miniatures are believed to have been done by painter Nihal Chand. It is famous for the Bani Thani type of paintings.
image 381

Fig: Krishna supporting Mount Govardhan by Shahadin

Jodhpur School of Painting

  • A productive period of painting was ushered in by Maharaja Jaswant Singh (1638–1678) in the mid–seventeenth century.
  • A trend for documentary painting through portraiture and depiction of court life started under his patronage around 1640 and enjoyed prominence till the advent of photography in the nineteenth century when it substituted painting for recording events.
  • Numerous portraits of Jaswant Singh survive. Due to his inclination towards the Vallabha cult of Shrinathji, he patronised many Krishna related themes with Bhagvata Purana as the most prominent one.
  • Dhola Maru Style of painting belongs to the Jodhpur school.
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Fig: Dhola and Maru, Jodhpur

Jaipur School of Painting

  • The Jaipur School of painting originated in its former capital Amer, which was nearest of all large Rajput states to Mughal capitals Agra and Delhi.
  • Jaipur School of paintings thrived under Sawai Jai Singh reign and emerged as a well-defined independent school.
  • Artists during his reign painted sets based on Rasikapriya, Gita Govinda, Baramasa and Ragamala, where the hero’s figure is in striking resemblance with the king.
  • Chaugan Players paintings belongs to this school.
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