Indian painting has a rich heritage in Indian art, while few early examples exist due to climatic circumstances. Prehistoric rock paintings, such as rock art seen in areas like Bhimbetka rock shelters, were the first Indian paintings. Stone Age rock paintings discovered among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are estimated to be 10,000 years old.
Palaces and other buildings painted with paintings (Chitra) are discussed often in ancient Hindu and Buddhist literature in India.
Murals, miniatures, and paintings on cloth are all types of Indian paintings. Murals, such as those found in the Ajanta Caves and the Kailashnath Temple, are massive works of art painted on the walls of substantial structures. Miniature paintings are made on a very small scale for books or albums and are made of perishable materials like paper and cloth. Murals in fresco-like styles can be found in a variety of sites with Indian rock-cut architecture dating back at least 2,000 years, but the Ajanta Caves' 1st and 5th-century remains are by far the most important.
Paintings on the fabric were frequently produced in a more public context, typically as folk art, and were used as souvenirs of pilgrimages by travelling reciters of epic poetry, such as the Bhopa of Rajasthan and Chitrakathi elsewhere. Although there are just a few survivors who are older than 200 years, it is apparent that the traditions are far older. Some regional traditions continue to produce art.
Gond Painting is a tribal artwork of the Gond tribes from central India and one of the most famous Indian paintings art type. The fine lines, dots and dashes in vibrant colours dominate traditional Gond Pradhan motifs. The mythical beasts and the intricate detailing of flora and fauna are the dominant themes that have animated the lives of the Gonds for centuries and their art is used as means to record history.
The Gond art rendezvous with the belief that "viewing a good image begets good luck". This inherent belief led the Gonds to decorating their houses and the floors with traditional tattoos and motifs. Gond art resonates with a culturally distinctive ethos and draws inspiration from myths and legends to images of daily life, as well as it reckons with the surreality of emotions, dreams, and imagination.
However, Gond art has since transposed onto paper and canvass talented artists showcasing their skills. The allusiveness and individualism of each Gond artist are defined by their signature styles.
Warli painting is a tribal art mostly done by Adivasi from North Sahyadri Range in India. The most important aspect of warli painting is that it depicts social life, and does not depict mythological characters or images of deities like most of the other tribal paintings. Warli is the vivid expression of daily and social events and is used by them to embellish the walls of village houses. This was the only means of transmitting folklore to a populace not acquainted with the written word. It is believed that these paintings invoke the powers of the Gods. Warli Paintings have a very significant place in the Indian paintings gallery because it depicts social life.
This art form uses very basic graphic vocabulary: a circle, a triangle and a square. The circle and triangle come from their observation of nature; the circle represents the sun and the moon, and the triangle is derived from mountains and pointed trees. Only the square seems to obey a different logic and seems to be a human invention, indicating a sacred enclosure or a piece of land. The central motif in these ritual paintings is surrounded by scenes portraying hunting, fishing and farming, festivals and dances, trees and animals. The wall paintings are done only for special occasions such as weddings or harvests.
It is believed that Warlis carry on a tradition stretching back to 2500 or 3000 BCE and have a strong resemblance to Rock Shelters paintings of Bhimbetka (MP).
Madhubani literally means “Forest of Honey”, (‘Madhu’-honey, ‘Ban’-forest or woods), is an art form done in the “Mithila” region of Bihar & Nepal, thus also known as “Mithila Art”. These eye-catching paintings are for every occasion and festival. The first reference to these paintings dates back to the time of Ramayana when King Janaka ordered to have this done for his daughter, Sita's, wedding. This art form is passed on from one generation to other, mainly by women.
The themes, on which these paintings are based, are predominantly nature and mythological events. Strong characteristics of these paintings are; Usage of vibrant natural colours; and no empty space on the canvas, also shading is very minimal. Almost anything can be used as brushes from fingers, sticks & twigs to now even nib pens & matchsticks. Its strokes are precise and bold at the same time.
Mithila painting was unknown to the outside world until the massive earthquake of 1934 when the houses and walls tumbled down it was a British colonial officer in Madhubani District, William G. Archer, who discovered these Indian paintings found in the rubble. This art form has gained national and international fame since then and is much in demand by collectors.
After the Gonds, the Bhils are the second largest tribal community in western and central India, The history of Bhil art is as old and as veiled in mystery as the Bhils themselves. Their art focuses on their natural environment filled with songs, rituals, tattoos and folklore. These ritualistic paintings were done by badwas (holy Priest) or specially appointed male members. Although the traditional forms are still practiced, Bhil art today is expressed largely as acrylic paintings on canvas.
Stories, prayers, memories and traditions are painted onto plain backgrounds in a symphony of multihued dots. The first step to learning the art for many Bhil artists began with mastering the dots— skillfully repeating equal sized, uniform dots in rhythmic patterns and colours. The dots are the distinct identity of Bhil art, and have multiple layers of symbolism. Inspired by the kernels of maize—their staple food and crop—each group of dots often represents a particular ancestor or deity. Additionally, each artist composes the dots in distinctive patterns encoding each art work with signatures visible to the trained eye.
The tradition of Bhil painting first stemmed from the home. Upon visiting a Bhil household, one will discover a delightful myriad of images from myth and folklore adorning their walls and ceilings.
Kalamkari is an ancient style of hand painting done on cotton or silk fabric with a tamarind pen, using natural dyes. The word Kalamkari is derived from a Persian word where ‘kalam‘ means pen and ‘kari‘ refers to craftsmanship. This art involves 23 tedious steps of dyeing, bleaching, hand painting, block-printing, starching, cleaning and more. Motifs drawn in Kalamkari spans from flowers, peacock, and paisleys to divine characters of Hindu epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. Centuries ago, folk singers and painters used to wander from one village to another, narrating stories of Hindu mythology to the village people. This colourful art dates back to more than 3000 B.C.
During the Mughal era when this style of painting got recognition. Mughals promoted this art in the Golconda and Coromandel provinces where skilful craftsmen (known as Qualamkars) used to practice this art.
There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in Indian Paintings - the Srikalahasti style and the Machilipatnam style. Till today, many families in Andhra Pradesh continue to practice this art and this has served as the prime source of livelihood for them, over the generations.
<div><br class="Apple-interchange-newline">Miniature paintings originated in India around 750 A.D when the Palas ruled over the eastern part of India. Around 960 A.D, similar paintings were introduced in the western parts of India by the rulers of the Chalukya Dynasty. During this period, miniature paintings often portrayed religious themes. With the rise of the Mughal Empire, miniature paintings started growing on a level unknown before. Thanks to Akbar’s love for art, Indian miniature paintings combined elements of the Persian style of painting, to give rise to the Mughal style of painting.
These miniature paintings further evolved with the influence of European paintings in the Mughal court. Even after the decline of the Mughal Empire, miniature paintings and artists were patronized by the Rajput rulers of Rajasthan.
Though influenced by the Mughal style of painting, the miniature paintings of Rajasthan had their own distinct features and often depicted the royal lifestyle and mythological stories of Lord Krishna and Radha. Most of these miniature paintings depicted the lifestyle of kings and queens and also narrated their tales of bravery.
Some of these paintings were also created to showcase the contribution of various rulers toward their respective subjects and kingdoms. Miniature Paintings have a very big role in the Indian Painting history.
Phad painting or Phad is a style of religious scroll painting and folk painting practised in the Rajasthan state of India. This style of Indian painting is traditionally done on a long piece of cloth or canvas, known as phad. The Bhopas, the priest-singers traditionally carry the painted phads along with them and use these as the mobile temples of the folk deities.
These are large paintings with vibrant colours eulogizing the deeds of an Indian legend or hero. These usually scroll paintings, and the contents highlight not only the deeds of a local hero, but also uphold a visual narrative of the myths, beliefs and exploits of the hero who is representing the Rajasthani community. However, the smaller version of a Phad painting is called a phadakye.
Phada painting has come to be regarded as one of the most sought after folk paintings in the world of art and culture, for its unique beauty and chronicling character. Phad paintings have their individual styles and patterns and are very trendy due to their vibrant colours and historic themes. Strong renderings of the local heroes and folk ballads are the main features of the Phad Painting. The older day Phad Paintings include Goga Chauhan ki Phad, Prithviraj Chauhan ki Phad, Amar Singh Rathode ki Phad and Tejaji ki Phad. The new phad paintings which have gained enormous popularity are: Pabuji ki Phad, Devnarayan Ji ki Phad.
The Joshi families of Bhilwara, Shahpura in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan are widely known as the traditional artists of this folk art-form for the last two centuries.