Genuine Classical Indian Art Paintings & Classical Indian Art Artworks
Our Classical Indian Art collection is a melange of different cultures and traditions. These paintings act as a time machine by giving us a glimpse of the past, and the way people lived in those days. Today, they are broadly classified into 4 distinct schools of art- Mughal, Deccani, Pahari and Rajasthani. Indo-Islamic influences shaped the Mughal style which portrayed Hindu as well as Persian epics. Deccani artists had a similar style and became equally popular. Themes of religion and literature found a great outlet through the Rajasthani school with miniature paintings that were an offshoot of early Mewar paintings. From the Pahari school emerged lively and romantic depictions of Radha and Krishna’s divine love through Kangra paintings.
Classical Indian paintings are a modest reflection of the diversity that traditional Indian art exudes; they are vibrant, detailed, and strikingly appealing to the eye. Being a diverse and colossal country, we have a treasure of art and culture, and classical Indian paintings are an extension of that. Classical Indian paintings are classified into different styles and schools, namely ‒ Rajput or Rajasthani paintings, Mughal paintings, Deccan paintings, Pahari paintings, Malwa and Jaunpur paintings, Mysore paintings, Tanjore paintings and other regional style paintings like Madhubani paintings, Warli paintings, Gond paintings, Kalighat paintings, Kalamkari paintings, Pattachitra paintings – the list is endless and it’s a priceless gift from every region of our country. Our collection of classical Indian art at The Bimba gives you a glimpse of four prominent schools of painting ‒ Mughal, Deccan, Rajput, and Pahari. Classical Indian paintings mostly comprise miniature paintings that were finely drawn and executed by the artists; apart from miniature paintings, one can expect murals and cloth paintings which, with times, have evolved into canvas paintings as well.
Classical Indian art not only comprises paintings but also sculptures, pottery, and even textiles. Through centuries of transition, classical Indian paintings have been the most vulnerable to damage due to environmental conditions but some still stand strong to date. The history of classical Indian paintings goes back to the pre-historic era and one of the first pieces of evidence of antique art have been rock paintings. Several rock shelter paintings were discovered in different parts of the country starting with the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Bhopal, Padiyendhal, Kilvalai, and Settavarai in Tamil Nadu, Hiregudda in Karnataka, Gudahandi, Yogimatha in Odisha, and the well-known Ajanta and Ellora caves of Aurangabad. Apart from rock paintings, the early modern paintings have been comparatively more famous due to their portability and long-lasting nature, this period encompasses the different schools of classical Indian paintings discussed above. The post-independence period was a classical era of modern Indian painting styles with a hint of western influence. All these forms of traditional Indian art showcase the rich culture and talent that has been preserved for thousands of years and has withstood the test of time.
Classical Indian paintings are a combination of several schools of painting but the school of Mughal paintings is the most prominent one and has visibly affected the other three schools of Deccan, Rajasthani, and Pahari. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the Mughal nobles and emperors began a tradition of recording their daily activities and special occasion through visuals, hence the practice of painting was initiated. Mughal style of painting is known for portraying emperors in portrait forms or scenes of daily life‒ attending royal court, hunting, leading military expeditions, spending time with their consorts and wives, etc. They also depicted animals, plants, and flowers and their most illustrated work was in the form of various books like Tutinama, Hamzanama, Akbarnama, Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, Padshahnama, and more. Mughal miniature paintings were done either as illustrations in books or as single works meant to be in albums. Persian art largely inspired Mughal paintings which flourished under the reign of Akbar who provided patronage to hundreds of painters. These painters were under the supervision of two Persian masters, Mir Sayyed Ali and Abdus Samad who were brought to India by his father, Humayun. This style of painting was at its peak during Jahangir’s reign which had a hint of Naturalism and the paintings were done with utmost finesse. With the reign of Aurangzeb, Mughal miniature paintings had started losing importance, and soon all the painters had migrated to different parts of India, eventually influencing other schools, like the Deccan school of painting.
The Deccan school of painting originated under the Deccan Sultanates which covered regions like Bidar, Ahmednagar, Berar, Bijapur, and Golkonda. Almost similar to Mughal miniature paintings, Deccan paintings stood out because they portrayed people with elongated features, bright colors, and three-quarter exposure of faces in portraits. Beginning in the 16th century, Deccan paintings were influenced by Persian and Mughal school of painting and were at the zenith of their style during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah II. This classical Indian art appeared in illustrated books similar to the Mughal empire like Tarif-i-Husain Shahi and Nujum-ul-Ulum; apart from illustrations, Deccan paintings also showcased masterpieces like Ragamala which depicted various musical modes. The themes were similar to the Mughal style of painting apart from the portrayal of animals and birds which was visibly less; even if painted, they were drawn in an unusual way.
Moving from the south to the northwestern part of India, let’s tell you about the school of Rajasthani Painting; also known as Rajput painting, it is a mixture of not two but four different styles that emerged in various regions of the Rajput kingdom during the 17th and 18th century. A treat for the eyes, Rajasthani paintings dwell on themes which are diverse in nature; while they also focus on scenes from daily lives of emperors, hunting scenes, and special occasions, they specialize in portraying events from epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, the depiction of the Ashtanayikas, Ragamalas and a hint of romance through Radha Krishna Rajasthani paintings. Rajasthani art paintings branches out into schools like the Mewar school containing Chavand, Udaipur, Nathdwara, Sawar and Devgarh style, the Hadoti school encompassing the Kota, Jhalawar, and Bundi style, the Marwar school which comprises the Bikaner, Kishangarh, Ghanerao, Nagaur, Jodhpur, and Pali style and lastly, the Dhundar school which consists of Shekhawati, Uniara, Amber and Jaipur style. This traditional Indian art was developed with the help of many artists who were previously let go off from the Mughal school of paintings due to its decline and one of these schools was the Pahari school of painting.
From the sub-Himalayan region of India, the Pahari school of painting emerged; just like the Rajasthani school of painting, this school also encompasses different styles hailing from different regions. Another painting that branched out of the Mughal style of painting, resonates with the same themes as the Rajasthani painting school. This school has several styles like Guler, Chamba, Garhwal but notably, there are two prevalent styles- The Kangra and Basohli school and the Jammu/Dogra school of painting. Pahari school of paintings is known for depicting Lord Krishna and various events from his life from the works of Bhagavata Purana and Gitagovinda. It also demonstrates themes of Hindu epics, Ragamalas and Ashtanayikas. Today, classical Indian paintings is considered an umbrella term under which many schools of paintings have flourished. Our collection of classical Indian art is a celebration of the glorious Indian paintings and the different schools and styles it propagates. They manifest authenticity and aesthetics which are perfect for your home! Take a look at Return of Krishna: The Gwala Rajasthani Painting, Celebrating The Birth of Krishna Rajasthani Painting, Queen in the Royal Court Mughal Painting, Mughal Floral Painting, An Amicable Hostess Rajasthani Portrait Painting, Serenading Radha Krishna Painting, Rama, Sita & Lakshmana Feasting Rajasthani Painting, An Evening of Waiting Kangra Painting, Portrait of a Woman With Curls Rajasthani Painting Framed, The King’s Welcome Traditional Indian Framed Art, Radha Dancing With Peacocks Painting, Taking Radha to Krishna Classical Indian Painting Framed and many more!
Pichwai art originated in Rajasthan’s Nathdwara temple, almost 400 years ago. In 1672, a deity representing Lord Krishna’s avatar as a 7-year-old was being transported from Mathura via Agra. The bullock cart’s wheel got stuck in the mud and devouts saw this as a divine intervention from Lord Krishna to build a temple here. Pichwai paintings were born in this temple. Pichwai style is dedicated to revering and adoring Shrinathji. Hence, Pichwai most famous artworks depict Shrinathji. The word ‘Pichwai’ comes from ‘pich’ (back) and ‘wai’ (textile wall hanging). The above mentioned Nathdwara temple has a centuries-old tradition of hanging Pichwai artworks depicting Shrinathji, behind the deity. These paintings came to be known as Pichwai paintings. Today, Pichwais are no longer restricted to the temple walls and adorn the walls of homes and offices. In fact, they are now also found on cushion covers, carpets, etc. The traditionally elaborate Pichwai portrait canvas may have been scaled down, but this doesn’t diminish the beauty of Pichwai art in any way.