Indian Art – An Amalgamation of Culture and Creativity

If you really want to witness the diversity in the spectrum of innovation blended with ethnicity, take out time to observe the spectacle of Indian artworks.

For a long time, the true essence of Indian art was lost in the echo of multiple gruesome invasions by Mughals and the British in a succession.

The pride and the true ecstasy of art in India were cornered to a few thousand miles and a bunch of people, for 800 years.

Today, more than a billion people can access Indian art on the tip of their fingers.

The journey from small villages to illustrious auctions like Sotheby and Christie’s have been tantalizing and filled with ups and downs but the Indian art never lost its charm during the hiccups.

Being a westerner, if you wish to develop a new taste in art, studying and reading about the rise of Indian art can be a good way to start.

Having said that, let’s take a walk through the splendid journey of Indian art by knowing three mesmerizing forms that have stood the test of time and are still going strong.

Madhubani Paintings

Any conversation about Indian art is not complete without the Madhubani style. Believed to be originated in the Mithila region of Bihar, this charming art form is known for its exquisite appearance and vivacious appeal.

And do you know how old is this style of art? To track its origin epoch, you need to go thousands of years back to the Ramayana (a Hindu epic) period.

It was the marriage ceremony of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. The noble king Daksha summoned the best artists of his regime and told them to stupefy the walls of the entire palace with beautiful and captivating paintings.

Since then, people of Mithila region started following this art style, which is still practiced in Bihar. These traditional Indian art are majorly made by women on the walls of homes in villages.

With sands of time, the art style lost its recognition until a British officer found Madhubani artworks on the walls of damaged houses he was inspecting in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in the region during the mid-18th century.

Previously made using natural colors, Madhubani paintings found today are designed using acrylic, oil paints, watercolors, etc, and are still crafted by mostly female artists.

Pattachitra Paintings

India, with its rich treasure of cultural diversity, flaunts varied Indian artworks that could showcase the affluence of traditional forms everywhere.

On the eastern side of India, lies the land of temples, heritage sites, and Lord Jagannath – Odisha.

Thousands of artists, from centuries, are dedicatedly depicting Lord Jagannath in their paintings. From the same place, a sensational form of painting, Pattachitra, holds the baton of Indian art.

Pattachitra paintings are mainly created on themes like Hindu Mythology and Jagannath Sanskruti.

And don’t get surprised by this – People in Odisha actually worship these paintings.

Yes, these ancient Indian artworks that are believed to be originated in the 5th century BC, and can be still found in the region of Konark, Puri, Sonepur, and Raghurajpur, the birthplace of Pattachitra style.

These artworks take days, weeks, and in some cases, even months to complete. It takes around a week to just prepare the canvas (called Niryakalpa) for these paintings.

Known for vivacious colors and floral borders, Pattachitra art style is also famous for its singular color tone.

Kalighat Paintings

Another awe-striking and encapsulating art form, which is known for its smoothness and ability to connect with observers.

We are talking about the Kalighat style of painting, which was incepted in the 19th century in Calcutta (now Kolkata). At that time, Calcutta was the national capital of India.

Kalighat paintings are anyhow also referred to as the dawn of the modern art in India.

These Indian artworks are designed on cloth or paper scrolls. Artists who develop these paintings together are known as ‘patuas’ near the temples of Goddess Kali near the Kalighat area in Calcutta.

Initially, patuas designed Kalighat paintings on subject matters that were mainly religion-centric.

With time, the creation of these art pieces swirls around the themes of civic life with secularism and contemporary as the major theme to focus on.

One of the most intriguing feats of Kalighat artworks is that they were made using unconventional tools like squirrel and goat hairs (used in making the brush).

Along with this, the black ink, which was majorly utilized to develop these paintings was sourced from soot, which is the material that is produced when the pot is heated by an oil lamp.

You will be also surprised and excited to know that this art style is classified into two segments – Oriental and Occidental because of the diverse motifs used in it.