Painting for Patrons: The Tradition of Miniatures

You all must have got your hands coloured while painting.

Painting objects in colours we like is such a fun.

Some of us paint just for fun but for some painting is passion.

In our country, many types of painting forms have been developed.

Such as Madhubani painting, Warli painting, Kalamkari, miniature and many others.

Let us all have a closer look of miniature painting

Miniatures are small sized paintings done in watercolor on cloth or paper.

Miniature paintings initially started to present religious text in the form of painting.

Earlier, miniature paintings were done on palm leaves or wood.

An example of such paintings can be found in western India displaying Jaina texts.

Later Mughal rulers also played a great role in the development of miniature painting.

The great Mughal emperors like Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan have highly skilled painters.

These painters display manuscripts containing historical accounts and poetry.

These paintings displayed court scenes, scenes of battle and other aspects of social life.

These paintings were exchanged as a gift and only viewed by the emperor and his close associates.

As the Mughal Empire declined, many painters moved out to the court of the other regional states.

Mughal artistic talent reached in the courts of the Deccan and Rajasthan.

Paintings of rulers, court scenes, mythology, and poetry were painted at centers like Mewar, Jodhpur, Bundi, etc.

Another region where miniature paintings were developed was the Himalayan foothills around today’s Himachal Pradesh.

By the late 17th century, the Himalayan region developed an intense style of miniature painting, Basohli.

Basohli Painting is a fusion of Hindu mythology, Mughal miniature techniques and folk art of the local hills.

These paintings are marked by striking bright colors, red borders, bold lines, and rich symbols.

Bhanudatta’s Rasamanjari was one of the most popular text to be painted here.

Later in 1739, Nadir Shah invaded Delhi. Many Mughal artists migrated to hilly regions.

Here they along with other patrons founded Kangra School of Painting.

By the mid 18th century, the Kangra artists developed a new style of miniature painting.

Vaishnavite tradition was the source of their inspiration for this school.

The unique feature of the Kangra painting was soft colours like blue and green.

The miniatures were carefully preserved in palaces for centuries.

Ordinary women and men also painted on pots, walls, floors, cloth but their work did not survive like miniature.

Revision

Miniature are small sized paintings done in watercolor on cloth or paper.

Mughals patronized highly skilled painters who illustrated manuscripts containing historical accounts and poetry, court scenes, scenes of battle or hunting.

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, many painters moved out of the court to other regional states.

Mughal paintings reached to different parts of the country like Mewar, Jodhpur, and Bundi. Court scenes, battles scenes were panited.

Another region was Himalayan foothills where a new painting style Basholi was developed.

These paintings are marked by striking bright colors, red borders, bold lines, and rich symbols.

After Nadir Shah's invasion in Delhi, many artists migrated to hilly regions and together with other artists they developed Kangra School of Painting.

By the mid-eighteenth century, the Kangra artists developed a new style of miniature painting inspired by Vaishnavite tradition.

The unique feature of these paintings green-blue colors. Miniatures were carefully preserved in palaces.

The End