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Indian Art Paintings

Indian Paintings : Soul Enriched Colour Explosions!

Indian Paintings: A Genre Distinct!

If I am asked which nation had been advanced in the ancient world in respect of education and culture then I would say it was - India. Max Muller, German Indologist. Which other country but for India can boast a matchless, unbroken sweep of culture stretching 10,000-years and beyond, a culture that has given the world a very distinct genre of paintings, from the first pre-historic painters who left a treasure trove of pre-historic paintings in the Bhimabetka Caves in Madhya Pradesh, 40-kilometres to the south of Bhopal to the murals of Ajanta and Ellora, the Buddhist palm leaf manuscripts, the Jain texts and the Deccani, Mughal, Kangra and Rajasthani schools of miniature painting, Indian art painting that goes back into timeless antiquity. These rock paintings believed to be anywhere between 20,000 to 500,000-years old are the first expressions of Indian art painting by indigenous painters who struggled to express their world view on the walls of outlying sandstone caves. From these first painters, Indian tradition of painting continued to evolve, from temple paintings testifying a love of naturalism to a contemporary painting style that is an aesthetic continuum from early Indian civilisation to the modern paintings of India today.

Present day Indian art painting shows a rich fusion of the traditions of each successive migration of adventurers, who in search of the riches of India left behind an imprint very much evident in the famous paintings of some of the famous painters of India. These famous painters though absorbing the various invading influences continue to reflect their native emotional exuberance in intense spills of vibrant colour on canvases that have found their way into the Indian paintings art sale of famous paintings from India in the art world of the west. The Mughal influence may have tempered the Indian love affair with colour but it could not dim the brightness of the Indian paintings. And, with the advent of the British and the struggle for freedom, there emerged a contemporary painting style, Indian art painting in the Indo-European genre sometimes called the Company style. For a very brief while Indian painting lost its originality as Indian painters incorporated distinct European influences, Indian paintings that catered to the taste of their colonial rulers. A period that saw the spawning of decorative paintings, scenery paintings that were meant to educate the Britons back home about their new colonial empire.

But, it was not long before the Bengal school of painting asserted itself using traditional approaches fused with bold experimentation of western influences and, modern Indian painting, a genre of painting distinct from anything the world had seen and began to slowly but steadily carved a niche in the art world. Rich, influential resident and non-resident Indians began to fuel a demand for Indian paintings, decorative paintings that adorned the walls of the rich and famous. They have made owning Indian art paintings whether they are decorative paintings, scenery paintings or large paintings dominating entire walls into investment items and status symbols. Even Christie and Sotheby's, bastions of western art have joined the trend holding a Indian paintings art sale that sees a continually rising demand for Indian art paintings. A rising demand that has lead them to set up offices in India to procure Indian paintings, both old and modern paintings for clients who have suddenly woken up to the fact that Indian art painting is art that reflects the painting tradition of millennia combined with the passion and the inward vision of Indian painters, a vision that is the inspiration from within and without.

Contemporary Painting: A Thoroughly Modern Twist!

At the turn of the 20 th century, as Indian painters began a revivalist movement that was spearheaded by the famous Tagore family, it became a movement that saw Indian painters greatly influenced by the glorious heritage of India, the great Indian epics and its inspiring philosophy including the murals of Ajanta and Ellora and the Rajput and Mughal School of Miniature Painting. Then in 1947 after India had attained freedom that a group of painters evolved a style of progressive contemporary painting that was unapologetically linked to their European counterparts. They sought to replicate the angst of European art, a direct result of the excruciating pain, disillusionment and horror of two World Wars. But, these progressive painters, free spirited and self-absorbed, imitating the pain beheld in the paintings of their western counterparts, failed to reflect on and capture the tragedy of the Indian Partition in their paintings with the exception of Satish Gujral and a little known Pakistani painter. Yet, they managed to achieve the partial success they had dreamt off and, set the stage for a quiet revolution in Indian art painting that liberated contemporary Indian painters from debilitating complexes and allowed them to forge their own individual styles. New talent and new ideas flourished and Indian paintings began to find a place in the art galleries and art collections of the world. Indian contemporary painting has evolved into a style that has fused a bold robustness with a refined elegance that has a vivacious sophistication, the ultimate culmination of the various traditions that have influenced it.

Famous Painters: Trail Blazers!

As Indian painters sought to find their voice, Abanindranath Tagore, the doyen of Indian modern paintings was foremost amongst them, using Chinese and Japanese techniques in his paintings. A nephew of Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, he was soon followed by other painters who laid the foundation for a contemporary painting style during a period when India was struggling to rid itself of the British yoke. There emerged a burst of social consciousness in the painting style of some of the famous painters of the day, painters such as Amrita Shergill, Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, A.K. Haldar, Nandlal Bose, Samarendranath Gupta and Raja Ravi Varma. It was the latter, Raja Ravi Varma, a minor royal from the House of Travancore who won accolades for his decorative paintings that emphasised the form and beauty of Indian women, their clothes and their jewellery. Decorative Paintings that based themselves on epic stories of the Hindu classics, large paintings that give an exquisite wealth of detail from the gold bordered sarees to the ornate jewellery worn by his inspirations. The 1873 Vienna Exhibition saw him win a place amongst the world famous painters of Indian origin for his splendid decorative paintings and, soon he was joined by M.F. Hussain, Satish Gujral, Laxman Shreshtha, Deepak Shinde, S.H. Raza, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Prabhakar Barwe, N.S. Bendre, and Anjolie Ela Menon.

Contemporary painting in India has synthesised into a unique individuality, modern paintings by famous painters who have created famous paintings that reflect the emotional and insightful concepts of their culture, paintings that incorporate a bold fierceness with hints of a soft magic. Famous paintings by famous painters that contain a very literal imagery of the condition of Indian humanity in modern India, brush strokes of highly charged colour, proud proclamations of their Indian heritage and the ancient Indian tradition of painting. A modern painting in a contemporary painting style that draws its inspiration from the ancient India yet transcends it at the same time. Eclecticism, the essence of contemporary painting in India! Indian paintings famous paintings that serve to emphasise Max Mueller's statement that Indian culture was and continues to be the most advanced in the world!

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