Indian Artists



Figure 1.--This is a painting by Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906). Many Indians believe he is the greatest Indian painter during the Raj. The subject of the painting is Yashoda, in the Hindu tradition the human mother of Lord Krishna. A reader comments, "Differently from many modern depictions, the painting by Raja Ravi Varma doesn't show blue skinned Krishna. That gives a more natural representation, possibly similar to a scene we would have seen among a high caste family."

We with our Western orientation know next to nothing about Indian painting. The Indian aty we are most familar with is sculpture in various media. Indian painting has the same lengthy tradition which prehistoric cave paintings just like Europe. Petroglyphs as found in places like Bhimbetka rock shelters, some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are dated to about 30,000 BP. Artistic expression seems to be a basic human impulse. This is about the same chronological age as European cave paintings, even though human presence on the Indian Subcontinent far outdates that of Europe. There is nothing like the ancient Egyptian painting in the Indian tradition. The earlists painting other than tge cave paintings seems to be found in Buddhist literature which describe palaces of the military and ristocratic class decorated with paintings. These appear to be paintings on walls as was the primary form of paintings at the time. The Ajanta Caves are the most significant of actual surviving early Buddhist paintings. Art scholars believe that small-scale painting was executed in manuscripts like European illustrted Bibles, but the only surviving examples date fromthe medieval era. The most famous early Indian paintings date from the modern era -- Mughal paintings. They were minatures displayed in books rather thn painted on or hung on walls. This was a painting tradition resulting from a fusion of the Persian miniature with ancient Indian traditions (16th century). It is a rare devloped painting tradition from a Muslim society which as aesult of Koranic teachings prohibited the depiction of the himan form. This style spread throughout India as a result of Mughal conquests, nearly uniting India (17th century). It was adopted by the Indian princely courts of all religions and developed into an Indian style with many destinctive local diffrences. With the arrival of the British (18th century), Indian companies prodiced portaits for British clients. And during the Raj art schools appeared teaching European techniques. Modern Indian painting shows both the Western influence and the Indian roots..






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Created: 8:49 PM 11/26/2017
Last updated: 8:49 PM 11/26/2017