Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mysore Paintings

Mysore Paintings, a rich traditional art form of South India enables one to understand the rich cultural values of India. As the name suggests, this art flourished and developed in Mysore (Karnataka). Historically, Mysore was ruled by many rulers who had a strong passion for visual arts.
Among many rulers, the name of Raja Woodeyar(1578-1617 AD) stands to forefront for contributing significantly for the cause of artists in the different parts of the erstwhile state of Mysore. The art and crafts of Mysore received major fillip during the reign of Mummadi Krishnaraja Woodeyar. The paintings during his period had a variety - murals depicting several scenes of Hindu mythology, portraits of heroes and kings, icons of Hindu mythology, strictly adhering to the iconography principles.

How Mysore Paintings are Made?
Mysore painting making, involves many steps. As a part of first step the artist makes a preliminary sketch of the image on the base, comprising a cartridge paper pasted on a wooden base. Thereafter, he makes a paste of zinc oxide and Arabic gum, known as 'gesso paste'. The paste allows to lend raising effect of carving to those parts of the painting that require embellishments and is allowed to dry. Then, gold foil is pasted onto the surface. The rest of the painting is prepared with the help of watercolors. After the painting is fully dried, it is covered with a thin paper and rubbed lightly with a smooth soft stone.

In the traditional Mysore paintings, all the inputs were made by the artists, including brushes, paints, board, gold foil, etc. The colors used were natural derived from vegetable and minerals. For the base, paper, wood, wall and cloth, were used. The sketches were made with the help of charcoal, which was prepared by burning tamarind twigs in an iron tube. The brushes were made of different materials, like squirrel hair, camel hair, goat hair, etc.

Design is mainly carried out on the mandapams, the jewelleries, the attire etc., with a specially prepared compound and a brush. Once the compound is dried, gold foils are placed over them and stuck firmly. Painting is subsequently done. After the painting is completed and it dries, a thin paper is placed on top of it and rubbed softly with a smooth soft stone to bring the richness in the relief work done with gold foil. In order to give a sharp edged effect to the painting grass blades were used.

The main theme of the painting is mythological and religious. The figures mainly depicted by the artists are divine figures like Goddess Saraswati playing the Veena or Goddess Laxmi bestowing an abundance of wealth on her devotees. The colors used incorporate enhance the overall effect. Paintings are made lively with the use of high up light and shade effect. Some of the characteristic themes in these paintings are Dashavatar, Laxmi, Saraswati, Rajarageshwari, Sri Rama, Kodanada Rama, Tandavashwera and Vishvarupadarsha.


ankita said...

hi, i m a keen follower of indian paintings.i found ur article highly enlightening.can u provide some information about budhist painting?looking forward to ur new article.