R K Duttagupta/
Photographer: R K Duttagupta
Publisher: National Museum
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
Indian paintings, most of what the Indian artist created during a period of some six hundred years from fourteenth to nineteenth centuries, are miniatures as regards the length and width of their canvas. These paintings are acknowledged in the entire art world as a class by themselves. What distinguishes them from other paintings save the size of their canvas, is difficult to underline but it is as much easy to feel that they are endowed with a kind of distinctiveness, the unique power to emotionally moved, something very special which belongs to only them.
Indian miniatures little incline to be mystic, or to use an intricate symbolism for revealing something like an intrinsic meaning, or aspect, but its strength lies in the directness of its expression, a kind of transparency wherein lines, forms or colours are not allowed to conceal behind them anything which artist’s brush seeks to render. Instead of capturing pace, speed, or motion the Indian mind, a seeker of perpetual delight, has always sought to arrest beauty, or a phenomenon, in its stillness which, endowed with a kind of celestial calm, delighted with greater vigour and charm.
Indian miniatures are divisible primarily as earlier and latter. The earlier miniatures are divided as Pala and Jain, whereas the later ones as Rajasthani, Mughal, Pahari and Deccani. Rajasthani art-style flourished at Mewar, Bundi, Kotah, Kishangarh, Bikaner, Sirohi, Jodhpur and Jaipur, whereas Malwa, Raghogarh and to some extent Datia in Bundelkhand sharing Rajasthani influence are often termed as its sub-styles. The Mughal paintings, with at least three distinctive variations, are divided as early Mughal, late Mughal and provincial Mughal. The paintings from Kangra, Basohli, Chamba, Mandi, Guler, Garhwal and Hindur constitute broadly the Pahari art school. The Sikh paintings from Lahore, Patiala, other parts of Punjab plains and from Jammu have several attributes of Pahari art and are hence usually designated as its sub-styles. Greater uniformity is the distinction of Deccani art style. Except in their rendering of Hindu and Islamic themes which has also effected stylistic variations, Deccani paintings have stages of growth and refinement but not such as may form the basis for their classification.
1. Saraswati-pata, Jain style, Western India
2. Babur Crossing River Son, A folio from Babur-nam Mughal
3. Marriage Procession of Prince Dara Shikoh, Provincial Mughal
4. Raga Megha, A Visual representation of the Indian musical mode, Malwa (Narsinghgarh)
5. Nawal Ananga Mugdha Nayika, A folio from Rasikapriya poetry of Keshvadara, Mewar, Rajasthan
6. Sakhi persuading Radha to go to Krishna, A folio from Rasikapriya poetry of Keshvadas Bundi, Rajasthan
7. Prince Bedar Bakht Enjoying Music, Deccan, Golkonda
8. Raga Malkaunsa, Visual representation of an Indian Musical Mode, Deccan, Hyderabad
9. Krishna with Gopies, Based on the poetry of Jaideva’s Gita-Govinda Basohli, Pahari
10. Parkiya-Nayika Shringara, Kangra, Pahri