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Different schools of art compared

Table 1


Mughal Earlier Persian blend. Became Indian under Akbar.

Pahari Originated in the subHimalayan kingdoms of 19th century.

Rajasthani/Rajput Early 16th century. Various sub-schools existed

Madhubani/Mithila Done traditionally by the women in the villages near the town of Madhubani. It originated as floor and wall paintings. Essentially a folk tradition


Tanjore 17th century under the patronage of Tanjores Maratha rulers

Type Themes

Mostly in miniature form Document of life at the Mughal court, battles, hunt, arrival of embassies, festivities Portrait paintings developed under Jahangir

Mostly done in miniature form Love of man for woman. Symbolised by Krishna and Radha

Strongly influenced by the contemporary literary and musical forms, and draw upon their motifs <details below>

Nature and Hindu religious motifs

Usually portrayed deities. Vishnu,Shiva and Krishna

Exceptional Point


Realism is the keynote of this style Artists had made contacts with Western art. Influence can be seen.

Bold and intense Basohli Delicate and lyrical; Tones subdued and lines exquisitely fine - Kangra

Decorate in their composition and colour scheme Landscape lacks the naturalism of the Mughal school Used wider canvas

Was originally practiced by Brahmins and Kayasthas. Later SC women also adopted it. But the themes of the two are different. While higher castes depicted mythological themes, SCs experimented with day-to-day scenes. Two dimensional imagery. Colors derived from plants. No space is left empty. Gaps are filled by painting flowers, plants animals and even geometric shapes. Traditionally done as murals on mud walls. Now is also done one cloth, paper and canvas

Snakes are a prominent feature

Artists adhered strictly to iconography as these paintings were made for ritual and worship and not for display as is mostly the case today.


Made on jackwood pasted with unbleached cloth to which a mixture of limestone, chalk powder, gum and honey are applied in layers on a sketch of the icon. Extra coats given to raise some parts of the painting. Jewellery etc are put.

Major Artists Major Works

Basawan, Daswanth, Kesudasa, Mansur Akbarnama illustrations; rare birds and animals Falcon (CS Museum, Bombay), Red Blossoms floral painting

Jagdamba Devi, Mahasundari Devi Jodhpur and Nagaur paintings.

Major schools

Basohli, Guler, Kangra

Malwa, Mewar (Ragamala paintings), Marwar, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Bundi, Kotah

Bharni style, Kachni style


Akbar, Jahangir

Raja Kripal Singh (Bahsoli)

Sarabhiji 2, Shivaji 2, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar

Rajasthani Art Schools

Mewar (Ragamala) Marwar Jaipur Raslila was painted. It became an earthly erotic amusement Genuine Rajput style evolved under this school Equestrian portraits of the royal house and the nobility. Show bold types of expression with broad, fish eyes in human faces This school is essentially Hindu themes from the life of Krishna and his frolic with the gopis; heroes and heroines of Hindi poetry. Scenes from Bhagvata and Ramayana Landscape lacks the naturalism of the Mughal school

Manjusha Art
Manjushas are temple shaped boxes containing eight pillars The boxes often contain the paintings of gods, goddesses and other characters The boxes are used in Bishahari Puja This is practiced in the Bhagalpur region of Bihar

Channapatna toys o Wooden toys from Karnataka Nirmal Toys o Wooden toys made in the town of Nirmal in Adilabad district Tanjore doll o Bobblehead made of terracotta

Kolam Rangoli North India. Using sand colors, flour or flowers Drawn using rice powder by female members in front of their home Mainly in South India

Other fine arts

Mehandi Pichhwai o Intricate paintings that portray Lord Krishna o Exist in the town of nathdwara in Rajasthan Tarakashi o A type of metalwork from Cuttack

Indian Art Awards

Kalaimamani o By Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Manram Kalidas Samman o Presented by the MP govt Sangeet Natak Akademi Award Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship Shilp Guru o By GOI to a master craftsperson. Started in 2002. Tulsi Samman o By MP govt. In fields of art, theatre, dance and music. Varnashilpi Venkatappa Award By Karnataka govt for excellence in painting