Rajasthan Miniatures


The Rajasthan paintings are marked by stronger colours and bolder compositions which rendered the paintings more intensity. The subjects would include emperors and the nobles, religious, secular and different shades of daily life. One of the most endearing subject used concerned Krishna and Radha-a series famous as Geeta Govinda and Ragamala, Later around the 18century the paintings generally illustrated the royal life style and ranged from scenes of hunting to attending the royal courts.

In spite of a common theme were marked differences paintings produced in differ regions. The most important major regional schools of painting were-Mewar (Udaipur), Marwar (Jodhpur, Bikaner), Dhundhar (Jaipur) and Hada (Bundi, Kota) and the smaller one included Kishangarh.

The earlier 18-19 centuries works of the Bundi School had illustrations of religious and classical poetry such as Rasikapriya and Ragamala. Later the school took to imbibing more of the court culture, idealised subjectmatter and depiction of feminine grace. The usual Bundi style consists of thick foliage, with a sky overladen with clouds and illuminated by the light of the setting sun. The palette of the Bundi artists is often quite muted with patches of strong colours for contrast. The neighbouring court of Kota continued the Bundi style and is renowned for its depletion8 of shikar (royal hunt).

The sheer brilliance of the Kishangarh School flourished under the patronage of Maharaja
Savant Singh. The finest paintings of the period were from the brush of master artist Nihal Chand who transfigured his patron Savant Singh as Lord Krishna and his beautiful lady mistress Bani Thani as Radha. Stylized linear distortions were his hallmark, such as the curving elongation of the eyes and the sharp angular nose as depicted in the portrait of Bani Thani.

The Kishangarh School is renowned for its romantic miniatures, the backgrounds which were elaborate and with evening light setting off the fine colours of the rest of the Subject of the artist’s canvas.
The Jaipur School was influenced the Mughal artistic styles in its use of backgrounds. The paintings comprised court settings, religious and other popular subjects.
Mewar School is celebrated for its lifestyle portraits developed for the various Maharanas of Mewar. The paintings are elaborate portraying ceremonies, festivities, royal hunts and elephant figures in strong colours.
The paintings of Jodhpur School will show whiskered men in high turbans, full of verve and passion, accompanied by dainty maidens.
Paintings of the legendary Dhola Maru on camel back dominate the paintings of this region. The Bikaner School display a cool palette, delicate drawings of human and vegetation forms and very restrained expression.
Rajasthan miniatures are generally on a specially treated hand made paper and use vegetable and mineral colours. At one point before the imposing of a ban on ivory, the finest ones used to be painted on ivory only. The folk paintings however use fabrics as their material.


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