Vijayanagara Murals

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  • The paintings of Brihadeswara temple exemplify the stylistic maturity the artists evolved over the years.

  • Sinuous pre-determined flow of lines, supple modelling of figures, elongation of the physiognomic features of human figures— all these represent the perfection the Chola artist had achieved during the period on the one hand and the phase of transition on the other.

  • With the decline of power of the Chola dynasty in the thirteenth century, the Vijayanagara Dynasty captured and brought under its control the region from Hampi to Trichy with Hampi serving as its capital.

  • The paintings at Tiruparakunram, near Trichy, done in the fourteenth century represent the early phase of the Vijayanagara style.

  • In Hampi, the Virupaksha temple has paintings on the ceiling of its mandapanarrating events from dynastic history and episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

  • Among the important panels are the ones which show Vidyaranya, the spiritual teacher of Bukkaraya Harsha, being carried in a palanquin in a procession and the incarnations of Vishnu.

  • The faces of the figures are shown in profile, with large frontal eyes.

  • The figures have narrow waists.

  • In Lepakshi, near Hindupur, in present Andhra Pradesh, there are glorious examples of Vijayanagara paintings on the walls of the Shiva temple.

  • The Vijayanagara painters evolved a pictorial language wherein the faces are shown in profile and figures and objects two-dimensionally.

  • Lines become still but fluid, compositions appear in rectilinear compartments.

  • These stylistic conventions of the preceding centuries were adopted by artists in various centres in South India as can be seen in the paintings of the Nayaka Period.

  • Nayaka paintings of the seventeenth and eigtheenth centuries are seen in Thiruparakunram, Sreerangam and Tiruvarur. In Thiruparakunram, paintings are found of two different periods—of the fourteenth and the seventeenth century.

  • Early paintings depict scenes from the life of Vardhaman Mahavira.

  • The Nayaka paintings depict episodes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and also scenes from Krishna-leela.

  • In Tiruvarur, there is a panel narrating the story of Muchukunda. In Chidambaram there are panels of paintings narrating stories related to Shiva and Vishnu— Shiva as bhikshatana murti, Vishnu as Mohini, etc.

  • In the Sri Krishna temple at Chengam in Arcot District there are sixty panels narrating the story of the Ramayana which represent the late phase of Nayaka paintings.

  • The examples cited above suggest that Nayaka paintings were more or less an extension of the Vijayanagara style with minor regional modifications and incorporations.

  • The figures, mostly in profile, are set against a flat background.

  • Male figures are shown slim-waisted but with less heavy abdoman as compared to those in Vijayanagara.

  • The artist, as in the previous centuries and following traditions, has tried to infuse movement and make the space dynamic.

  • The painting of Nataraja at Tiruvalanjuli is a good example.

  • Kerala Murals Kerala painters (during the period from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century) evolved a pictorial language and technique of their own while discriminately adopting certain stylistic elements from Nayaka and Vijayanagara schools.

  • The painters evolved a language taking cues from contemporary traditions like Kathakali and Kalam ezhuthu using vibrant and luminous colours, representing human figures in three-dimensionality.

  • Most of the paintings are seen on the walls of shrines and cloister walls of temples and some inside palaces.

  • paintings from Kerala stand apart.

  • Most of the narrations are based on those episodes from Hindu mythology which were popular inKerala.

  • artist seems to have derived sources from oral traditions and local versions of the Ramayanaand theMahabharatafor painted narration.

  • More than sixty sites have been found with mural paintings which include three palaces—Dutch palace in Kochi, Krishnapuram palace in Kayamkulam and Padmanabhapuram palace.

  • Among the sites where one can see the mature phase of Kerala’s mural painting tradition are

  • Pundareekapuram Krishna temple, Panayanarkavu, Thirukodithanam, Triprayar Sri Rama temple and Trissur Vadakkunathan temple.

  • These paintings are usually made by women either at the time of ceremonies or festivals or as a routine to clean and decorate the walls.

  • Some of the traditional forms of murals are pithoroin parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, Mithila painting in northern Bihar’s Mithila region, warlipaintings in Maharashtra, or simply paintings on the walls, be it in a village of Odisha or Bengal, Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh

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