Paintings of India & Technique: Mural and Miniature Paintings for SSC JE

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Paintings of India

  • In Kamasutra, painting is tslisted as one of the fine arts out of 64 fine arts.

  • Vatsayana has mentioned 6 principals (limbs) of painting.

  • Shadanga(6 limbs/principals)

  • Rupbheda

  • Praman

  • Lavan yojanam

  • Sadrashyam

  • Bhaav

  • Varnika bhanga

Image of Indian Painting

Image of Indian Painting

Mural Paintings

  • They are large works executed on the walls of the large structure

  • Ajanta caves,Lepakdhi temple,Ellora caves etc

  • Mostly done during Gupta age

Mural Paintings of Gupta Age

  • Ajanta paintings

  • Expression of emotions through hand postures

  • Birds and animals are also shown with emotions

  • Fresco paintings

  • Tempera style used-using pigments

  • Theme Buddhism jataka tales,life of Buddha

  • Bagh paintings

  • Same as Ajanta paintings

  • Ellora paintings

  • Theme Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism

  • Scenes of Ramayana and Mahabharata

  • Shiva as Natraj,battle scenes, elephant in the lotus pond

  • Techniques same as Ajanta paintings

Mural Paintings of Vijayanagar Empire
Image of Mural paintings

Image of Mural Paintings

  • Lepakshi paintings

  • Flourished during Vijayanagara kingdom

  • Theme not religious but secular

  • Complete absence of primary colours

  • Bad quality

  • Decline in paintings

  • Some of the wall paintings of this declining period in the reign of Prince of Travancore in Kerala

  • In the palaces of Jaipur in Rajasthan and in the Rangmahal of the Chamba palace in Himachal Pradesh are worth mentioning.

Miniature Painting
  • Very detailed and small paintings

  • Executed on very small scale

  • In books, manuscripts or on other material like paper,cloth and even glass


  • Paintings were executed in the traditional tempera technique.

  • After mixing colors in water along with a binding medium, they were applied on the drawing.

  • First, the sketch was freely drawn in red or black over which white priming was given.

  • The surface was thoroughly burnished till the outline showed clearly through it.

  • Then a second outline was drawn with a fine brush.

  • First, the background was colored and then the sky, buildings and trees, etc.

  • Figures were painted last of all after which a final outline was drawn.

  • When copies were made from perforated sketches by rubbing charcoal powder, the dotted outline took the place of the first drawing.

  • Colors used in paintings were obtained from minerals and ochers.

  • Indigo was the vegetable color.

  • Lac-dye and red carmine were obtained from insects.

Technical Rule for Miniature Painting

  • Miniature painting’s size should not greater than inch square

  • The subject must not be painted greater than one sixth of its original size

  • Paintings are not merely about size but also the level of detail that differentiates it from small paintings

  • Miniature is derived from latin word minium meaning red led paint used in illuminated manuscript during renaissance

  • It has nothing to do with size.

Features of Indian Miniature Painting

  • Most human characters are shown with side profile

  • Big eyes

  • Pointed nose

  • Women-slim waste, long hair

  • Skin colour-brown

  • Hair and eye-black

  • Skin colour of Krishna-blue

  • Dress-traditional indian dress

  • Men have turbans on their head

  • Initially natural colours were used

  • Famous painters-vaachak,Nihaal chand

Various Types of Miniature Painting
  • Pal school of painting

  • Apabhransha school

  • Mughal painting

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