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An Indian Figurative Painting Shows Art And Culture

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The art of Indian figurative painting dates back to pre-historic times and encompasses various forms of artistry. From Madhubani pieces to cave paintings, the ethnic art out of this country in Asia has deep meaning for their culture and history.  While many forms of Indian figurative painting have been practiced for many years, they continue to be demonstrated and sold commercially in modern times.

This approach to art is a style involving the depiction of realistic subjects. From humans and animals to other living things, it replicates true events or beings. While it is not limited to the use of geometric drawings, they commonly utilize lines, texture, shape, mass, volume, color, and perspective to achieve various effects. These components all work together to provide a feeling of reality of space and shape. The concentration of each piece is generally on the story being represented. From the early days of this technique to contemporary times, this style has evolved to include more simplicity and order.

Among the art of Indian figurative painting is a vast array of more specific types of work. Each has an authentic symbolism to the country’s culture, environment, and history. One of the most common types is Madhubani art which was born out of the domestic customs in Bihar. They began as pictures created directly on the floors and walls of living quarters to welcome the gods and offer protection. Generally created by women, these pieces are usually centered around the religion and mythology of their native country. Madhubani art uses bold colors as well as simple symbols, lines, and geometric patterns and shapes.  The use of realistic faces and living beings is frequently a focal point. While it began as strictly decorative, these works of art have been sold commercially since the harsh Bihar famine during the late 60’s. They are now produced on paper and other fabrics in addition to the more traditional walls utilized in the past.

Other common types of Indian figurative painting include Tanjore art which is produced directly on wooden boards. This was started in the southern region of Tamil Nadu. The artists utilize stones, glass, and pearls to beautify the piece. Phad pictures illustrate narratives of the trials and journeys of local native heroes. Colors such as yellows, browns, greens and blues are used with black outlining the subject in the end. Mughal pieces mix the ethnic background of this unique country with that of the Persian and Islamic cultures. They portray real events and figures such as battles, hunting expeditions, portraits, and subjects in nature. Cave paintings are also quite common in this form of artistry. This practice dates back to the wall displays of Ellora, Bagn and Ajanta of earlier times. Each mural provides a look into the life of their ancestors that once lived within the caves. Lastly, miniature art is created on anything from cloth and paper, to palm leaves. They are small in size yet involve such elaborate skill and fine strokes. They typically depict the musical codes of the culture’s classical harmonies.

While the styles of Indian figurative painting are each unique in their own way in regards to their meanings and subjects, they all represent the depth of the Indian people and their culture as a whole. They carry on the rich traditions and history of those preceding them through the people and events that are represented.


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