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The 3rd millennium BC gave us the traces showcasing the existence of Indian art. Every era hails its own identity with distinctive nature, culture, tradition and revolutions. Similarly the India art forms have evolved over the thousands of years. Ancient India has witnessed the emergence of paintings, architecture and sculpture. Indian Art History embarked its place with the prehistoric rock paintings. Bhimbetaka paintings are one of the masterpieces created during the prehistoric age. India’s Buddhist literature is a brimful of examples. It describe the palaces of the army and the aristocratic class through the paintings. But, unfortunately the survivors are few and one among them is the Ajanta Caves.

Indian paintings provide an aesthetic sequence that extends from the pre historic days till the present day. Indian paintings were initially started for religious purpose. But over the years it has molded itself into a fusion of tradition and culture.

Six main principles of art :

The history of Indian art in the 1st century BC saw the rise of six main principles of art that encompassed every rule to be followed in the world of art called Shadanga or six limbs.These six limbs were Rupabheda – The knowledge of appearances, Pramanam – Correct perception, measure and structure, Bhava – Action of feelings on forms, Lavanya Yojanam – Infusion of grace, artistic representation, Sadrisyam – Similitude and Varnikabhanga –  Artistic manner of using the brush and colours, these rules were adopted and implemented in the paintings by the artist and is still used by many with self-expressive variations.

The Indian art can be broadly divided into :

It is divided into miniatures and murals. Murals were large scale art works like those in Ajanta caves. Miniatures were paintings done in the books or albums or on any perishable materials like paper or cloth. The miniature paintings flourished throughout the Indian Territory showcasing the change in nature and style with every era passing. The eastern India miniatures were subjected to the portrayal of life of Buddha and his divinities on the leaves of palm trees and their wooden covers. The style lost its importance by the end of 12th century. While in the western india the miniatures were mainly a way to decorate the books by the rajputs mostly religious and literary. These miniatures had its own unique style and identity incorporating natural colors.

The invasion of Mughals in India shook the Indian art with mughal style of Indian paintings. Mughal paintings were a unique blend of Indian, Persian and Islamic style. Indian art flourished during the rule of Akbar as they developed an interest in recording the activities of the king and his deed. Because of which artists followed them to the military camps, marriages and ceremonies.

South Indian art forms:

Another definition of excellency are mysore paintings, a classical south Indian form of painting originated in the land of mysore , Karnataka. These are an explicit example for their elegance, muted colors and attention to details. They depict the scenes from Hindu mythology and hindu god and goddesses. Tanjore paintings are another beautiful discovery of Tamil Nadu. They are known for their rich colors, elegance and attention to details. Just like mysore paintings they to focus on hindu mythology and deities. Kangra, madhubani, and Pattachitra are other known forms of miniatures that are still followed today in India.

Indian Art History is a watershed of expressions and emotions of people with different social, cultural and traditional backgrounds in India. All through the years art has only evolved with surprising styles and elegance making people realize its existence and power. It is the free lived moments of the people whose life is tuned to the tempo of nature and its cyclic change laws with their lives knotted with the natural energy.


Coloring India Foundation is a platform which helps you learn, understand and excel fine arts skills under the guidance of the veteran artists and mentors. Also, Contact Pencil & Chai or Sampratishta to know more about fine arts techniques and fine arts diploma courses.

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