India is well-known for its rich culture and diversity, which is reflected in many artworks and paintings. Indian paintings are distinct, vivid, and enchanting. Different styles of paintings are prevalent in different regions of India.
They all depict the various customs, ideologies, and traditions that are passed down from one generation to the other. In the past, painting styles along with wall paintings or murals existed.
At present, you will find various forms of painting on canvas, cloth, and paper due to urbanization. Indian paintings are expressions of art with distinct compositions and illustrate the indigenous lifestyle. Ten of the distinct and popular types of paintings are listed below.
- Madhubani paintings: Madhubani is the most celebrated style of folk painting. It originated in Bihar in the form of wall art. It wasn’t until 1934 that the British colonial William G. Archer inspected the beautiful illustrations on the interiors of the house.
The portrayal of culture, tradition, simple patterns, vibrant colors, symbolic images, and eye-catching scenes from mythology makes it different from other styles of paintings.
- Warli paintings: The Warli paintings were a 2500-year-old tradition from the Nashik and Thane areas of Maharashtra. These paintings represent the activities of the local community. A few activities include hunting, praying, dancing, and farming.
The execution of the Warli art is similar to that of the prehistoric cave paintings with its monochromatic hues and simple geometric patterns.
- Kalighat painting or Bengal Pat: The Kalighat painting style originated in the neighborhood of the Kali Temple in Kolkata in the mid-19th century. Since the “patuas” created the drawings on paper, the name “Kalighata Pata” was given.
Mostly, earthy Indian colors such as Indian red, indigo, blue, white, grey, and ochre were used by the painters.
- Phad: Phad is a painting tradition written in a narrative scroll form and dates back to thousand years. This style originated in Rajasthan. These scrolls illustrate legendary romances, adventure stories, battlefields, and the richness of the princely states of India. Using horizontal cloth scrolls, they are painted in hues of orange, yellow, and red.
- Kalamkari: Kalamkari is a 3000-year-old hand and block-painting, which allowed painters to make panels and scrolls. The name “Kalamkari” is derived from “kalam” or “pen” and is stylized with floral motifs and animal forms.
- Miniature painting style: The Mughals bought this distinct style in the 16th century. The elements of the Miniature painting style include Indian, Islamic and Persian. Gold, silver, conch shells, mineral colors, and precious stones are utilized in this painting style. Some of the unique attributes include detailing and fine brushwork.
- Gond paintings: The Gond paintings were developed by the Gondi tribe of India. These paintings were made with intricately arranged dashes and dots. In the past, cow dung, charcoal, flowers and leaves, and other natural resources were used as colors in this painting style. At present, commercial water-based colors are utilized on canvas and paper.
- Kerala murals: The Kerala mural paintings are vibrant and depict epics and themes of Hindu mythology. They also illustrate the mystic forms of Shakti and Shiva and the legendary heroes of the historical era.
Bold strokes, vivacious imagery, and vivid colors characterize this traditional painting style. Additionally, colors such as bluish-green, white, yellow-ochre, among others, are predominantly used.
- Patachitra: Patachitra originated in Odisha. This cloth scroll painting tradition depicts various religious and mythological themes. Indian paintings with the Pattachitra style depict bold and strong outlines with vibrant colors. Many art lovers around the world are fond of this painting style.
- Picchwai: Picchwai originated in Nathdwara as wall hangings behind the main deity of the Krishna temple. The stories of this painting style are all about Lord Krishna. Nowadays, this style of painting also incorporates commercialization and secular themes.
This style is the perfect depiction of spirituality in art. Plus, it has been passed down from one generation to another.