India has a prosperous cultural variety which is generously expressed in the vivid, distinct, and fascinating folk art and craft. Numerous painting methods are prevalent across various nations, each depicting beliefs, traditions, customs, and philosophies passed on from generation after generation. Traditionally, most of the Indian painting styles prevailed as wall paintings or murals. In due course of the period, urbanization gave rise to these aspects of painting on paper, canvas, and fabric, etc. Indian creation techniques are not just a reflection of the indigenous lifestyle but a true representation of artistic expression through modest yet distinct compositions.
Here are some of the prominent Indian culture painting styles listed below:-
Untitled by Baua Devi
One of the vastly prominent styles of folk paintings in India is Madhubani. Originated in the Mithila region of Bihar as an aspect of Wall art. This stunning art style was anonymous to the external world until discovered by the British colonial William G. Archer in 1934 while examining the damage after the tremendous Bihar earthquake. Archer was stunned by the wonderful illustrations on the exposed interior walls of the houses. The beauty of Madhubani lies in its simple and suggestive illustration of culture and traditions. Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna, and Kohbar are the five examples of distinct techniques of Madhubani painting.
2. Warli Paintings
Warli Art by Unknown Artist
The 2500-year- old tradition of Warli Paintings of Thane and Nasik regions in the state of Maharashtra is quite popular even now and it is closely related to the nature and social rituals of the clan. Warli Paintings showcase formal activities of the regional people of the community like farming, dancing, praying, hunting, etc. Traditionally, women used twigs to bring out likely designs with rice paste on mud walls on the tribal huts to mark celebrations of harvests or marriages. Simple geometric structures in white against a red or yellow surface are used to illustrate mundane life scenes. Warli art with its linear and monochromatic hues resembles the cave paintings of the prehistoric era.
3. Kalighat painting or Bengal Pat
Kalighat painting by Unknown Artist
The Kalighat painting style was evolved during the mid 19th century in a community near a Kali temple in Calcutta. The sketches on paper were executed by a group known as”Patuas” hence the term Kalighat Pata. They portrayed scenes of everyday life and mythological deities in a simple yet absorbing manner and formulated into the popular Kalighat style of painting. Kalighat painters mainly use loamy Indian colors like indigo, ochre, red, grey, white and blue. The swift, seamless, free-flowing outline is a distinct aspect of the Kalighat style of printings. This painting style has inspired many artists, like the famous Jamini Roy.
Story of Pabuji by Kalyan Joshi
Phad is the narrative scroll painting ritual in Rajasthan, dating about a thousand years. Statements of local deities and fighters are sketched on horizontal cloth scrolls in tones of red, orange, and yellow. The Phad scroll expresses depictions of the battleground, expedition stories, and legendary states. The style of painting in Phad is that evacuates spellbound expression at how the folk artists adapt multiple tales in a single composition by preserving the aesthetic of artistic expression.
Kalamkari Art by Unknown Artist
Kalamkari is a 3000-year-old organic art and craft of hand and block printing. It was traditionally utilized for preparing narrative scrolls and panels. This exquisite folk art has a strong relation with Persian motifs. Kalamkari emerges its term from ‘Kalam’ or pen and is a legacy that has been handed down from generation to generation in Andhra Pradesh. Kalamkari art primarily involves earthy colors like indigo, green, rust, black, and mustard.
6. Miniature Painting
Miniature by Unknown Artist
The Miniature painting method occurred in India with the Mughals in the 16th century. It was observed as a significant milestone in the history of Indian art. It developed into a distinct style with a combination of Indian, Islamic, and Persian components. The painting is executed using natural stone color on a paper-based “Waali”. Mineral colors, conch shells, expensive stones, gold, and silver are used in the Miniatures. Fine brushwork intricacy, detailing, and stylization are the distinct characteristics of miniature painting. The Miniature painting style has developed in districts like Kangra Rajasthan, Malwa, Pahadi, Mughal, Deccan, etc.
7. Gond Painting
Untitled by Venkat Raman Singh
These are vibrant paintings organized with a series of intricately arranged dots and dashes. It was improved by the Gondi tribe of Central India. The tribals recreate mythical stories and verbal histories to traditional songs, natural surroundings, significant events, and rituals with great sophistication, creative detailing, and depicted in bright colors. These colors emerged from varied natural resources like plant sap, mud, flowers, charcoal, colored soil, leaves, etc. Gond artists now move beyond being a tribal art style with nameless artists to having internationally renowned artists like Janharh Singh Shyam, Venkat Shyam, Bhajji Shyam, Durga Bai Vyam to name a few.
8. Kerala Murals
Kerala Murals Painting by Unknown Artist
Kerala Mural paintings are one of the world’s most famous vibrant frescoes which have deep spiritual origins portraying the themes of Hindu mythology, epics, the traditional frolic of Krishna, and the mystic forms of Shiva and Shakti. They recount some legendary fighters of the bygone era. This style dates to the 7th and 8th century AD and is depicted by vibrant imagery, bold strokes, and painted in bright colors like ochre- red, yellow- ochre, bluish-green, white, and pure color are predominantly used in this painting.
Odisha patachitra by Unknown Artist
The cloth scroll painting of folklore from Odisha that is Patachitra, is devoted to mythical and spiritual themes. Strong contours with vibrant colors like yellow, white,red, and black with adorning barriers are mainly the aspects of the Patachitra painting style, which is cherished by art enthusiasts across the world.
Pichwai painting by Unknown Artist
The art of Pichwai originated as wall hangings placed behind the central deity in Krishna temples in the district of Nathdwara. They narrate stories related to Lord Krishna. Pichwais are vivid and detailed paintings with secret symbolism in the artistic design or pattern. This region’s devotional art tradition has passed from one generation to another. It is a wonderful representation of spirituality in art.