Rajasthan Paintings


The style of miniature painting that developed mainly in the independent Hindu states of Rājasthān in western India in the 16th–19th century. It evolved from Western Indian manuscript illustrations, though Mughal influence became evident in the later years of its development.

Rājasthānī painting differs from the Mughal painting of the imperial ateliers at Delhi and the provincial courts in its bolder use of colour, an abstract and conventionalized conception of the human figure, and an orinamental treatment of landscape. In keeping with the new wave of popular devotionalism within Hinduism, the subjects principally depicted are the legends of the Hindu cowherd god Krishna and his favourite companion, Rādhā. To a lesser extent there are illustrated scenes from the two major epics of India, the musical modes (rāgamālās), and the types of heroines (nāyikās). In the 18th century, court portraits, court scenes, and hunting scenes became increasingly common.

Miniature Painting

As Hindu-rulers of Rajputana carry on close political and social links to the Mughal court, one can examine strong Mughal influence paintings here.Influenced by the surroundings, miniature paintings have their own unique style; court assemblies and hunting expeditions, hills and valleys, religious festivals, processions and scenes from the life of Lord Krishna – a widely devoted Hindu God in India.

Miniature paintings are different in size and material. Paper, silk and wood was used, for more precious paintings also marble and ivory. The colours were made from minerals and vegetables, valuable stones as well as pure silver and gold. The mixing and preparing of colour was an elaborate process. It took weeks, sometimes months, to get the desired results. The brushes have to be very fine and are therefore prepared by the artists themselves. To get high-quality results, the brush is even today made from hairs of the squirrels, tail- carefully cut without harming the little animal.



Tradition of Miniature Paintings in Rajasthan

The tradition of the miniature paintings in Rajasthan is very rich in its form, colors, texture, and storytelling. The Kishangarh School of miniature Rajasthani Painting is one of the popular and richest forms. Rajasthan is the main center of this art and even today regions of Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur and Kota look after the art schools of miniature paintings. The two chief school of the art are the Mughal School and Rajput School. While Mughal school is obvious by moderate colors to give depth, the Rajput have skills in using colourful exciting shades to make it more showy.

Amalgamation of art, poetry and classical music in medieval India.

The origin of miniature paintings is embedded in the history of Rajasthan. A land known for its artistry Rajasthan has always been famous for these little wonders. The numerous invasions in Rajasthan have left an unforgettable mark on its history and culture.The miniature paintings reflect this too.

Various types of Rajasthani schools of Paintings are prospered in Rajasthan from the 16th century onwards. Some of the Famous School Of Paintings are -The Mewar school, Bundi school, Kota School, Bikaner School, Jaipur School, Marwar School and Kishangarh School. Each Rajasthani school of Painting has its distinct and unique style.

Rajasthani school of Painting remained entirely traditional in its superinatural example of Indian Literature and the Indian epics. Therefore we will definitely say that the expansion of the Rajasthani school of Paintings is the pictorial match of the native literature of India. In this regard Rajasthani School of Paintings may be presented as a mixture of folk art with classic and hieratic traditions.

It is really interesting that in Rajasthan the art of wall painting received a new lease of life with the paintings of Palaces and Havelis which was then in trend in the early 18th century. Among the Rajasthani school of Painting the school of Kota, Bundi and Bikaner adapted some of the typical conventions of the Mughal miniature. The much followed depictions of these wall paintings are battles and the parade and folk deities. Folk style art was main in portraying the art. The wall paintings in the Palaces of Bikaner, Udaipur and Bundi are still considered as the classical works of art and artistry of Rajasthani school of Painting which carefully advanced the art and artistry of India.


A number of Hindu Rajput Kingdoms like Bikaner, Jodhpur, Bundi, Kota and Mewar support Indian art in Rajasthan. Many were extremely affected by the Mughal style of Painting while some diverge from the typical style of Mughal miniature.Rajasthani school of painting with its absolute splendor demonstrates a particular school of art which once stood apart in terms of both subject matter and formation from exactly the modern work of the artists attached to the courts of the Mughals.

Various Schools of Miniature Paintings

  • Jodhpur School of Miniature Paintings – The Jodhpur school of miniature paintings is the heart of Rajasthan. relay. The tourists will be surprised to see the elaborative art work.These paintings are prepared by hand and show love scenes of famous lovers like Dholu and maru on camel back. Hunting scenes with animals like elephants and horses are also seen here which become the most popular figures. A lot of gold and stone colors are used to paint them.
  • Mughal School of Miniature Paintings – Once upon a time the kingdoms of Amer, jaipur, Bairat and many others have good relations with the Mughals.The latter, too, were well-known for its crafts. Hence the outcome of these two influences Popularized love scenes and the Mughal royal courts as their main themes. These were painted on silk by using golden and stone colors. Bikaner too was known for the Mughal influence on its art. Here the used colors are prepared from precious stones, vegetables, silver, minerals, indigo, and pure gold.
  • Bani Thani Paintings – Bani Thani Paintings are another Popular school of miniature paintings.Fabulous features are to be seen in this totally different type of painting. This form of painting has derived its name from the singer poet of Nagari Das’s (Raja Sawant singh) court, Bani Thani. Miniature Paintings is still done in the regions of Jaipur, Kishangarh and others.
  • Mewar Paintings – The initial example of Mewar painting is a series of the Ragamala painted in 1605 A.D. at Chawand, a small place near Udaipur, by Misardi. Most of the paintings of this series are in the set of Shri Gopi Krishna Kanoria. One more vital series of the Ragamala was painted by Sahibdin in 1628 A.D. Other examples of the Mewar painting are the illustration to the third book (Aranya Kanda) of the Ramayana dated 1651 A.D., in the Saraswati Bhandar, Udaipur, the seventh book (Uttara Kanda) of the Ramayana dated 1653 A.D. in the British Museum, London and a series of the Ragamala miniature of almost the same period in the National Museum, New Delhi. An example from the Ragamala series painted by Sahibdin in 1628 A.D. which is now in the National Museum, is the miniature that shows the Lalita Ragini.The heroine is lying on a bed with her eyes closed under a painted pavilion with a door, while a maid presses her feet. Outside, the hero is seen carrying a thread of material in both hands. In the foreground is a caparisoned horse with a groom sitting near the steps of the pavilion. The drawing is bold and the colours are colorful and different. The text of the painting is written in black on the top against the yellow ground.
  • Bundi Paintings – The Bundi style of painting is very close to the Mewar style, but the former excels the latter in quality. Painting in Bundi started as early as around 1625 A.D. A painting showing Bhairavi Ragini, in the Allahabad Museum is one of the earliest examples of Bundi painting. Some examples are illustrated books of the Bhagatwata. Purana in the Kotah Museum and a series of the Rasikapriya in the National Museum, New Delhi. )”The Bundi School” is an important school of the Rajasthani style of Indian miniature painting that lasted from the 17th century till the end of the 19th century. In this generous state. Ragamala series of paintings (1561), represent various Indian musical Ragas.
  • Bikaner Paintings – Bikaner was one of the States which has close relations with the Mughals. Some of the Mughal artists during the later half of the 17th century were given support by the Bikaner court and were accountable for the introduction of a new style of painting having much similarity with the Mughal and the Deccani styles. One important artist Ali Raza “the Ustad (master) of Delhi”, was employed by Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner in about 1650 A.D. Some other noteworthy artists who worked at the Bikaner court were Ruknuddin and his son Shahadin.
  • Amber- Paintings of Jaipur – The State of Amber has very close relations with the Mughal Emperors. It is usually believed that a school of painting initiated at Amber, the old capital of the Amber State, in early 17th century. Later on in the 18th century, the centre of artistic activity shifted to Jaipur, the new capital. There is a fairly large number of paintings of the Jaipur rulers and miniatures on other subjects which can definitely be assigned to the Jaipur School.
  • Marwar Paintings – One of the initial examples of painting in Marwar is a series of the Ragamala in the collection of Kumar Sangram Singh, painted by an artist named Virji in 1623 A.D. at Pali in Marwar. The miniatures are implemented in a prehistoric and vital folk style and are completely uninfluenced by the Mughal style. A large number of miniatures comprising court scenes, portraits, series of the Ragamala and the Baramasa, etc. were performed from the 17th to 19th centuries at several centres of painting like Pali, Jodhpur and Nagaur etc. in Marwar.


  • Kishangarh School of Paintings – A beautiful miniature of the Kishangarh School, from the National Museum collection is shown here. It depicts a lovely peaceful scene of the return of Krishna with gopis and cows to Gokula in the evening. The painting is marked by delicate drawing, fine modeling of the human figures and cows and the broad view of landscape showing a stream, rows of overlapping trees, and architecture. The artist has exhibit a masterly talent in the grouping of many figures in the miniature. The painting has a golden inner border. It was attributed to the middle of the 18th century and may be the work of Nihal Chand the well-known artist of Kishangarh.
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