Indian Paintings can be broadly classified as murals and miniatures. Murals are large works executed on the walls of solid structures, as in the Ajanta Caves and the Kailashnath temple. Miniature paintings are executed on a very small scale for books or albums on perishable material such as paper and cloth. The Palas of Bengal were the pioneers of miniature painting in India. The art of miniature painting reached its glory during the Mughal period.
The core of miniature painting lies in Rajasthan and can be traced back to its schools of Jodhpur, Jaipur, Mughal, Kangra and Mewar.
The Jodhpur School of Miniature paintings depict love scenes of lovers Dholu and Maru on camel back. There are hunting scenes with elephants and horses. The major colours used in this style of painting are gold and stone colour.
Mughal School of Miniature Painting depicts love scenes, Mughal Royal courts and the battle fields in gold and stone colours. The Mughal paintings feature stylized imagery in rich draped figures with a blend of Indian and Persian styles.
The difference between the Rajput and the Mughal miniature paintings is in the use of colours. While the Mughal school features muted colours, giving it a shadow and depth, the Rajasthan School uses bold primary colours which give the painting an abstract look.
Some of the other Schools of Miniature Painting include paintings from Malwa School, Bundhelkhand School, Raghogarh School, Bandhelkhand School, Bani Thani and so on. The folk miniature paintings emerged in two different styles known as Phads and Pichwais. These were developed by the artisans and peasants and are very attractive and vibrant.
Lord Krishna with Radha
A high degree of expertise is required and this art is carried out delicately with a very fine brush and is characteristic of intricate, colorful and rational impressions. The brush is made from squirrel hair. The colours used are mainly derived from minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, gold and silver which are obtained through a painstaking process including but not limited to drying the vegetables, grounding the dried vegetables, stones indigo etc to get a fine powder. After the base coat is applied and dried, the paper is turned over and rubbed thoroughly with Harini Stone. Hence the paintings art very smooth to touch.
Here are some more photographs of the art: