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Indian Art : An Overview

Updated on November 12, 2012
Indian Art
Indian Art

India is a vast country with great diversity in culture , each region is a land in its own with its particular language , dress code and religious traditions . Yet the same social systems grounded on religious beliefs provides the force to unite the people . Each cultural region of the country has its own artistic tradition , dictated by the availability of the material and the specific cultural and aesthetic sensibility . One of the most striking features of Indian art is its empathy with natural life . Indian art is the celebration of life in all its aspects with plants , animals and human form the basis of it .


Gods : Indian art is greatly influenced by Hinduism , a religious tradition followed by the majority of Indian population. Although there are over 300 God or Goddesses , the major cult of Hinduism focus on Vishnu , Shiva and the Devi(known for its unique powers) . A characteristic feature of Hinduism is that people adopt one of these deities as their main god , though they worship other deities too but regard them less important . Furthermore there are local god and goddesses which is a proof of diversity even in religious system .

Lord Vishnu

Vishnu(Preserver of the universe) is a Hindu God , who lives in vaikuntha where he reclines and rests on Sheshnaag with his wife Goddess Lakshmi .
Vishnu(Preserver of the universe) is a Hindu God , who lives in vaikuntha where he reclines and rests on Sheshnaag with his wife Goddess Lakshmi .

Nataraj

Nataraj is a dancing lord Shiva who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe .
Nataraj is a dancing lord Shiva who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe .

Goddess Kali

Kali is a Hindu Goddess represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing which subdues her anger .
Kali is a Hindu Goddess represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing which subdues her anger .

Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha

Goddess Lakshmi and her adopted son Lord Ganesha(real son of Parvathi and Shiva) are usually worshiped together .
Goddess Lakshmi and her adopted son Lord Ganesha(real son of Parvathi and Shiva) are usually worshiped together .

Goddess Saraswati

Saraswati is Goddess of knowledge , music and arts . She is the companion of Brahma and  It was with her knowledge, that Brahma created the universe . She possesses four arms, wears a  white saree and seated on a white swan .
Saraswati is Goddess of knowledge , music and arts . She is the companion of Brahma and It was with her knowledge, that Brahma created the universe . She possesses four arms, wears a white saree and seated on a white swan .

Heroes : A major part of Indian art is inspired from Mahabharata and Ramayana and other Puranas . Bhagavad Gita is a 700–verse Dharmic scripture written at that time by Ved Vyas . The events like abduction of Draupadi are well depicted through paintings . Furthermore there are some other religious principles contributing to the great Indian art .

Mahabharata

Mahabharata(the longest poem in the world) is a narrative of a rivalry between two related families , the Kauravas and the Pandavas for the conquest of the land called Bharata . Before the battle Lord Krishna gave teachings to Arjuna(one of the panda
Mahabharata(the longest poem in the world) is a narrative of a rivalry between two related families , the Kauravas and the Pandavas for the conquest of the land called Bharata . Before the battle Lord Krishna gave teachings to Arjuna(one of the panda

Rama with Hanuman

Hanuman is a Hindu deity, who was an ardent devotee of Rama who participated in Rama's war against the demon king Ravana.
Hanuman is a Hindu deity, who was an ardent devotee of Rama who participated in Rama's war against the demon king Ravana.

Lord Mahavira

Mahavira was an indian sage who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. He was the 24th and the last Tirthankara.
Mahavira was an indian sage who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. He was the 24th and the last Tirthankara.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Guru Nanak dev  was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. Guru ji with his two companions Bala And Mardana , travelled across the world to educate and press home the message of Almighty Lord.
Guru Nanak dev was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. Guru ji with his two companions Bala And Mardana , travelled across the world to educate and press home the message of Almighty Lord.

Devotion : In India occasions such as changing of seasons , events in the life of a deity , phases of the moon , rising and setting of constellations , all call for a celebration . so to say everyday in india is like a holiday is no exaggeration . Holi , Diwali , Janam ashtami , Navaratri are some major of more than 200 festivals which are just a way for people to show their devotion to their beloved Deities . The stories of devotees like Prahalad , Dhruv , Meera inspires people While statue of devotees like Hanuman are worshiped by millions , so art holds special place in the hearts of people .

Lord Krishna welcoming sudama

Sudama was a childhood friend of Hindu deity Krishna from Mathura, the story of whose visit to Dwaraka to meet Krishna, is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana .
Sudama was a childhood friend of Hindu deity Krishna from Mathura, the story of whose visit to Dwaraka to meet Krishna, is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana .

Meera Bai

Meera Bai was an aristocratic Hindu mystical singer and devotee of Lord Krishna . In her poems she has described her unconditional love for her Lord.
Meera Bai was an aristocratic Hindu mystical singer and devotee of Lord Krishna . In her poems she has described her unconditional love for her Lord.

Jagannath

Jagannath is a deity worshiped primarily by Hindu and Buddhist as part of a triad "Ratnabedi" along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra by his devotees.
Jagannath is a deity worshiped primarily by Hindu and Buddhist as part of a triad "Ratnabedi" along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra by his devotees.

Apsara

Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing.Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling. Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha an
Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing.Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling. Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha an

Rulers and Simple Life : Paintings from muslim and hindu courts are rich in depictions of kings and noblemen engaged in activities . Royal Portraits stress the ceremonial aspects of a ruler's life and are idealized view of law and order . The paintings show the relationship between the royal and the normal life which was not very well at that time . Moreover the Portraits like Taj Mahal show that love was still celebrated at that time .

Emperor Akbar

Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar was the third Mughal Emperor. He is most appreciated for having a liberal outlook on all faiths and beliefs and during his era, culture and art reached a zenith as compared to his predecessors.
Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar was the third Mughal Emperor. He is most appreciated for having a liberal outlook on all faiths and beliefs and during his era, culture and art reached a zenith as compared to his predecessors.

Sanghamita

Sanghamitta  was the daughter of Emperor Ashoka and his Buddhist queen Devī.  She went to Sri Lanka to spread the teachings of Buddha and established the Bikhhunī Sangha .
Sanghamitta was the daughter of Emperor Ashoka and his Buddhist queen Devī. She went to Sri Lanka to spread the teachings of Buddha and established the Bikhhunī Sangha .

Maharaja Ranjit Singh in his court

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the vast  Sikh Empire, which came to power in the Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century .
Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the vast Sikh Empire, which came to power in the Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century .
Village Life
Village Life

Modern Indian Art : The modern Indian artists are beginning to expand their horizons from just sculpture and painting . Artists like Vivian Sundaram , Shyamal Ray have shown the way to the young Indian artists . Modern Indian art takes influence from all over the world but still painters like Late M F Hussian are the backbone of Indian art . His horse's painting is ever so popular while Amrita Shergill represents the rise of women artists in India .

M F Hussain

Leaping Horse
Leaping Horse

Amrita Shergill

Three Girls by Amrita Shergill
Three Girls by Amrita Shergill

Vivian Sundaram

Artworks of Vivian Sundaram
Artworks of Vivian Sundaram

Shyam Dutta Ray

Disillusioned by Shyam Dutta Ray
Disillusioned by Shyam Dutta Ray

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