Indian art comprises various art forms including painting, sculpture, pottery as well as textile arts such as woven silk. A characteristic trait of Indian art is its strong sense of design that is visible in both traditional Indian art as well as modern Indian art. Dating back to prehistoric times, Indian art has gone through many changes and developments since its birth. These include changes influenced by both cultural as well as religious influences. Despite the vast, complex heritage India has inherited from her diversity in religions and languages, there is still a sense of commonality in the way all these art forms are portrayed irrespective of their religious orientation. History reveals that art that used stone and metal were the pieces that endured the test of time and serve as great heritage pieces today.
Different regions of the subcontinent have their own unique art styles. The usual subject matter that is prevalent in almost all art forms in India have some sort of religious or spiritual connotations, involving mythological human and animal forms as well as intricate embellishments. The three most common art forms that are prevalent in India are paintings, sculptures and architecture.
Types of Indian Art
Every painting style that surfaced in Indian art was representative of age-old traditions, customs and beliefs that have been passed down generation after generation. While early paintings used walls or murals as their medium, modern paintings use more durable materials such as paper, canvas, cloth and other such mediums.
Madhubani Paintings - This art style is a form of wall art. It is widely known to be a simple yet expressive depiction of cultural and traditional milestones in Indian history with the use of mythological scenes. This art form, is further, practised in different styles - Bharni, Katchni, Geru, Godna and Tantric
Miniature Paintings - This art style included small paintings in the form of illustrations. It was originally discovered on palm leaves. This particular form of art became extremely popular during the reign of the Mughal and Rajput empires. These paintings had great attention to detail and precision and drew from Persian art techniques
Pattachitra Paintings - Still prevalent to this day, Pattachitra paintings translate to ‘cloth picture’. This is a traditional, cloth-based painting. These paintings were commonly remembered for their mythological plots and Mughal Era influences
Warli Paintings - This indigenous art form was usually on the walls of huts. Warli used linear and monochromatic hues, that displayed an uncanny resemblance to tribal art and cave paintings
While these were the most popular painting styles, there were also other forms of painting, namely, Thanjavur paintings, Kalamkari, Gond paintings and Phad paintings
Just like paintings, architecture also inherited various styles and forms throughout the years. The earliest form of architecture was the cave architecture of the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.
The favoured medium of instruction when it comes to art are sculptures. The first sculptures that were found were terracotta figures.
Q1. What type of art is India known for?
While each region of Indian culture has a different style when it comes to art, the whole of India prides itself in being known for advancements when it comes to the three art forms - paintings, sculptures and architecture.
Q2. How many art forms are present in India to this day?
India boasts of over 50 traditional, folk and tribal art forms today. The Indian folk arts have gone through many generations.
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