The tradition of painting has been carried on in the Indian subcontinent since the ancient times.
Standing as a testimony to this fact are the beautiful paintings of Ajanta and Ellora, Buddhist palm leaf manuscripts, Mughal and Kangra schools of miniature Indian paintings, etc.
Infact, records have been found that indicate the usage of paintings for decorating the doorways, guest rooms, etc. Some traditional Indian paintings, like those of Ajanta, Bagh and Sittanvasal, depict a love for nature and its forces.
Cave paintings of India date back to the prehistoric times.
The finest examples of these paintings comprise of the paintings of Ajanta, Ellora, Bagh, Sittanavasal, etc, which reflect an emphasis on naturalism.
Ancient cave paintings of India serve as a window to our ancestors, who used to inhabit these caves.
Madhubani painting originated in a small village, known as Maithili, of the Bihar state of India.
Initially, the womenfolk of the village drew the paintings on the walls of their home, as an illustration of their thoughts, hopes and dreams.
With time, the paintings started becoming a part of festivities and special events, like marriage.
Slowly and gradually, the Madhubani painting of India crossed the traditional boundaries and started reaching specialists of art, both at the national as well as the international level.
Miniatures paintings are beautiful handmade paintings, which are quite colorful but small in size.
The highlight of these paintings is the complex and delicate brushwork, which lends them a unique identity.
The colors are handmade, from minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, pure gold and silver.
The most common theme of the Miniature painting of India comprises of the Ragas i.e., the musical codes of Indian classical music.
Mughal painting reflects an exclusive combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles.
As the name suggests, these paintings evolved as well as developed during the rule of Mughal Emperors in India, between 16th century and 19th century.
The Mughal paintings of India revolved around themes, like battles, court scenes, receptions, legendary stories, hunting scenes, wildlife, portraits, etc.
The Victoria and Albert Museums of London house a large and impressive collection of Mughal paintings.
Mysore Painting is a form of classical South Indian painting, which evolved in the Mysore city of Karnataka. During that time, Mysore was under the reign of the Wodeyars and it was under their patronage that this school of painting reached its zenith.
Quite similar to the Tanjore Paintings, Mysore Paintings of India make use of thinner gold leaves and require much more hard work. The most popular themes of these paintings include Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. The grace, beauty and complexity of Indian Mysore Paintings leave the onlookers mesmerized.
Pahari painting is the name given to Rajput paintings, made in the in the Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir states of India.
These painting developed as well as flourished during the period of 17th to 19th century. Indian Pahadi paintings have been done mostly in miniature forms.
Rajput painting originated in the royal states of Rajasthan, somewhere around the late 16th and early 17th century.
The Mughals ruled almost all the princely states of Rajasthan at that time and because of this; most of the schools of Rajput Painting in India reflect strong Mughal influence. Each of the Rajput kingdoms evolved a distinctive style.
However, similarities and common features can still be found in the paintings of different territories.
Tanjore Painting is one of the most popular forms of classical South Indian painting. It is the native art form of Thanjavur (also known as Tanjore) city of Tamil Nadu. The dense composition, surface richness and vibrant colors of Indian Thanjavur Paintings distinguish them from the other types of paintings.
Then, there are additions of semi-precious stones, pearls and glass pieces that further add to their appeal. The relief work gives them a three dimensional effect. Tanjore Painting of India originated during the 16th century, under the reign of the Cholas.