Rajasthani School of Painting – UPSC Notes – Art and Culture

The term ‘Rajasthani School of Painting‘ refers to the artistic traditions that thrived in the princely realms and thikanas of the region encompassing present-day Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh. These schools, including those in Mewar, Bundi, Kota, Jaipur, Bikaner, Kishangarh, Jodhpur (Marwar), Malwa, Sirohi, and other similar principalities, predominantly flourished from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries.

Rajasthani School of PaintingIntroduction

  • The school is deeply rooted in Indian traditions, drawing inspiration from sources like Indian epics, Puranas, Sanskrit love poems, folklore, and musical themes.
  • Flourishing in Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh, it had a significant impact from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries.
  • Regions encompassed by this artistic tradition include Mewar, Bundi, Kota, Jaipur, Bikaner, Kishangarh, Jodhpur (Marwar), Malwa, Sirohi, and other princely principalities.

Salient Features of Rajasthani School of Paintings

  • The school is influenced by the cults of Vaishnavism, Saivism, and Sakti, with a notable contribution from various Krishna cults.
  • Characteristics include bold drawing and vibrant, contrasting colors.
  • Figures are treated flatly, lacking naturalistic perspective, and some paintings feature divided surfaces with different colors.
  • Mughal influence is evident in refined drawing and elements of naturalism.
  • Subjects range from stories of the Ramayana to depictions of royal lifestyles, along with portrayals of social values and changes introduced by kings for societal betterment.
  • A unique background is a distinctive feature of these paintings.

Materials Used

  • Diverse materials such as paper, ivory, and silk were employed, showcasing the versatility and richness of the Rajasthani School of Painting.
Rajasthani School of Paintings

Rajasthani School of Paintings – Bundi School of Painting:

  • This style of painting dates back to 1625 AD.
  • One of the earliest examples is a painting depicting Bhairavi Ragini in the Allahabad Museum.
  • Themes from the life of Krishna prominently feature in this school of painting.


  • The Rasikapriya from the late 17th century portrays a scene where Krishna tries to collect butter from a Gopi. However, he discovers that the pot contains a piece of cloth and other objects instead of butter. Realizing he has been duped, the background includes trees, and the foreground features a river indicated with wavy lines. Flowers and aquatic birds adorn the river, and a brilliant red border frames the painting.

Salient Characteristics:

  • Rich and glowing colors define this school of painting.
  • The depiction of the rising sun in golden color and a crimson-red horizon are distinctive features.
  • Overlapping and semi-naturalistic trees contribute to the unique style.

Mughal Influence:

  • Mughal influence is visible in the refined drawing of faces and an element of naturalism in the treatment of trees.
  • The text is written in black against a yellow background at the top.
Rajasthani School of Paintings - Bundi School of Paintings

Rajasthani School of Paintings – Malwa School of Painting

  • Flourished between 1600 and 1700 CE, representing the Hindu Rajput courts in Central India.
  • Unlike the specific territorial focus of Rajasthani schools, the Malwa School lacks a precise center of origin, suggesting a vast territory in Central India.
  • This conservative style faded away after the close of the 17th century.

Salient Features:

  • Fondness for rigorously flat compositions characterizes Malwa paintings.
  • The use of black and chocolate-brown backgrounds is distinctive, with figures often depicted against a solid color patch.
  • Architectural elements are painted in lively colors.
  • The school is noted for its primitive charm and a simple, childlike vision.

Notable Works:

  • The earliest work in this style is an illustrated version of the Rasikapriyā (1634).
  • Following that, there is a series illustrating a Sanskrit poem called the Amaru Śataka (1652).
  • The school also produced illustrations of musical modes (Ragamala), the Bhagavata-Puraṇa, and other Hindu devotional and literary works.
Ravana begging sita for Alms, Malwa, Rajasthan School of Paintings.

Rajasthani School of Paintings – Mewar School of Painting:

  • Importance: Mewar painting stands as one of the most significant schools of Indian miniature painting during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Style: It belongs to the Rajasthani style and was nurtured in the Hindu principality of Mewar in the state of Rajasthan.

Salient Features:

  • Works are characterized by simple bright colors and a direct emotional appeal.
  • The earliest example of Mewar painting is a series of the Ragamala painted in 1605 CE at Chawand, near Udaipur, by Misardi.
  • Many paintings from this series are in the collection of Shri Gopi Krishna Kanoria.
  • The expressive and vigorous style persisted with some variations until around 1680 in the region, after which Mughal influence became more apparent.
  • A shift towards an increasing number of paintings focused on portraiture and the life of the ruler, although religious themes remained popular.

Related Posts

Pre Historic Painting
Mural Paintings
Cave Paintings
Paintings in India

For Daily Current Affairs Click Here

Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE
Follow our Instagram ID HERE

FAQs on Rajasthani Painting

  1. What are the schools of Rajasthani painting?
    • The Rajasthani Schools of Miniature Painting include the Mewar, Malwa, Bundi, Kota, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Bikaner, and Jodhpur Schools. They were divided into the three main subschools of Mewar, Marwar, Hadoti, and Dhundhar.
  2. Which was the chief Centre of Rajasthan school of painting?
    • Mewar is considered a significant early center of painting in Rajasthan. It is conjectured to be a place where a continuous stylistic tradition of painting was formalized, potentially from pre-seventeenth century.
  3. What is the difference between Rajasthani school of painting and Pahari school of painting?
    • Pahari miniature paintings focus on natural beauty, human feelings, Raga-mala, Ramayana, Gita-Govinda, Rasa-manjari, Mahabharata, and Radha-Krishna. On the other hand, Rajasthani school paintings cover architecture, human figures, nature, Radha-Krishna, Ramayana, and Mahabharata.
  4. What is Mewar school of painting?
    • Mewar painting is one of the most important schools of Indian miniature painting from the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a part of the Rajasthani style and developed in the Hindu principality of Mewar in Rajasthan. The works of the school are characterized by simple bright colors and a direct emotional appeal.
  5. What is the main feature of Rajasthani school of painting?
    • The themes of Rajasthani paintings include seasons, music, hunting scenes, and religious themes like Ramayana and Mahabharata. A distinctive aspect is the bold and contrasting colors used, and the background of the paintings is notable.
  6. Who is the famous painter of Rajasthani school?
    • Nihal Chand is a renowned painter associated with the Kishangarh style of Rajasthani painting. The Kishangarh style is known for its individualistic facial type and religious intensity, and Nihal Chand played a significant role in its development.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *