Indian Arts 3

Mughal period (1526-1858)

Under Emperor Akbar the monumental fortress, palace, mausoleum and garden architecture began, which is characterized by the use of precious building materials (red sandstone, white marble) (1556-1605 buildings in Fatehpur-Sikri, forts in Agra and Lahore, Humayun’s mausoleum in Delhi).

It was founded by his successors Jahangir (1605-27; mausoleum Akbars in Sikandra near Agra, mausoleum Itimad-ud-Daulas in Agra), Shah Jahan (1628-59; mausoleum Jahangir near Lahore, pearl mosque and palace buildings in the fort of Agra, Lal Qila [“Red Castle”] and Jama Masjid in Delhi, Taj Mahal), the v. a. popularized the elegantly contoured serrated arches, and continued Aurangseb (Badshahi Masjid in Lahore, mausoleum of Rabia Daurani). The eleven Mughal emperors who ruled from 1707 to 1858 continued the building tradition with less valuable materials.


After independence, an independent architecture emerged in India, some of which adopted an international design language. She will v. a. represented by Balkrishna V. Doshi (* 1927) and C. Correa with residential buildings in Hyderabad and Delhi and by Uttam C. Jain (* 1934) with public buildings such as B. the University of Jodhpur. In addition, the work of international architects became significant for the development of Indian architecture (including Le Corbusier in Chandigarh and Ahmadabad, L. Kahn in Ahmadabad).


Beginnings up to the 13th century

According to physicscat, the oldest surviving Indian paintings, apart from prehistoric rock carvings, are wall paintings in the Caitya caves of Ajanta.

In them, the characters (people or animals) appear several times within a composition. If the people were relatively small in the early phase, in the late phase (around the 7th century) they grew into life-size to larger-than-life figures. Wall paintings comparable to Ajanta have been found in Hindu and Jain cave complexes and outdoor temples, albeit often only fragmentarily, on the entire Indian subcontinent and in Sri Lanka. According to old iconographic texts and paint residues on sculptures, wood and ivory carvings, cult figures were also painted. The literary models of painting on transportable picture carriers (palm leaf, bark) are much older than the oldest surviving illustrated manuscripts, the hot and humid climate in large parts of India is responsible for their transience. The oldest illustrated manuscripts are again of Buddhist origin (around 10th-11th centuries). Corresponding Jainist manuscripts from a comparable period are documented far less often.

Indo-Islamic period (12th / 13th to 19th centuries)

After the last Buddhist dynasties were broken up in the 13th century, BC arose. a. numerous illustrated Jain manuscripts in Gujarat. From the end of the 14th century, the previously common palm leaf was gradually replaced by paper, which resulted in a change in the height and aspect ratio: the manuscript leaves lost their elongated format. In the 15th century the colors blue, red and gold dominated. From now on, Hindu clients also had their texts illustrated. At about the same time as this development, illustrated Islamic manuscripts were created in the individual sultanates, with the vertical format being preferred. In places at the beginning of the 16th century stylistic elements of Jain miniature and sultanate painting were mixed, which led to the development of the early Rajput painting was not left unaffected.

Mughal period (1526-1858)

From around 1560, under Akbar, Mughal painting, which was initially strongly influenced by Persian, was founded, which over time interacted with Rajput painting. Since the 17th century, numerous provincial workshops of various schools of Rajput painting have sprung up at the courts of smaller Hindu rulers. Until the middle of the 19th century, local painters still worked occasionally for their colonial masters (natural history studies).

19th century, modern and present

Shortly after 1850, western-oriented art academies were founded in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai) and Madras (Chennai). The autodidact Ravi Varma (* 1848, † 1906) painted traditional subjects in an academic style and achieved great popularity through the reproduction of his work (oleography). The most important representative of the “Bengali School” was A. Tagore. In addition to western elements, he was inspired by Mughal painting and Japanese ink painting. Jamini Roy (* 1887, † 1972) took the Bengali tradition of fabric painting with mythological themes as its starting point, whereby his modernist approach is mainly visible in the emphasized two-dimensionality and the changed proportions. Primitivism and Cubism enjoyed particular popularity among the Western styles of modernity. Amrita Sher-Gil (* 1913, † 1941) was the first professional artist to achieve great recognition through her combination of the ancient Indian painting style of Ajanta with primitivist and expressive elements. Shortly before independence, the formation of associations of progressive artists began, including the “Bombay Progressive Artists Group” (founded in 1947). Its members included Maqbool Fida Husain (* 1915, † 2011), who represents a figurative style with light abstractions, and Sayed Haider Raza (* 1922), who developed from landscape painting to highly symbolic, abstract motifs. Other important contemporary representatives of individual, predominantly figurative styles include Bhupen Khakhar (* 1934, † 2003), Jogen Chowdhury (* 1939), Anjolie Ela Menon (* 1940), Arpana Caur (* 1954), Jyothi Basu (* 1960) and Jitish Kallat (* 1974).

Indian Arts 3