Miniature art –
In India the history of miniature art is very old, It has a long history.
At a distance, they are beautiful. On closer examination, they are phenomenal, unravelling stories captured with infinitesimal, intricate details. The world of Miniature Paintings is a kaleidoscope of history, scriptures and the lives of people through the ages.
Miniature art is an intense labour of love illustrated on a range of materials like palm leaves, paper, wood, marble, ivory panels and cloth. Organic and natural minerals and colors like stone dust, real gold and silver dusts, Neel, are used to create the exquisite colours. Even the paper used is special; polished with stone to render a smooth non porous surface.
Defined by delicate brushwork, a mélange of colours, and graceful forms, miniature paintings are so delicate, that even today, with so much modernization, squirrel hair is used to create the brushes used in this art form. Each painting abounds with fine photographic details, capturing even the hair on a character.
History of Miniature Paintings-
Miniature paintings originated in India around 750 A.D when the Palas ruled over the eastern part of India. Since religious teachings of the Buddha, accompanied by his images, were written on palm leaves, these paintings became popular. As these paintings were done on palm leaves, they had to be miniature in nature because of space constraint.
The Kishangarh province in Rajasthan is known for its Bani Thani paintings. It is a totally different style with highly exaggerated features like long necks, large, almond shaped eyes, and long fingers. This style of painting essentially depicts Radha and Krishna as divine lovers, and beautifully portrays their mystical love. Kishangarh miniature painting reached a peak in the eighteenth century, during the rule of Raja Sawant Singh, who fell in love with a slave girl, Bani Thani and commanded his artists to portray himself and her as Krishna and Radha. Other themes of Bani Thani paintings include portraits, court scenes, dancing, hunting, music parties, nauka vihar (lovers travelling in a boat), Krishna Lila, Bhagavata Purana and various other festivals like Holi, Diwali, Durga puja, and Dussehra.