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A Peep Into The Traditional Mysore Paintings

“Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight.” ? OrhanPamuk

A painting is painter’s cinematic vision which is envisaged through his imagination, passion and soul. Camera can capture reality but painting captures metaphorical significance of reality. One of the most beautiful and vivid painting experiences can be fetched through Mysore Paintings. A series of distinctive paintings that belong exclusively to Mysore city. The classic south Indian painting that has long history since Ajanta times is known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail revolving around the theme of Indian God and Goddesses and Hindu mythology.

History of Paintings

It has huge significance in our history. It gradually modified into the many styles of painting in South India, including the Mysore and Tanjore schools of painting. In this phase it absorbed artist’s traditions and customs. Known for its delicate lines, intricate brush strokes, graceful delineation of figures and the discreet use of bright vegetable colours and lustrous gold leaf. More than mere decorative pieces, the paintings are designed to inspire feelings of devotion and humility in the viewer. The painter’s individual skill in giving expression to various emotions is therefore of utmost importance to this style of painting.

Traditional Mysore Paintings

Tradition and Imagination in a Sight

These paintings are loved and remembered for its grace and beauty. It has great literary significance in Indian Culture and vivid portrayal of God and Goddesses. The illustrations show the great portrayal of epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. of high imagination and creativity.

These painting were first made on grounds, paper wood, cloth etc. which later evolved to paper made of paper pulp or waste paper. These were made log living by drying in sun and were also rubbed smoothly by polished quartz pebble. It was pasted on a wooden board using a paste composed of dry white lead (safeda) mixed with gum and a small quantity of gruel (ganji). The board was then dried and burnished. Wood surfaces were prepared by applying dry white lead, yellow ochre and gum, and walls were treated with yellow ochre, chalk and gum. Then they will colour the figures and to elaborate they will golden covering called ‘gesso’ work to highlight important features.

Gesso Work- The Golden Lining of a Canvas

Gesso work was like the hallmark of the paintings made. Gesso refers to the paste mixture of white lead powder, gambose and glue which is used as an embossing material and covered with gold foil. The gesso work in Mysore paintings is complicated as compared to the thick gold work of the Tanjore School. Beautiful designs of clothes, jewellery and architectural details on pillars and arches that usually framed the deities were beautifully underlined through gesso work. Initially the painting remains dry and after allowing the painting to dry, glazing was carried out by covering the painting with thin paper and rubbing over it with a soft glazing stone known as kaslupadakallu. When the thin paper was removed the painting shone brightly and looked resplendent with the combination of gold and a variety of colours.

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