Paintings of Himachal

Dr A.K. Coomaraswamy, made the real discovery of the Kangra School of Painting. He visited Kangra in 1910 and classified paintings There were some 35 old styles, which flourished in Himachal before advent of the Mughal influence in Himachal Hills Kangra Paintings reached Tehri Garhwal, through Raja Anirudh Chand Katoch of Kangra in 1827.M.S. Randhawa went in search of paintings in the Punjab Hills from 1950-1955W. C Archer wrote ‘Kangra paintings’ in 1952Himachali paintings can be broadly classified asMiniature painting: These were drawn on stiff handmade paperWall painting: It was practiced in the temples and the palaces of nobles.
Kangra School of Paintings The school of art in Guler started under the patronage of Raja Dalip Singh (1675-1743), though technically we cannot ascribe it as Kangra style, but more of a Mughal/Guler style.The result of a good relationship between the Rajas of Guler and the Mughals resulted into the influx of artists trained in the Mughal style of paintings. This continued until Raj Singh Guleria who ascended in 1675 AD.
The genesis of Kangra School of paintings took place under Raja Govardhan Chand (1744- 1773 AD) of Guler. Nadir Shah’s invasion of Delhi in 1739 was instrumental in driving painters and ultimately foundation of the Kangra School.Kangra Paintings got its pinnacle during the reign of Maharaja Sansar Chand (1675-1823 AD) Major works done under his sponsorship were The love story of Radha and Krishan was the main source of spiritual experience, which was also the base for the visual expression. The other popular themes were Jaya Deva’s Sanskrit love poem, the GeetGovinda, Bihari’s Satsai, the Bhagavat Puran, the romantic tale of Nal and Damyanti and Keshav Das’s Rasikapriya and Kavipriya.Apart from Kangra Paintings; Chamba, Arki, Kullu, Nurpur, Mandi and Bilaspur are other styles of Pahari paintings.
Prominent Artists Pandit Seu of Guler. He had two artist sons; Manak and Nainsukh.Khushala, son of Manak, got patronage of Maharaja Sansat Chand Katoch (MSC)Nainsukh had four artist sons, Kama, Gaudhu, Ranjha (Ram Lal) and Nikka.
Museums and Art Galleries in HP The Bhuri Singh Museum of Chamba has big collection of antiques including old paintings on mythological and other subjects.Naggar Art Gallery, Kullu: In 1928 Roerich founded the Himalayan Roerich Institute ‘Urusvati’ which literally means ‘Morning Star Light’.Famous Art Gallery of Andretta (Nr. Palampur) is associated with the name of Sardar Sobha Singh and Norah Richard.
Kullu painters had prepared an album of Rama which is famous as ‘Shangari Ramayana’.
Majority of Painter were basically carpenters MSC got some 40,000 paintings done during his reign.
Shringar (the erotic sentiment) is considered as the Focal theme of Kangra paintings.
These paintings were more inclined towards feminine beauty and landscapes.
The origin of the Chamba school of painting is credited to Raja Prithvi Singh (1641-64 AD) of Chamba.
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