The fact that India has always been well connected to the outside world has also meant that Indian fine art has been influenced by the cultures of other lands, and this has simply served to enrich the art even further.
Indian Paintings a Fusion of Different Cultures
The art of India depicts their ancient heritage, medieval times, British rule, Mughal rule, progressive art as well as contemporary art, and in fact the very earliest recorded art of India originated from a religious Hindu background, to be replaced later by Buddhist art . Indian paintings can be anything from early civilizations to the present day; and today the art form is a fusion of different cultures and traditions. Art in India has also been inspired by spiritualism and mystical relations between man and god, and the artists of India have relied on religious scripts to draw inspiration, making use of water colors, charcoal as well as vegetable dyes.
Mogul Painters Make Use of Native Materials
In 1550 the Indian subcontinent was divided between Muslim and Hindu kingdoms and the Moguls established a new dynasty, coming from the mountains, north of the Indus River valley. One of the purposes of their art was to draw attention to the king and glorify his deeds, and they made good use of native materials in their works of art. Good art symbolized the prosperity of many an empire in ancient India. Art was an extension of their tribute and respect to the king, and the art of Hindu kings depicts scenes from Ramayan and Mahabharat.
The founder of the Moguls was Babur. Persian painting had become academic, it excelled in skill of brush work and mastery of color, but it lacked spiritual energy and vitality and it had lost touch with life. India has a tradition of vital painting, especially in the Rajput states and in the Deccan, and the king, Abkar, changed the course of development of art with the founding of his new religion which had many foreign elements.
The Origins of Mogul Art
Mogul art had its real beginnings during the reign of Akbar (1556) and he wanted to accurately record the events of his reign. He appreciated the realism in Europe engravings and paintings, steering his painters towards greater naturalism and encouraging the use of modeling and of European perspective in landscape.
Realism and strong colors are the characteristics of the Mogul school of miniature painters. Mogul painters excelled in portraiture of animals and people and leaned towards an excess idealization and to an interest in lighting. Glass work and ceramics also flourished under the Moguls, and carpets were also made. The Mogul invaders attracted some of the best 16th century painters in India to their courts.
A striking feature of Rajasthani art is an intensity of feelings and emotions with architecture usually in the background to create some perspective. The Rajput school takes pride of place among the local styles, as the Rajput princes were more closely linked than any others with the Mogul court. Many of their artists worked for the court, and the subjects illustrated by the Rajput painters were never taken from Muslim court life but depicted a number of themes, events, Krishna's life, humans and landscapes, and humans.
An Increasing Interest in the Art of Indians
Today many Indian artists are producing excellent works of art and exhibiting them overseas. Of course the uniqueness of this art is its rich cultural heritage, and today you keep hearing of how art by Indians is fetching a fortune. Today there has also been an increasing interest in art magazines like Art India and Indian Contemporary Art Journal among others. Excavations of art in India has shown that the art is highly sophisticated, and artists of the 21st century use both ancient, historical styles as well as modern ideas in their art.