Photograph by MagicToDooron Flickr.
painting />The rise of Guler Paintings started in what is known as the Early phase of Kangra Kalam. 1695-1741) of Guler.
The new arrivals mingled with the local artists and were greatly influenced by the atmosphere of the hills. Bubbles painting Krishna subjects, known commonly as Krishna-lila predominate, while the themes of love, inspired by the nayaks and nayikas and baramasa enjoyed great favour.
For instance, they used a light pink on the upper hills to indicate distance. Kangra paintings depict the feminine charm in a very graceful manner. The sentiment of love remained the inspiration and the central theme of Pahari painting.
It is in the development and modification of Pahari paintings, that the Kangra School features. The foliage depicted is vast and varied.
The female figures are exceptionally beautiful. Later Kangra paintings also depicted nocturnal scenes, and storms and lightning. In these styles the faces are well modelled and shaded so judiciously that they possess almost porcelain-like delicacy. The focal theme of Kangra painting is Shringar (the erotic sentiment).
It also runs a workshop where genuine Kangra Paintings are made on traditional hand made paper using only mineral and vegetable colours. . Towns and house clusters were often depicted in the distance. The Kangra painters used colors made of vegetable and mineral extracts.
The other popular themes were the stories of Nala and Damayanti, and those from Keshavdas s Baramasa. One striking feature of the ancient Indian Kangra paintings is the verdant greenery it depicts. The paintings were often large and had complex compositions of many figures and elaborate landscapes.
The style is naturalistic, and great attention is paid to detail. Under the patronage of Maharaja Sansar Chand (c.1765-1823), it became the most important center of Pahari painting. This great art originated in a small hill state ‘Guler’ in the Lower Himalayas in the first half of the eighteenth century when a family of Kashmiri painters trained in Mughal painting Style sought shelter at the court of Raja Dalip Singh (r.
Kangra paintings influenced by the Bhagavad Purana portrayed incidents from the life of the young Krishna, against the Brindavan forest or river Yamuna. The Sat Sai depictions of the legendary lovers, on the other hand, were set against an architectural background with walls, balconies and windows.
The paintings were naturalistic and employed cool, fresh colors. Bhakti cult was the driving force and the love story of Radha and Krishna was the main source of spiritual experience, which was also the base for the visual expression.
Being a liberal patron, the painters working at his atelier received large commissions while others accepted a permanent settlement in the form of lands. The Kangra paintings feature flowering plants and creepers, leafless trees, rivulets and brooks. The Kangra artists adopted various shades of the primary colors and used delicate and fresher hues.
Verdant greenery of the landscape, brooks, springs were the recurrent images on the miniatures. This style reached its zenith during the reign of Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch (r.1776-1824) who was a great patron of Kangra art. This is made noticeable by using multiple shades of green.
Later on this style also reached Mandi, Suket, Kulu, Arki, Nalagarh and Tehri Garhwal (represented by Mola Ram), and now are collectively known as Pahari painting. Kangra paintings belong to the school of Pahari paintings that were patronized by the Rajput rulers between the 17th and 19th centuries. Pahari paintings, as the name suggests, were paintings executed in the hilly regions of India, in the sub-Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. In some miniatures, the blue-god Krishna is seen dancing in the lush woodlands and every maiden’s eye are drawn to him.
Kangra painting, the pictorial art of Kangra is one of the finest gifts of India to the art-world, named after Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, a former princely state, which patronized the art. The colors were extracted from minerals, vegetables and possessed enamel-like luster.
The subjects seen in Kangra painting exhibit the taste and the traits of the life style of the society of that period. Instead of painting flattering portraits of their masters and love scenes, the artistes adopted themes of eternal love between Radha and Krishna.
This NGO is running a school to train young boys and girls in this art. It became prevalent with the fading of Basohli school of painting in mid-eighteenth century . Though the main centre of Kangra paintings are Guler, Basohli, Chamba, Nurpur, Bilaspur and Kangra.
Maharaja Sansar Chand was an ardent devotee of Krishna and used to commission artists to paint subjects based on the loves and life of Krishna. The Guler-Kangra art is the art of drawing and the drawing is precise and fluid, lyrical and naturalistic. They employed cool and fresh colors.
Kangra paintings are known for the lyrical blending of form and color. The Kangra Arts Promotion Society() an NGO at Dharamshala Himachal Pradesh is working for the promotion of this art which is at the verge of extinction today.