History of Ganesha Tanjore Painting

History of Ganesha Tanjore Painting

Ganesh Tanjore Painting - Ancient Art of India

The art of Tanjore Paintings was developed in the 17-18th Century in South India, State of Tamil Nadu, in a small place called Thanjavur or Tanjore by the artists from the Raju communities of Tanjore and Naidu’s of Madurai. The Vijayanagara kingdom was a mighty kingdom under whose patronage several artists and painters thrived. However, after the fall of Hampi and the defeat of the Empire, some of these painters who lost their patronage migrated to Thanjavur where they found appreciation for their work under the Thanjavur- Nayakas. This colourful history is one of the reasons why Tanjore paintings are so unique as they display influences from the Vijayanagara and Maratha art.

Check about History and Evolution of Annapurna Tanjore Painting.

Lord Ganesha is a beloved Hindu God much- revered as the remover of all obstacles. He is also known as the God of beginnings and is invoked at the beginning of every auspicious occasion. He is known as the patron of intelligence and wisdom. Typically, a Ganesha Tanjore painting depicts the Hindu god Ganesha as the central figure, in bright colours and decorative 22kt and 24kt gold foil surrounded by an arch. The affection for the lovable elephant-god Lord Ganesha tends to complement the natural beauty and richness of a Tanjore painting and is one of the popular subjects of Tanjore Art.  The embellishments of precious and semi-precious stones and the relief work of the paintings lend these paintings a unique depth and superiority for which they are much in demand for both décor and for prayer rooms in India.

Ganesha Tanjore Painting

A typical Tanjore painting can be characterised by its compositions and depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses in rich and vivid colors on a flat wooden plank and decorated by glittering gold foil on delicate gesso work and tile with precious and semi-precious gems. The figures in the paintings are mostly round faces with almond-shaped eyes and smooth streamlined bodies. These paintings are served as idols as well. Other depictions may include scenes from Hindu book of Puranas. The main figure is placed in the central section of the painting surrounded by several subsidiary figures, themes and subjects. Tanjore painting is an extremely versatile art form with pictures ranging from huge work spanning whole walls to small miniatures.

Originally, a Thanjavur Painting was generally made on a canvas pasted over a plank of wood (Jackfruit or teak) with Arabic gum. The canvas was evenly coated with a paste of French chalk (gopi) or powdered limestone and a binding medium and dried. The artist draws or traces a detailed outline on the canvas. Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are inlaid and finally the colours are applied on the sketch.

Nowadays, with changing times and keeping in mind the cost, availability and economic consideration a lot of changes have taken place for e.g., Plywood is now commonly used for the plank instead of Jack and teak wood. Natural and mineral colours and other traditional components are being used less. Even the subject of the Paintings have become wider to include popular and modern themes.

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