Exploring Mysore Painting & Line Art Fusion

Mysore Style Painting: The Story…

Pic from – Met Museum

The imminent onset of militarization and war always results in a cultural shift that revels in the emergence of newer art forms and styles, each influenced by the other, creating a cultural fusion. While the Mysore Style Painting can be traced back to the painting of Ajanta, it gained popularity in the Deccan peninsula only during the Vijayanagar Dynasty. Ajanta is best known for its paintings, which embody incredible grace, elegance and refined quality of form. These paintings predate evidence of western art by centuries yet remain strong influences in Indian art today as well – Mysore Style Painting shares similar features. The Khaljis (1290–1320) and the Tughlaqs (1320–1414) both tried to conquer the Deccan but were ultimately unsuccessful. 

Pic from – Met Museum

The officers of Muhammad Bin Tughluq rebelled against him and an independent sultanate was declared under the leadership of general Zafar Khan. His descendants, known as the Bahmanids (1347–1528), ruled from a capital located first in Gulbarga and later in Bidar. The art, poetry, and music of the Deccani courts were marked by an affinity for Persia; many rulers of this area were of Persian descent or were Shi‘i and thus felt stronger ties to the West than to the Sunni rulers in northern India. This brought in the influence of calligraphy into the existing art style, the refined lines and delicacy but retained their vivid colourful backgrounds and descriptive painting style. The painting of the courts remained very Islamic and had themes of royalty, but the local influence among Hindus remained of mythology but adopting the same styles.

Krishnaprasad Vasan Masrtand: Combining Classic & Contemporary…

Krishnaprasad Vasant Masrtand’s art is heavily influenced by Mysore style artwork that gained popularity and structure during the Vijayanagar Empire. Mysore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting that originated in and around the town of Mysore in Karnataka – encouraged and nurtured by the Mysore rulers. The Mysore style painting’s themes usually involve gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology and use the same elegance, muted colours and attention to detail in telling these myths. It acts as a medium through which these myths and stories stay alive. He paints with the same delicacy and vivid colours of the Mysore style painting.

Krishnaprasad Vasant Masrtand’s unique art style is a combination of past and present; he merges pre-existing ideas of Hindu mythological figures with modern re-imaginations of these tales. Combining the powerful Mysore style of art form, that dotes on Hindu mythology, with the modern form of line art – that often looks like calligraphy – he reimagines how we see these mythological figures. While Mysore line art, much like arts and crafts of India, emphasizes thick lines and beautiful vibrant colours, Martand uses thin lines and usually paints in monochrome. His lines and monochrome designs take centre stage and become pieces of contemporary narrations in re-telling these myths and stories. His visual lexicons though look whimsical are narrative pieces that combine the heavy influence of heritage from old art forms and revolutionary ideas of the contemporary

Adaption: The Need…

While the Mysore Style painting is a historic heritage that is preserved in museums and curated by historians, the active practice of it is diminishing and the people who practice it a minority. The preservation of art happens through adaptation, like the Mysore style originally adapted and stayed relevant, it needs to do the same. The combination of an art form that was influenced by ancient art styles and Persian calligraphy, is now further influenced by western Line Art and abstracts. It culturally re-imagines the themes and incorporates many more subaltern ideas of society.  Do buy and Support at www.shopchaupal.com

Author: Arpita Sk

3rd-year student studying in Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, majoring in Literary Studies and Sociology. Summer Intern at Kala Chaupal Trust.

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