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Mysuru Painting

Dept. of Fashion Communication

National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru


National Institute of Fashion Technology Bengaluru. All Rights Reserved.


Mysuru Painting


Certificate

This is to certify that the Document- Mysuru Painting is a Craft Publication record work done by the student, Prasenjit Singha (BD/14/159) as a Regular student for the degree of B.Des Fashion Communication during the period of July – Dec 2016, which represents as independent work and does not form the base for any previous work. Place: Date: Under the Guidance

C.M. Sanjeev

Assistant Professor Department of Fashion Communication National Institute of Fashion Technology Bengaluru- 560 102


Acknowledgement

I would like to express my gratitute to my mentor Mr. C.M. Sanjeev, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Fashion Communication, NIFT, Bengaluru for his aspiring guidance, invaluably constructive criticism and friendy advice during the project. This project would not have been possible without the support and help of Sri B.P. Ramakrishna and Sri Ashwin, who have played a very crucial role in the completion of this project.


Preface Mysuru Painting is an effort to document a traditional artform established during the 17th and 18th centuries in Mysuru. This form of painting was at its zenith during the reign of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. Today, the legacy of this traditional form of painting which is unique to its birthplace is dying as there has been noticeable decrement in the number of practicing artists over the last few decades. The objective behind documenting this artwork is promoting its uniqueness and spreading awareness about it.


Contents #1 Introduction

1-2

Geography

3-4

How to get there

5-6

Cultural Origin

7-10

History of the Art

11-14

#2 The process

15-18

Subject and Techniques

19-20

Influences on Mysore Paintings

21-22

#3 Artist Interaction

23-30

#4 SWOT Analysis

31-32

Conclusion

33-34

References The Soul

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Introduction Mysore Painting is a form of classical South Indian painting, which evolved in the Mysore city of Karnataka. During that time, Mysore was under the reign of the Wodeyars and it was under their patronage that this school of painting reached its zenith. Quite similar to the Tanjore Paintings, Mysore Paintings of India make use of thinner gold leaves and require much more hard work. The most popular themes of these paintings include Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. The grace, beauty and intricacy of Indian Mysore Paintings leave the onlookers mesmerized.


Introduction

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Introduction

Geography It is spread across an area of 128.42 km2 (50 sq mi) at the base of the Chamundi Hills in the southern region of Karnataka. Mysore is the southern-most city of Karnataka, and is a neighbouring city of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south, flanked by the state cities Mercara, Chamarajanagara, and Mandya.


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Introduction

How to get there


Introduction

By Train 3 hour journey from Bengaluru City junction(SBC) to Mysuru City Junction. Trains available every hour from SBC.

By Road 3-3.5 hours via NH275, NH948, NH75 and NH150A. KSRTC and private buses available throughout the day.

By Air A 45 minute travel time by air, Mysuru is connected via Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru on a daily basis.

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Introduction

Cultural Origin

The word Mysore is a corrupted version of “mysooru”, which is derived from the word “mahishur” or “Mahishasurana Ooru”, which means the town of Mahishasura in Kannada, the local language.

Mysore has been associated with the Puranic story found in the Devi Bhagavatha. According to the story in the Devi Purana, Mysroe was ruled by the demon Kind Mahishasura. Mahishasura was a buffalo-headed

monster. In response to the prayer by the Gods and Goddesses to save them from the demon, Goddess Parvathi, took birth as Chamundeshwari and killed the monster on top of the Chamundi hill near


Introduction

Mysore. Hence the hill and the city have the names Chamundi Hill and Mysore respectively. It is said that after killing the monster the Goddess stayed on top of the hill, where she is worshipped with great devotion to this day.

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Introduction


Introduction

The famous 10 daylong Dasara of Mysore is in honour of the Goddess Chamundeshwari and is a celebration of this victory of good over evil. Before the rise of the Gangas in the 10th century there is little historical evidence relating to Mysore. The Gangas established their supremacy in the 2nd century and they ruled over a large part of Mysore till about 1004 AD. In the 3rd century they established their capital at Talakad on the banks of the river Cauvery. There is an inscription on Chamundi Hills that was done in 950AD during the reign of the Gangas. This inscription is the oldest inscription found in Mysore. The Cholas ruled Mysore for over a century after the Gangas. The Chalukyas followed the Cholas. The Hoysalas drove the Cholas from the remaining part of Mysore region in the 12th century. Hoysala are known for the beautiful temples they built during their reign. It is said that they built or expanded the existing temples in Mysore and on the Chamundi Hills. There is an inscription in Mysore by the Hoysalas that dates back to the 11th and 12th century. After the Hoysalas came the Vijayanagar Kings and then the Mysore Yadu dynasty came to power in 1399A.D. They were the feudatories of the Vijayanagar Kings. This dynasty also contributed to temple building in Mysore. Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar, the raja of Mysore rebuilt the fort of Mysore and made his headquarters and called the city ‘Mahishura Nagara’ meaning the city of Mahishur. Many inscriptions done in the 17th century and later refer to Mysore as ‘Mahishuru’. Raja Wodeyar moved the capital from Mysore to Srirangapatna. After the death of Tippu Sultan in 1799, Mysore became the capital of the Wodeyars once again.

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Introduction

History of the art


Introduction

It was under the rule of Raja Krishna Raja Wodeyar that the popularity of the Mysore School of painting reached its highest point. However, after the Raja expired in 1868, the artists started scattering and the school reached the point of total extinction. The year 1875 saw the establishment of Jagan Mohan Palace and Chitrakala School and along with it, the revival of the Mysore Painting of India. Late Sri Siddalingeswara Swamiji and late Sri Y. Subramanya Raju also contributed to this exquisite art form.

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Introduction

Bangalore, Narasipura, Tumkur, Sravanabelagola and Nanjangud are the centers of Mysore paintings. In modern times, these paintings have become a much sought after souvenir during festive occasions in South India. Stylish demarcation of the images, frail lines, and convoluted brush strokes are some the characteristics of Mysore paintings. In the traditional Mysore paintings, the artists used vegetable and mineral colors made out of pigments of leaves and flowers of various plants and minerals. The sketches were made with the help of charcoal, which was prepared by burning tamarind twigs in an iron tube. The brushes were made of different materials, like squirrel hair, camel hair, goat hair etc. Today the painting is done with commercially available media like poster and water colors. In the ancient times, paper, wood, wall and cloth formed the base of the paintings. In modern times it is done mostly on paper pasted on to a board with glue or some other adhesive medium.

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The Process A number of steps are involved in the process of producing a Mysore painting. The first step requires the artist to make a preliminary sketch of the image on the base, which comprises of a cartridge paper pasted on a wooden base. Thereafter, he makes a paste of zinc oxide and Arabic gum, known as ‘gesso paste’. This paste is used to give a slightly raised effect of carving to those parts of the painting that require embellishments and is allowed to dry. Then, gold foil is pasted onto the surface. The rest of the painting is prepared with the help of watercolors. After the painting is fully dried, it is covered with a thin paper and rubbed lightly with a smooth soft stone.


The Process

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The Process


The Process

Tools & Materials In the traditional Mysore paintings, all the inputs were made by the artists, including brushes, paints, board, gold foil, etc. Instead of the poster colors and watercolors of today, vegetable and mineral colors were used. Even the base was formed of paper, wood, wall and cloth, rather than the sole cartridge paper base used now. The sketches were made with the help of charcoal, which was prepared by burning tamarind twigs in an iron tube. The brushes were made of different materials, like squirrel hair, camel hair, goat hair, etc.

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The Process

Subjects & Techniques In Mysore style of paintings the most popular themes are Goddess Rajarajeshwari and Sri Rama Pattabhishekam, Kodandarama, Dashavathara, Chamundeshwari apart from Lakshmi and Saraswathi, the coronation of Sri Rama  (Rama pattabhisheka), wedding of Shiva and Parvati (Girijakalyana), Sri Rama with bow and arrows (Kodanda-Rama), Sri Krishna with his foster mother (Yashoda-Krishna) and the goddess Chamundeshwari, the family deity of the Mysore royal house. Occasionally portraits of the king and his family were painted. 19th century Mysore artists created paintings of Hindu Myths, Gods and epic heroes as well as scenes of court life and battle. Though the subjects were religious and mythological, the models were from real life.


The Process

The figures have features like fish shaped eye, round protruded chin, typical Mysore royal hairdo and drapping style in sarees, depiction of royal jewellery, rounded face, Mysore turban. They depict sugarcane as bow and arrow in the pictures of Raja Rajeshwari. The foot of goddesses is placed on flower in order to show the respect. And the architectural backgrounds of many paintings are faithful copies of the architectural features of the Mysore palace. There are many paintings in which the subjects they have shown are based on shlokas that are mentioned in the book named “Devatahanama kusumamanjari” written by the king of Mysore “Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar”. “Krishna Sakhis” is the example of painting in which the backside of the figure is shown. Another example “Mantramayi Rama” where the artist has made the figure of Shri Rama, in which they have made the outline by writing Rama in Kannada. Schematic themes of Tirupati, Sringapatna, Kanchipuram, Srikakulam, Kalhasti etc. provided the base for the paintings in earlier times.

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The Process

Influences on Mysore Painting Raja Ravi Varma’s Influence: Raja Ravi Varmahas influencedand inspired generations of artists from different streams in India. He was the first artist to cast the Indian Gods and mythological characters in natural earthy surroundings using an European realism; a depiction adopted not only by the Indian “calendar-art” spawning ubiquitous images of Gods and Goddesses, but also by literature and later by the Indian film industry affecting their dress and form even today. Raja Ravi Varma influenced some of the Mysore Artists to some extent. The artists tried to bring the raja Ravi Verma style realism in the Mysore paintings. They have tried to reproduce Ravi Varma’s painting in Mysore style.

Other Cultural Influences: During the end part of 19th and in the beginning part of 20th century the introduction of the Graeco-Roman model of European art brought about a change in public attitudes and tastes, which caused some traditional Mysore painters to undertake a complete change in the form and technique of their paintings.

The figurative style became more realistic under the European influence, developing a three-dimensional representation of subject matter based upon the principles of

perspective, anatomy and proportion. This caused consternation among some groups who felt that the very essence of the Mysore tradition– formal and icon-like figures of gods and goddesses that could be worshipped – was lost. However, others argued that the introduction of realistic techniques could actually serve to enhance the devotional aspect of the traditional Mysore style, as the deities would be brought to life through the new techniques and thus the paintings would have greater impact upon the viewer.


The Process

There are three elements of Mysore Painting: Indo- European Style Architecture: European pediments. European Elements: Indian Gods and Goddesses sitting on French chair, European treatment of Clouds and Landscape, clock, candles, Angles, Chandelier. This is brought up because of Tipu Sultan’s relation with French. Recurring Themes in several paintings: The typical way Mysore Saree is drapped, attitude on the faces of figures just like Mysore Maharanis, throne with seven steps, entire Mysore tradition and culture.

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Artist Interaction

Artist Interaction


Artist Interaction

Sri B.P. Ramakrishna Bom in 1940 in the erstwhile Mysore state, Sri B. P Ramakrishna is the son of late Puttanarasi and late Thimmamma. Hailing from the merchant community, he is a selftaught artist of the traditional Mysore School of Painting. He is one of the few accomplished artists who does not belong to the traditional Chitragar families of the Kshatriya Raju class. His source of inspiration all along has been his sister late Padma, who was an amateur artist. Sri Ramakrishna dabbled with landscapes and watercolours before perfecting the Mysore style of paintings. During his self learning he took expert guidance from late K.V Seetharaman and Sri Ram regarding the finer aspects of colour mixing and gold gesso work. Sri Ramakrishna is well versed with the Sri Tattva-nidhi, an 18th century pictorial digest of ancient lore learning, which is an encyclopedia furnishing information compiled from Itihasa, Tantra, Agama, Shilpa and Jyotishya. Sri Ramakrishna is an expert who can reproduce old masterpieces to perfection with a high degree of skill, he can produce the ri tone mentioned in ancient texts by mixing the earth colours used in this style and has perfected the art of gesso work.

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Artist Interaction

Carrying forward this languishing art form since almost last 3 decades, he has received the unstinting support from his family, both his sons Naveen and Ashwini are budding artists. He attributes his success to the encouragement and blessings of his mother and the silent support of his wife Smt Rangalakshmi. This shy and retiring artist never seeking publicity has participated only in a couple of exhibitions at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore and Mysore Dasara Exhibitions His majestic and divine painting of goddess of learning Saraswathi bagged the first prize at 1997 Dasara Exhibition. He has also received recognition in the 1999 & 2000 Dasara Festivals. He received the Best Craftsperson of the Year Award’ instituted by Ramsons Pratishtana and Rotary Mysore for the year 1998. The same year he was honoured by Sri Sushmeendra Teertha, Pontiff of Raghavendra Mutt, Mantralaya for his services rendered in reviving this little known art fom.

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Introduction

Cultural Origin

The word Mysore is a corrupted version of “mysooru”, which is derived from the word “mahishur” or “Mahishasurana Ooru”, which means the town of Mahishasura in Kannada, the local language.

Mysore has been associated with the Puranic story found in the Devi Bhagavatha. According to the story in the Devi Purana, Mysroe was ruled by the demon Kind Mahishasura. Mahishasura was a buffalo-headed

monster. In response to the prayer by the Gods and Goddesses to save them from the demon, Goddess Parvathi, took birth as Chamundeshwari and killed the monster on top of the Chamundi hill near


Artist Interaction

Interacting with Mr. Ramakrishna was a wonderful experience. His humbleness and dedication towards the art is noteworthy. Simplicity and tradition reflect in his work. He cares more about keeping the artform alive than worry about his daily needs. His love for the artwork grew during his early childhood days. This great artist produces masterpieces alongwith his son in a relatively small workstation. It was a wonderful experience meeting him.

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Artist Interaction

Artist Interaction


Artist Interaction

Sri Ashwin Born 1978, Son of artist B.P. Ramakrishna, was fascinated by the artform at an early age. His interest in the art grew everyday. He started helping his father in his workshop at age 20 and has been self-employed as an artist of the traditional style of mysore painting. He works with his artist father in their workshop and says he loves doing every bit of the paintings and his interest is evergrowing in the artform. Mr. Ashwin is 38 now and a proud father of a seven year old child. When asked he states that although the child has started showing some interest towards the art there will never be any pressure on him to continue their legacy, he will have the freedom to choose what he wants for himself.

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SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

Strengths * Unique form of art. * Stable demand in the market. * Gesso work uniques to this artform. * Artform of the royal family. * Rich in history.

Weaknesses * Little known art form. * Very few practicing artists of the traditional method. * The industry is witnessing high number of middle men pouring in which harms the profit margin of the artists. * Counterfeit paintings are being sold in the market in the name of original art.


SWOT Analysis

Opportunities * Experimentation with themes and motifs. * Potential for export marketing. * Self-employment opportunities. * Passing on the artform to the coming generation.

Threats * Design limitations due to reliance on traditional themes. * Counterfeit paintings available in the market. * Very few traditional method artists practicing.

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Conclusion

Conclusion


Conclusion

Till date there are Indian art admirers and lovers from all over the world who are strongly attracted towards the primitive Mysore Art. Its powerful magnetism continues to a lasting impact on them. The artform is unique and so are the techniques. Mastering the artform demands patience and hours of hardwork and determination. It is upon the coming generation to keep this dying artform alive in its traditional form and continue the legacy of Raja Krishna Raja Wodeyar.

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References

References * Handmade in India, M.P. Ranjan * http://www.dsource.in/resource/mysore-painting * http://www.mysore.org.uk/mysore-art.html


The Soul

Prasenjit Singha

In pursuit of the Infinity From the green roots of Assam comes a curious creature with diverse cultural experiences. Deeply rooted in imagination and music, I live for experiences. Good food is my ultimate necessity to thrive and cultural exploration a hobby. Mysuru was a short and soulful experience, the neatness of the city ashtonished me. The royal connections of this city is noteworthy, so is the traditional artform of Mysore School of Art.

Designing Life

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National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru C.A. Site #21, Sector-1,27th Main, HSR Layout Bangalore-560102

Mysore Traditional Painting  

craft cluster documentation

Mysore Traditional Painting  

craft cluster documentation

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