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An Introduction to Indian Art

by K.L. Kamat
Written: April 26, 2000
First Online: April 01, 2006
Page Last Updated: May 09, 2017

The Indian art and crafts have a very long history. Findings in  the Indus Valley, Harappa and Mohenjo-daro stand witness to this statement. Indians have crystallized the art forms, art production and art appreciation for more than ten thousand years. 

We see that the Indian artists have had excellent concepts of beauty, symmetry, color, strength of line and form. They studied, in detail, curvaceous female form, the harmony of rounded shapes, anatomical details of the plants and animals. The Indians have infinite number of gods, legends, lore and myths in their culture, and the artists utilized these to give them beautiful forms by creating multi-headed and armed gods and goddesses. This is how we have today exquisite dancing Shiva, bewitching Lord Krishna, portly Ganesha, serene Buddha, menacing ten-headed monsters, charming Apsaras and erotic postures which are distinctive symbols of great Indian art. The artists attained the highest standard of workmanship, skill and extraordinary imagination. The Indian artists and craftsmen have invested tremendous energy and vitality in creating the art treasure of India.

© K. L. Kamat
Lambadi Beauty
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Art is found everywhere in India.
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In India, the crafts have never been divorced from art.  The Indian homes have a place and value for articles of crafts involving art. Art is found everywhere in India. Common man has an eye for objects that have beauty and utility. They were designed in such way that they will provide enjoyment to the owner while using it. It may be an earthen pot, betel nut cracker or ornaments. art in India was never a showpiece or a museum article.

The East India Company's arrival which made room for the British rule in India changed the conception of art in India. India became an borrower of art and ideas rather than a lender. This new art became "modern" as against earlier form, "traditional art." This change brought an unnatural art style which has little relevance to the lifestyle of an average Indian. This change has came to stay and it spread. 

Today, the only way hope for  Indian artists for recognition and patronage and  is to get into the collections of wealthy and sophisticated patrons, most likely outside of India!

Articles on Indian Art

See Also:



The Arts of India
Arts of India

Romancing Couple -- Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.Man-Woman -- A piece from Salarjung MuseumA Romantic Couple, JinanathapuraGoddess Saraswati in a Tanjore style paintingMythological PaintingUse of Eagles as MessengersElephant Headed Ganesh in a Tanjore Gesso Painting
Painting on a Peepal Leaf Feeding of Lord KrishnaLord Indra riding the Airavat, the eight trunked elephantA Spectacular Mixed Metal Sculpture of ArdhanarishwaraBodhisatva with a Lotus in HandSolitary MaidenBronze Statue of a Dancer
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833)The Girl from MalabarGaruda Carrying GayatriLaxman meets Valis wife TaraCouple Rides Camel on a Sand-duneTemple on Wheels (Ratha)Hindu Mythological Figure Rawana, Leather Puppet
The Teaching of Bhagawad-GitaBlind folded Gandhari and a Maid on Balcony<br>by Nandalal BoseMan Fondles Two Women on a SwingPainted Leather Puppet of HanumanNawab and coterieNawab and a CourtierPainted Leather Puppet of Kamadhenu the Cow
Water Color Painting by Mukta VenkateshBhishma Lies on the Bed of Arrows<br>A Rangoli PaintingArt By AccidentAccidental ArtMystery Picture!Horse Pulled Cart - Painting by Jamini RoyRomance of Lord Vishnu and Wife Laxmi<br>Indian Red Mural
Bronze Statue of Shiva -- Chola Period (1000 A.D.)Way to NanjanaguduPainting of a Lion on a Ganjifa CardArt of Prehostoric ManGeometric Designs on Palm LeafA Wall Mural from KarnatakaPainting by M.F. Husain

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