Thanjavur’s Gilded Gods: South Indian Paintings in the Kuldip Singh Collection review: A rich inheritance

With material on all aspects of Thanjavur paintings, from design, colours, the use of gold leaf to conservation, this collection is a treasure

The style of art called ‘Thanjavur paintings’, found in most South Indian homes, is extremely popular, but has hardly been well understood. This genre of art which is essentially religious broadly comprises two essential themes: the first being scenes from the epics and the puranas as depicted on the walls and pillars of temples, and secondly, images of deities consecrated inside temples, particularly of popular ones such as Srirangam and Tirumala. Portraits of kings, who were the patrons of these artists, as well as priests and ordinary individuals also find a place in these paintings.

This book highlights the rare collection of three hundred paintings which includes reverse-glass works and a few lithographs belonging to Kuldip Singh, an architect and town-planner, who began his journey as an art collector, 40 years ago in South India. The majority of the works in this book are from the 19th to the early 20th century.

Drawing from murals

Anna L. Dallapiccola mentions that the artists of the Thanjavur paintings used the important aspects of the murals of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Nayak era in Tamil Nadu which included ‘simple layout, imposing figures, clear outlines and, above all, a vibrant palette.’...Read more


Source web page: The HinduThanjavur Gilded Gods, Paintings

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