Tanjore Painting


This school of paintings originated in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, south of India during the 16th Century. This style and technique of painting is well known for its vibrant color and splendor. Hindu mythology is the common theme for this kind of  paintings. The paintings are notable for their adornment in the form of semi-precious stones, pearls and 22 carat gold foil.


The Art has undergone quite a bit of change, not in the style of painting , but mostly in the use of materials . New techniques have been developed by artists to keep this art form alive. Chalk powder and synthetic pasting materials have replaced traditional materials. Acrylic paints have replaced vegetable dye. Earlier the stones used were diamonds , rubies and emeralds but now, using semi-precious stones seems to be more reasonable. The use of pure 22/24 carat gold foil still continues.           


The creation of this painting involves a lot of dedication and meticulous hard work. The first step is to prepare the board for the painting. A plywood is covered with muslin white cloth, pasted with multi-purpose glue. Then this cloth is evenly coated with the paste of chalk and the glue mixture and let to dry. It might need a number of coating before it is ready to be sanded lightly. The next step is to draw or sketch the appropriate drawing in detail. A paste, made of limestone or (chalk) and a binding medium( Fevicol or Elmer's multi-purpose glue), is used to create 3D effect in embellishing and ornamenting. Gold leaves and semi-precious stones of varied hues are used in selected areas like pillars, arches, jewellery and dresses, etc. The shine and gleam of the gold foils used by the Tanjore style paintings last forever.

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