Tanjore painting (also called Thanjavur painting), a classic art form hailing from southern India, is a celebration of the rich cultural and artistic tradition of the region. It is named after the Thanjavur town in Tamil Nadu, India.
These paintings are known for extravagantly depicting the deities using heavy embellishments, particularly gold foil and vibrant colors. Although the art form has gone through several changes in all these years, it is still highly popular with today's art lovers. The high demand for Tanjore paintings for sale shows that it continues to inspire generations of artists with the remarkable Indianness of its style.
So, if Tanjore paintings are the ones you want to buy for your home or office, the following information will be really handy for you.
Looking for Tanjore Paintings For Sale?
If you look at Tanjore paintings for sale online, it will help to know a couple of things about these art pieces beforehand. So, for all the details regarding the history of the paintings, the right place to buy them from, and assessing their authenticity, read on:
Ancient roots of Tanjore paintings
Tanjore paintings get their inspiration from the Indian artforms of the 16th century. This was when Vijayanagara Rayas presided over the vast kingdom in south India through their Nayaka Governors. These Nayakas happened to be great patrons of literature and art. Back in 1676, the region was under Maratha rule, and these rulers helped the art and the artist flourish. During this time, Tanjore paintings started flourishing and took on the style and form we are familiar with today.
Maratha buildings and palaces were decorated with huge paintings of deities, Maratha rulers, nobility, and courtiers. All the deities had almond-shaped eyes, rounded faces, and streamlined bodies.
The figures were painted with flat colors and compactly put inside drapes, arches, and ornate borders. This dense composition happened to be a distinct feature noticed in Tanjore paintings. Usually, the faces were shaded to bring a sensation of depth. You will notice these features even when you buy Tanjore paintings online today.
The technique used in Tanjore paintings
Antique Tanjore paintings for sale online are called 'palagi Padam,' which mean 'pictures on a wooden plank.' The name comes from the fact these paintings are usually made on boards made from teak wood or jackfruit. The usage of gold leaf embellishments and vibrant colors are chief features of these paintings, along with semi-precious and precious stones and pearls used in the decoration.
Though artists in the earlier times used mineral and vegetable dyes as natural colors for their artworks, chemical paints are predominant when you buy Tanjore paintings online nowadays.
The color palette in use has vibrant greens, blues, and reds. This vibrance, along with the dense and rich composition of the paintings, make sure that they are a stand-out part of Indian art forms. Some of the common themes noted in these paintings are Lord Rama, Bal Krishna, and other goddesses, gods, subjects, and saints from Hindu mythology.
The migrant artists of the Tanjore paintings
In the ancient days, the Naidu community of Madurai and the Raju community of Trichy and Tanjore were the artists of Tanjore paintings. The artists originally hailed from Andhra Pradesh and belonged to the Telugu-speaking part of the state. They shifted to Tamil Nadu after the Vijayanagara Empire fell. As patronage was highly important to these artists, things like the size of the paintings varied based on the patron's choices and the subject selected.
When you buy Tanjore paintings for sale online, keep in mind that the technique needs a lot of perfection and perseverance from the artists. Moreover, making the art form, which was held as a sacred responsibility, was meant to be carried out with some amount of humility and ritual purity by the expert craftsmen. Staying true to the artistic tradition of India, the artists stayed anonymous and never put their signature on the paintings.
So, it is important to remember the tradition you're bringing home when you buy Tanjore paintings online.
The difference in style between Tirupati and Tanjore paintings for sale online
Tanjore paintings draw heavily from the varied cultural groups that have patronized the art form through the years. The prominent painting styles heavily influenced it under the Vijayanagara school, such as the Tirupati and Kalamkari painting styles. Also, Tirupati paintings, made in the renowned temple town of Tirupati through the use of different techniques and media, showed different deities. Many of them were gem-set and gilded like Tanjore paintings.
Most of the reverse glass paintings, another popular genre of traditional Indian art, came from South India. It was highly influenced by these Tanjore paintings and showed religious figures in bright colors. It also had metallic foils and intricate details to add to the richness of the art.
This popular art form from Mysore has several common characteristics with tanjore paintings for sale online, which often leads to confusion between the two. For instance, both these paintings were made by artists from the Naidu and Raju communities. They have their roots in the Vijayanagara period.
Now, the styles might be a lot similar; there are major differences, such as the usage of paper as a base for Mysore paintings and the limited usage of glass beads, gold foil, and semi-precious and precious stones. The theme of Mysore paintings reflects the contemporary style that used to prevail in the Mysore Palace. Also, it showcases more elaborate landscapes, which is in contrast to the dense composition of the Tanjore paintings.
Tanjore paintings: An art form thriving against time
The rich tradition of Tanjore painting has remained alive till today, thanks to a couple of dedicated artists. When you buy Tanjore paintings online, remember that there has been a shift in synthetic colors in the artworks. Also, plywood has replaced teakwood and jackfruit.
Even today, Tanjore paintings continue to have a broader appeal. They have been extensively commercialized in today's times and can even be found in several street markets. Though the art form has managed to stand the test of time and be popular, the overall decline in quality seems disconcerting to art lovers.
However, it is heartening that training camps and workshops are being organized to make sure that this art form keeps thriving while retaining the artistic, traditional, and culture-rich elements that form the essence of the Tanjore paintings.
Where and how to find Tanjore paintings for sale online?
You can find original Tanjore paintings online these days, but you will have to know the right place to buy them from. Many places will simply sell you counterfeit products at a hefty price. So, you must check a couple of things before buying these paintings.
Materials used for the modern Tanjore paintings:
- High-quality plywood
- Original 24-carat gold foil
- Authentic Jaipur gemstone
- Shiny paints
- Chalk powder
Identifying an original Tanjore painting
When it comes to tanjore paintings for sale online, getting scammed and cheated is easier than you think. So, it is important to understand how to authenticate a Tanjore painting.
Wooden or plywood canvases:
The first thing you need to check is the canvas used for the painting. These are nothing like those modern-day sketches that you see because the work is done on wood.
Application of the tamarind-lime paste:
An innovative feature is the use of a mix made of lime and tamarind to make sure the canvas does not move anywhere while working on it. The canvas is stretched and fixed on the board using a nice combination of tamarind and lime.
Gold foil and Arabic gum:
This factor makes these paintings stand out from all the rest. The original and high-quality gold fold is used in every painting. So, if the painting you choose does not have 24-carat original gold foil, it is not the one you should purchase.
Three-dimensional shading effect:
These paintings have a three-dimensional shading effect that makes them stand out and look gorgeous. You will feel that the deities and figurines have an almost raised effect, making the paintings even more attractive. As such, do not go for a painting that does not get you that.