Rajasthani Paintings



The state of Rajasthan in India is celebrated for its rich art tradition. Rajasthani paintings, Rajasthani jewelry , architecture, sculpture, music, dance and textile work is characterized by its vibrant and colorful nature. There is certain richness in the art from this region that can perhaps be attributed to the favor it found with the royal families of the state.

It is not possible to generalize the character of Rajasthani paintings because each kingdom within this state had its unique style. However, the artists traveled from one region to another, thus imbibing the local traditions. This explains the presence of diverse influences in the Rajasthani school of painting.
Amber and Jaipur Schools

Amber had for long been the centre of Rajasthani painting. The court portraitures of this region were executed in a markedly Mughal style

In 1728, Sawai Jai Singh shifted his capital from Amber to Jaipur. Under the patronage of his successors and him, the painting of Jaipur flourished. The paintings clearly showed inheritance from the Mughal source but the bold compositions and use of abstractions were distinctly regional.

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries numerous works of art were produced that depicted episodes from the life of Krishna. Ragamala and devotional subjects also remained the popular themes of the paintings in the 19th century. These found patronage outside the Jaipur court as well.

Bikaner School

The Rajasthani paintings of Bikaner are very close to the Mughal tradition. The Muslim artists who settled here brought with them this highly refined and delicate style. Deccani paintings also had a marked influence on the Bikaner paintings. During the late 18th century, Bikaner paintings started showing conservative Rajput influence.
Hadauti Painting School

These are the paintings that hail from the regions of Kota and Bundi, in south-western Rajasthan.


One of the earliest examples of Rajasthani paintings from Bundi is the Chunar Ragamala painted in 1561. The painting shows a marked influence of the Mughal style. Other examples are the wall paintings from the reign of Rao Ratan Singh (1607-31).

During the subsequent reigns of Rao Chattar Sal (1631-58) and Bhao Singh (1658-81), Bundi paintings depicted court scenes, themes from the life of nobles, lovers, and ladies.

From the second half of the 17th century, there are three significant paintings that belong to this school of Rajasthani painting. The first one is dated 1662, and is a painting of a couple watching pigeons; the second dated 1682 depicts a couple in a pavilion, and the third dated 1689, is a portrayal of lovers viewing a crescent moon. These paintings employed bold, bright colors that were typical of the Rajasthani style. Yet, they retained the delicacy of the Mughal style.


In 1624-25, a Mughal decree led to the creation of Kota from the kingdom of Bundi.

Kota paintings were spontaneous and calligraphic in execution. They emphasized the double lidded eye, and are characterized by remarkable shading.

During the reign of Jagat Singh (1658-84), portraitures were produced that employed vibrant colors and bold lines. Under the reign of Arjun Singh (1720-23), a style emerged where a male was depicted with a long hooked nose.

In the 18th century, Kota became popular for its superb hunting scenes, Ragamalas , and portraits that often bore high documentary value.

In the 19th century during the reign of Ram Singh II (1827-66), the Kota paintings were revived. He commissioned a number of paintings that depicted scenes of worship, hunting, darbar and processions.

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