paintDuring the 17th and 18th centuries, Mysore established a unique and distinctive style of painting. A style which peaked during the reign of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and soon after this form of painting has become referred as Mysore School painting.

Traditional Mysore painting was done on paper pasted on cloth or wood. A sketch was made, a distinctive relief work (called gesso) was applied to the areas where jewelry and other ornaments were to be painted. These are as were then plated with 24K gold leaf before a final touch up was applied.

Once the painting was dry, a thin paper was placed on top and rubbed with a soft smooth stone to enhance the richness in the gold foiling. Historically, artists prepared their materials themselves using vegetable dye and minerals.

Mysore Mural Paintings

Mysore painting (Kannada: ಮೈಸೂರು ಚಿತ್ರಕಲೆ) is an important form of classical South Indian painting that originated in and around the town of Mysore in Karnataka encouraged and nurtured by the Mysore rulers. Painting in Karnataka has a long and illustrious history, tracing its origins back to the Ajanta times (2nd century B.C. to 7th century A.D.) The distinct school of Mysore painting evolved from the paintings of Vijayanagar times during the reign of the Vijayanagar Kings (1336-1565 AD) The rulers of Vijayanagar and their feudatories encouraged literature, art, architecture, religious and philosophical discussions. With the fall of the Vijayanagar empire after the Battle of Talikota the artists who were till then under royal patronage migrated to various other places like Mysore, Tanjore, Surpur, etc. Absorbing the local artistic traditions and customs, the erstwhile Vijayanagar School of Painting gradually evolved into the many styles of painting in South India, including the Mysore and Tanjore schools of painting.

There are a plethora of mural paintings in temples and palaces around Karnataka. These works of art are a continuous testimony to the rich painting culture of Mysore.mysore paintingsThe subject of these paintings are mostly religious in nature and are taken from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.The murals found in Srirangapatna have historical and political themes adding to their distinction and uniqueness. Less common are secular paintings based on the day-to-day life of the period.

These wonderful works can be viewed at Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery at Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore; the Maharaja’s Palace, Mysore; Daria Daulat Bagh in Srirangapatna; and the Venkatappa Art Gallery at Bangalore.

Mysore Folk art

Folk art is especially popular in Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka are performed in Mysore. Folk art or native art is a vital part of pastoral life and is handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.

mysore paintingsRemembering the importance of cultural integrity, Mysore University has introduced a museum of Folk arts to collect artifacts related to the different folk arts in Karnataka.

The folklore museum that contains representative collections of art and crafts from all over Karnataka. The museum was founded in 1968. It is located in the University of Mysore in the Manasagangothri campus in the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion.

Since its foundation the University of Mysore has contributed to study of folklore, and the museum has been developed to its present level by scholars such as P.R.Thippeswamy, Javeregowda and Jeesham Paramashivaiah. P.R.Thippeswamy brought material from all over Karnataka to increase the museum’s collection.

Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. Folk Art is characterized by a naïve style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed.

As a phenomenon that can chronicle a move towards civilization yet rapidly diminish with modernity, industrialization, or outside influence, the nature of folk art is specific to its particular culture. The varied geographical and temporal prevalence and diversity of folk art make it difficult to describe as a whole, though some patterns have been demonstrated.

As a folklore museum it not only showcases items but also elements of music, dance and drama. The University has also launched a higher educational syllabus in the subject of Folk-arts.