A visual art form made popular in India, Marble Paintings are made on marble as a base. In India, marble paintings are mostly portraits of the members of royal families and Hindu mythical figures. In vogue in north-western part of India, these paintings function as a rich decorative object of a room that gives a majestic look to the space it is kept in. Some features that can be summarized about marble paintings are:
Intricate images are drawn on this naturally beautiful stone with immense dexterity and craftsmanship.
The stones have a craggy look even after they are cut into pieces and smoothened.
The rough surface of the stone canvas gives a rugged look to the painting when colors are applied to it.
The specialty of this painting is not in its image or visual quality, but on the quality, texture and color of the marble stone used as the canvas, and hence the name given after the stone base for its primacy.
Since the name of this visual art form comes from that of a stone, this art form developed in regions where marble stones are found in abundance. To trace the genesis of the stone’s aesthetic use, we have to track the art of marbling, which flourished in the 11th century in Turkey and Rome. The purpose was mainly decorative, and later on they were used as book covers and document plates, as the later would not only cease forgery, but would also facilitate for achieving activities.
In India, this genre of painting was introduced by the Rajputs of Rajasthan in the 16th century A.D. Though the concept of the art was borrowed from the West, marble paintings gained unparallel heights in its artistry and evolved in itself as one of the most patronized artistic images.
As stones, marbles are available in innumerable colors. But for paintings to be done on it, a white or a light color is used. However, some of the visual features typically characterizing these paintings are:
Marble Paintings are a form of miniature paintings for decorative purposes.
Various substances and sources are used for coloring. They are: minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, pure gold and silver.
Although these art forms evolved under the over-arching patronage of the Rajputs, they reflect the influence of Mughal Paintings.
These paintings are not only made with vibrant colors and sketches, but are also carved to perfection, creating a three dimensional and embossed impression on the two dimensional images.
Various forms of artifacts are made with marble paintings. They are:
Wall Hangings: Wall hangings of different indigenous images are usually made with a marble stone of smaller size and of less thickness.
Furniture: Parts of furniture are decorated with marble paintings, forming integral parts of the heritage artifacts of India. Usually done with thin stones, these are attached to wooden furniture to give a traditional look to it.
Marble Paintings on Marble Plates: Marble paintings on plates serve as beautiful table top decorations and their shape of oval and round gives an aesthetic attribute to it.
Minakari Marbles: Marble paintings are often done with intricate and detailed carvings filling them up with basic yet vibrant hues like red, green, yellow, blue and black. These colors are known as mina. Golden leaves are also implemented where engravings are done. This relief work is also known as embossing. These relief works are covered with lacquer to ensure its permanence.
Marble Tile Painting: Marble has a lot of uses when it comes to decoration of one’s interiors. Marbles with dual utility of being a canvas and a tile to fit to the walls and floors at the same time have become popular to India.
The themes of marble paintings usually do not portray a lot of elements or landscape in its canvas. The main inspiration of these paintings is the spiritual and devotional movement of the -
Emphasizing on the emotional aspect of human life and thereby seeking and feeling the true meaning of life is the main essence of the Bhakti Cult. Reflections of such philosophy are depicted on the various marble paintings popular in India.
Human Love in reference to Hindu Mythology:
Love of Radha for the Hindu mythical hero Krishna is a prime subject for these paintings and therefore most of the themes are dominated by effeminate points of view.
One of the most interesting themes of these paintings is the codes of Indian classical music called the Ragas. Primarily inspired from the enchanted sounds from the nature and its animals, ragas form the base of traditional Indian song composing and are beautifully represented through the paintings.
As delineated by Bharata in his Natyashastra, the ancient Indian Sanskrit dramas portrayed and invoked in its audience some specific and calculated emotions through its enactment on stage. These emotions (eight in number) are called Rasas. These rasas, like Sriingara Rasa, Veer Rasa, Karuna Rasa and much more are beautifully created on the marble paintings attributing it with a divine look.
Most of the Rajasthani marble paintings show devotional and archetypal images which are closely knit to the Hindu culture. Legendary characters from the Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana are painted with vibrant colors with a light background. The traditional images include Bala Gopala, Gopala stealing butter, Indian mystics and saints.
Other popular themes for the Marble paintings include: