If you think the answer is lakes, then my friend you guessed it wrong. Most of the people in the city believe that Udaipur is famous for its beautiful lakes, but there is an art that is exclusive to the city and has the maximum number of artists of the same. By maximum number I literally mean quite a huge number, you can find these artists in every alley of the old city. And not just confined to the old city, many art galleries showcase a variety which is located outside a set circumference.
Well, Udaipur-the City of Lakes is famous for its Miniature Art, not only in India but also overseas.
Know what Miniature Art is and How it’s Made
Each creation takes from a couple of days to weeks to design depending on the detailing and size of artwork. The paintings are made with true stone colors. The powder is mixed with water and gum. To check if the color mix is ready to be used for art, it needs to be touched with a finger to see if it doesn’t stick back which confirms that the color is mixed well. It can then be used for painting on silk cloth or canvas. Black colors are derived from soot which is obtained from vessels put over chulhas fireplace used for cooking in villages. Gum doesn’t mix very quickly with these stone colors hence some laborious mixing is needed to develop them into colors apt for painting.
The making of a miniature painting involves some critical steps:
Done in reddish-brown ink, on paper.
Once the sketch is done, the design is drawn on the main paper or canvas.
After coloring and shading, the outlines of the object, as delineated in the initial sketch, are reconfirmed by a darker tone and the figures are given a well-finished form.
Stippling is the process of softly stroking or shading by using small dots with a very fine brush.
History Of the Miniature Art
The most excellent examples of painting belong to the first half of the 16th century, represented by a group of miniatures generally named as the “Kulhadar Group.” This group includes illustrations of the ‘Chaurapanchasika’ – “Fifty Verses of the Thief by Bilhan, the Gita Govinda, and the Bhagavata Purana and Ragamala. The style of these miniatures is marked by the use of brilliant contrasting colors, dynamic and angular drawing, and transparent drapery.
The miniature painting art form is famed across the world, but in the Asian subcontinent art, historians consider Rajasthan to be one of its cultural centers. Historians believe the Mughals to be the importers of miniature painting to India from Persia. Humayun’s team of Persian artists established the foundation of miniature art painting, while Akbar gave them patronage and had them train Indian artists to create art representing the royal Mughal life.
Featuring an Eminent Artist of Miniature
Suchitra Soni is one prominent artist in Udaipur, who has been painting for more than a decade, says that the art is mostly liked by foreigners and people who are new to this art form. She adds that this art-form requires intensive efforts and dedication as it is an intricate form of art. The art also involves using of 24 karat gold water and color that adds value to the painting. She works under the name ‘Artistaan’ (formerly Winning Spirit) and values her art a lot. She has exhibited her work at various national and international galleries as well.
We visited her place, and undeniably it was a home of an artist. She also deals with Canvas making and several other forms of painting. The whole room, where she works, was filled with the aroma of colors and we could spot so many types of brushes and other drawing material. She also told us about the various forms of Miniature Art and how on the different variety of paper and ivory sheet or silk cloth the paintings are made. The brushes used are also very distinct from the usual ones and have very fine points or tips.
Upon querying about the time consumed to make an average size Miniature Art, she told us that it takes around 2-3 weeks to do the detailing while it may take a month or so to make a painting that requires intricate work.
Her conviction in her art is immense, and she runs classes of the same to teach the new generation about this ancient form of art.
Watch some of her art below: