PAHARI ART

    

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ISBN No. 978-93-81200-03-2

 

Compositional aspects of Pahari art

Every school of art has its compositional distinctions. So Pahari schools of art have their own compositional attributes and characteristics.
Though Pahari schools of art were born out of Rajasthani paintings and Persian miniature paintings, the compositional balance of Pahari painting is different to the compositional balance of Rajasthani schools and Persian schools of miniature paintings, though there are certain similarities.
Mughal paintings and Persian paintings, except when making portraits, are not so foreground oriented.
"Pahari paintings" except in certain cases are mainly foreground oriented. The principal figures are placed more or less in foreground of the composition except in some court scenes, and even then the setting is different.
There is difference in the division space too, and the horizon is often in a curve line in Pahari paintings, when it is depicted.
This is due to a phenomenon in reality. If you look at the horizon flanked by hills from the valley, (for example Kangra valley) the horizon does look curved.
Undoubtedly the artists who created those original compositions noticed this and often painted the horizon in this way.
The desire to fill in as many details as possible in the miniature format left the factor of suggestively unexplored in Pahari schools of art.
For me, suggestively as a compositional factor is important, but here we find that the artists did perhaps not even think of this factor, of suggestivity which makes the blank space eloquent.
The orientation of the angle of appreciation of the viewers influence the artists, especially when they have to sell their art works and the people who bought and buy the Pahari miniatures, expect a set format that is filled in with the maximum amount details without any room for suggestivity.
Colour plays an important role in compositions, and the arrangement of contrasting colours is important in the layout of Pahari paintings.
The paintings are in opaque tempera technique, so colours flowing into one another creating a merging effect that we find in water colours is not found here.
The artists carefully chose the colours that created pleasant contrasts. Monsoon clouds instead of merging into one another were painted in flat shades of grey and black, one overlapping the other.
The paints were and are very often applied in an uniformly flat manner reminding of poster colour compositions but by the excellency of the decorative motifs the lyrical beauty imparted by the decorative pieces even with the flat application of colour by far exceeds the appeal of colour composition of posters.
Pahari miniature proves that flat application of colour can effectively create an aesthetic appeal at times. I have noted that the quality of the works varied immensely due to the individual skills of the artists practicing this form of art.
These paintings on miniature formats with so many details are ment to be observed from close quarters. A magnifying glass is a great help when appreciating and discovering details of Pahari paintings.
It is important to note that borders are a part of the painting composition in Pahari paintings.
The decorative nature of these art works indicate that the paintings would look incomplete without the borders.

Prabal Pramanik
(from the published book "My views on Pahari paintings")
ISBN No. 978-93-81200-03-2

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The articles presented here are from the published book "My views on Pahari paintings" by Prabal Pramanik published by M/s Orient Book Company. These articles are original. These articles are not compilations made from other articles and no chapter or portion of these articles have been taken from any other published work.
These articles are from my own published work, with ISBN number, and these are copyright reserved.
Anyone found to print or publish or use in any form in the internet or in print media these articles or portions from these articles without the prior written permission of the author and publisher will be liable to pay damages to the author and publisher.
The pictures displayed here are by artists who have passed away more than fifty years ago. According to international copyright act, art works and written matter become public domain, fifty years after the death of the artist and the writer.
This website has been created for the benefit of art lovers and for those who want to appreciate Pahari art paintings
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