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Paintings of Kerala

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Paintings of Kerala

Kerala has an exclusive tradition as its own for its painting. Sculptures and painting of the temples here are clear evidences for that. The paintings of Triunandikara in Kanyakumari district and Thiruvanchikulam, which was finished during the period of 9th to 12th years, are some of the demonstrations for living specimens of Kerala painting culture.

Most of the paintings that we can see today are belonging to the period from the 15th century and it is definitely a continuation of the painting in the pre-historic time span. The painting found in Edakkal in Wayanad and Perumkadavila in Trivandrum belongs to the Mesolithic period.

Paintings seen in temples were performed using natural colors. They were done on the walls and upper surfaces, depicting individual features from Hindu Purana. There are a couple of rock paintings have can be seen in some areas of Kerala. Several innovative ideas here applied encompassing materials used. Kerala, popularly called the God’s Own Country, has a rich custom of ancient paintings. Just as the paintings of Ajanta are advised unique in their color and form, the paintings of Kerala stand out for their emphasis on attractiveness, clarity and symmetry. These predominantly depict devout and mystic themes.

Mural Painting in Kerala


Herbal vegetable dye, fruit extracts, minerals and chemicals extracted from the earth, roots, stones and such natural components are used for making the murals. Brushes for painting on the wall are made of the cutting-edges of certain types of grass and the root of some trees. Sharpened bamboo parts are used to draw the outlines of the paintings.

Entirely, Kerala system of mural painting with its focus on dramatic scene elaborate costume and memorable gestures of figure in intimate relation with each other, would seem to be aligned to the living performing art  Koodiyattom, Kathakali and other types of theater of fantasy. They for the corpus of a distinctive school of decorating developed by experts in pictorial form who could recreate importance of conflict, the rush of the gods, the ecstasy of love, the grace of the goddesses, the pain of parting and the joy of reunion in the grand manner of the large Indian custom of wall paintings.

Raja Ravi Varma - A Prince Among Painters and A Painter Among Princes


Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was born in Kilimanoor Palace as the son of Umamba Thampuratti and Ezhumavil Neelakandan Bhattathiripad. At the age of seven years he has begun drawing on the castle walls utilizing charcoal. His uncle Raja Raja Varma noticed the talent of the kid and provided preliminary courses on painting. At the age of 14, Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja took him to Travancore palace and he was trained water painting by the palace painter Rama Swamy Naidu. After 3 years Theodor Jenson, a British painter trained him in oil painting.

Most of his oil paintings are based on Hindu epic tales and characters. In 1873 he won the First reward at the Madras Painting exhibition. He became a world famous Indian painter after winning in the 1873 Vienna painting exhibition. Many of his oil paintings are classic and his exclusive Indian themes have later influenced artists and designers worldwide.

K. C. S. Panicker


Panicker was an expert in evolving new signs in abstract painting. Many of the new generation painters were leveraged by his outlooks and procedures. KCS Panicker endeavored to explore his own mural style paintings, rather than of following western styles.
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