Tanjore Paintings and Arts
The world famous Tanjore paintings, painted on wood, glass, mica, ivory and on walls, are characterized by the use of primary colors, with stylized modeling effects by shading the inside of the contours. Jewels, drapery and architectural elements like finely executed pillars, rich canopies, garlands of ropes and chandeliers are slightly raised by the use of special plaster, covered with pure gold leaf and embedded with semi-precious stone of different hues. Painting on ivory, mica, and the more difficult genre of glass paintings, were all introduced in the 18th century. Whereas the religious paintings are highly decorative and flat, the paintings of the women are highly stylized with an element of reality infused in the portraits.
Tanjore or Thanjavur as it is called today acquired its name from the ancient pronunciation of the place, which was then called "Thanjavoor". It was then the capital of the mighty
Chola Empire. The Chola rulers besides being great warriors were builders of magnificent temples and great patrons of arts. It was against this setting that this highly
specialised form of art with its characteristically beautiful ornamental relief work flourished.
The Creation Of The Paintings
The creation of this painting involves a lot of dedication and several stages of meticulous work of art. The first step involves creating a base. The base is made of a cloth pasted over a wooden or a plywood base. Then a paste of chalk powder or zinc oxide mixed with some water-soluble adhesive is applied on the board. To create a smoother board a mild abrasive can be used.
After this begins the image making process. A preliminary sketch of the God is made on the board. After the drawing is made, decoration of the jewellery and the apparel is done with semi-precious stones. Semi-relief work is done with a paste of chalk powder and gum Arabic. Laces or threads are used to decorate the jewellery. On top of this, the gold foils are pasted. Finally, dyes are used to add vibrant colors to the figures in the paintings. A beautiful frame is then selected to accentuate the beauty of the painting. Tamil Nadu Arts
The paintings are mostly of Gods and Goddesses because this art of painting flourished at a time when fine-looking and striking temples were being constructed by rulers of several dynasties. The figures in these paintings are large and the faces are round and divine. However, with the rebirth of this art in the 20th century, artists in addition to recreating the original Tanjore figures are also experimenting with more proportioned figures, birds, flowers, animals, etc.
The paintings are notable for their adornment in the form of semi-precious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold. The rich vibrant colours, dashes of gold, semi-precious stones and fine artistic work are characteristics of these paintings. They add beauty and culture to a variety of surroundings and decor.