Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Coronation Paintings

There are pictorial records apart from royal murals that show the king Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar being seated on the Golden throne which is a part of the coronation rituals marking the first Durbar of the newly coronated king.

The photograph of the painting shows the coronation of boy King Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in 1799 at the Kote Venkatramana Temple. In the painting, Dewan Purnaiah is seen on the right side of the king who is seated on the throne.  To the left of king, Lt.Col. Wellesly is seen seated. The throne itself seems flush to the level of the raised platform.

Incidentally, the  Devatanama Kusumamanjari, a Sanskrit work written during the reign of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in 1859 in verse form is laudatory and  there is  mention of the various attributes of the throne. The verses about the throne also mention the  mystical  and magical powers that exude an aura around the throne. These powers prevent one who is not worthy from ascending the throne. This is a lithographic book probably printed in the lithographic press called Sri Jagadamba Press situated in the Jaganmohan Palace premises. The book is profusely illustrated with Mysore style line drawings. Some artists seems to have coloured some copies of this book later.

The twenty third Maharaja of the Wodeyar dynasty was selected from the Bettada-Kote Ursu clan who was christened as Chamaraja Wodeyar X and he was ritually coronated on  23 Sep. 1868 when Mysore state was under British Rendition which ended in 1881.

This is a magnificent Mysuru style miniature depicting the coronation of Chamarajendra Wadiyar X in the old wooden palace of Mysuru. Also seen are the royal animals, carriages and palanquin. On the left side of the throne is seated the British Resident and State Officers, on the right side is Aliya Lingaraja Urs who played a significant role during the Regency of Vanivilasa Sannidhana. Artist: Venkatasubbu. Image courtesy: Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Mysuru.

-  R.G. Singh
Secretary, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana
You can read a complete version of this article here.

Wadiyar Portraits in Mysuru Style

Commemorative coronation photographs and paintings occupied a singular place in the pictography of the nobility. Portraits were usually commissioned to commemorate special events. One such important event was the Coronation. 
The portrait apart from its status as keeper of memories, was also, for the Wadiyar kings as it was rulers elsewhere across the country, an essential part of the accouterments of the Blue-blooded nobility and the wealthier merchant classes.
Raghu Dharmendra, curator of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP) mentions in his dissertation, ‘Portraiture – In Surapura and Mysore Paintings - a Comparative Study,’ that at least a 1000 portraits of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar existed many painted in oils, inlaid work that used ivory, silver relief portraits apart from early daguerreotype photographs as well as lithographic prints.
The tradition of painting historical events continues to this day. The last scion of the Royal House of Mysuru, the Late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar along with his sisters and their husbands has been painted as several individual portraits by M. Ramanarsayya, the former Superintendent of Jaganmohan Palace.
It is with the intention of keeping this tradition alive, that Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP) first commissioned artist K.S. Shreehari in 2014 to paint a classical portrait in the Mysore style of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar based on the photographs of 2013 Navaratri Khas Darbar.
This was followed by commissioning artist Manish Verma to recreate a Mysore style painting using a photograph of the Sri Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar. 
This classic Mysore style portraiture shows the king accoutered in his royal vestments and Mysore peta adorning his head while his posture follows the classic from that can be seen in many of the portraits of the present king’s ancestors. He is seated on the silver Bhadrasana which suggests that he has just been invested with the (symbolic) royal authority of Mysore Kingdom, the Maharaja of Mysore. 
-R.G. Singh
Secretary, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana
This is an edited version of an article that appeared in 'Star of Mysore' on 27 May 2015. You can read the complete article here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Traditional Paintings - Article in Alekhya

Paintings of KS Shreehari

Following paintings of Sri K.S. Shreehari are in the collection of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana.

Mahisha Mardini. The painting is a rare depiction of slaying of Chanda, Munda, Raktabeeja and Mahishasura by Devi Mahalakshmi in the presence of her younger sister Jwalamalini Tripura Sundari.

Saraswati. 1996. 51cm x 71 cm

Lakshmi Narasimha. 2012. 38 cm x 48 cm

Raja Rajeshwari

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family of Traditional Artists

Tirupalli Raju

K. Venkataraman
student of Tirupallayya

K.V. Seetaraman
son of K. Venkataraman

Sri K.S. Shreehari
son of K.V. Seetaraman

This four generation of artists are custodians of the traditional Mysore style painting; they hail from T. Narasipura, Mysore district in Karnataka, a town at the confluence of the rivers Kaveri (Cauvery), Kapila (Kabini) and an unseen legendary Sphatika Sarovara.

Sri K.S. Shreehari

Tirupalli Raju was a master artist who decorated the temple of Nanjangud with murals during the late 19th century.  Possibly, he could be the descendent of Tirupalayya, one of the painters who worked under Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar's patronage.  One among his apprentice trainees was K. Venkataraman of Tirumakudlu Narasipur on the banks of Kapila-Kaveri about 30 kms from Mysore City.  His father Kullaiyya Raju was also a painter.  After serving under the master for several years and acquiring sufficient expertise, Venkataraman returned to T. Narasipur and started his avocation.  But from what we learn, his talents did not get due recognition and patronage. His son K.V. Seetharaman though inherited this art was not much of a success because of the loss of interest in these traditional paintings in the public and the family went into bad times. It was his son Shreehari who tried to revive and establish the family heritage in a more concrete manner.

K.S. Shreehari was born on 12.01.1968 at T. Narasipur.  Being a graduate from the University of Mysore, he had his own dreams and ambitions but could not achieve any of them due to adverse economic factors.  Meanwhile people started evincing greater interest and even pride in this noble heritage, thus creating a demand and also a market for these paintings.  This enabled Shreehari to come into the focus of art lovers.  Commissions for these paintings started coming in.

Apart from the subjects like Raja Rajeshwari, Sri Rama-pattabhisheka, Kodandarama, Tripuraasura Samhaara, 32 forms of Ganesha and familiar themes of traditional painters of Mysore, Shreehari proved his expertise in the paintings of such exotic themes like a zigzag puzzle like 'Panchanaari-Turaga', i.e., figure of horse comprising five female figures and 'Navanaari-Kunjara' i.e., figure of elephant comprising nine female figures.  Another work given below entitled 'Virata Vishwaroopa' testifies to his eye for minutest details and a fecund imagination, it represents a form of Vishnu embodying the entire universe with all its animate and inanimate objects.

In recognition of his service to traditional painting, Shreehari received the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya Vishwakarma award of the craft council of Karnataka in 1994 and Rotary Ramsons Kala Pratishtana award for the best craftsperson in 1996.

He is a recipient of Mysore Dasara Art Exhibiton's first prize in Traditional art for years 1986, 89, 90, and 93. Apart from his participation in various traditional painting workshops held at Honnavara, Nagpur, Mysore, and Gwalior, he has held one man exhibitions at ANZ Grindlays Bank Art Gallery and Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery, Bombay. His artistic masterpieces adorn the Karnataka Lalithakala Academy, Bangalore, South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur, Ravindra Niketana, Tumkur, Taj Hotels at Bombay and Madras and Museum of Sacred Art, Belgium. Ramsons Kala Pratishtana of Mysore has a major collection of Shreehari's paintings.

His private patrons are Dr. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala (D.K.), Dr. Saryu Doshi, Bombay, Dr. Norman Sjoman, Canada.  Rajasaheb of Nabha, New Delhi, His Highness Maharaja Virabhadrasinhji of Bhavanagar, Maharajkumar Vishnudevji of Dharmapur, Maharaj Kumar Girirajsinhji of Gondal and Mr. Alain Grandlcolas, France. Thus his works have become collectors' items in both India and abroad and thus he has created for himself a good number of admiring lovers of art.
 -BVK Sastry 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Article on Mysore Style

Saritha Rao Rayachoti has written an article on Mysore style paintings. You can read it at her blog here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Artist Girija M

Mr. Shoaib Khan has written in his blog about artist Girija of Mysore who paints in Mysore style. You can read about her here.