Kalighat Paintings refer to the class of paintings and drawings on hand-made or more usually on machine-made paper produced by a group of artists called. 8 Aug Kalighat Paintings is a form of Indian modern art that is inspired by religious and mythological characters as well as civil life. Bengali scroll paintings and approximately Kalighat paintings and hand- of 80 Kalighat paintings from the V&A collections, toured Indian venues in.

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Lady with a Peacock Figure 3: Retrieved from ” https: Pets and other animals such as cats, fish, lobsters, prawns, birds etc. When German traders found that these pictures had a very great sale throughout the country—for they were sold in thousands all over India—they imitated them and sent back glazed and coloured lithographed copies which flooded the country and drowned the original hand-painted pictures.

The patuas therefore started painting single pictures involving just one or two figures that could be painted quickly with simple forms leaving the background plain klighat eliminating non- essential details. Not being able to cope with the competition of machine-made productions cheaper than hand-drawn and hand painted pictures selling at two or four pice each, their children have now taken to other professions. The main distinguishing facet of the Kalighag paintings is the motifs used in them.

This subject was also reproduced many times in Kalighat paintings. This, however, has played a great role in widening the scope of its reception and bringing it to younger people whose interest lies more in unique fashion than in modern art forms.

The charm of the Kalighat paintings lies in the fact that they captured the essence of daily life and they influence modern artistes like the late Jamini Roy even to this day.


Amongst the deities, Kali was the favourite which was quite reasonable and apart paingings that Shiva in the form of Panchanan or sitting along with Parvati on Nandi or carrying Sati, Lakshmi herself or in the form of Gajalakshmi or Chandi as Kamalekamini, Durga as Mahishasur mardini, and other gods and goddesses like Kartikeya, Ganesha, Saraswati, Jagadhatri etc all were the popular themes of Kalighat paintings. The Kalighat patuas painted stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in a quite fashionable way.

W G Archer finally concluded that the final phase of Kalighat paintings ceased to exist after about Nabin Kills Elokeshi Figure 6: From the depiction of Hindu gods, godand other mythological characters, the Kalighat paintings developed to reflect a variety of themes.

West Bengal portal Category. Such prints were then hand coloured. Their paintings depicting different professions and costumes were also popular with the tourists.

Kalighat painting – Wikipedia

The Oriental Kalighat paintings depict gods, goddesses, mythological characters as well as scenes from religious Hindu texts. Due to this, there are two types of Kalighat paintings that one can klighat, Oriental and Occidental.

During s, Shyamakanta Banerjee became famous 1 for wrestling with tigers while performing in circuses.

One of the earliest pieces of description on Kalighat paintings by Ajit Ghose 2 is also worth to be mentioned here. Jyotindra Jain, the famous art historian and museologist, however has different opinion regarding the artist behind Kalighat paintings.

Silvery and golden colours were also used for ornamentation.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kalighat painting. Initially these artists kalihhat concentrated around the temple at Kalighat where there was a demand for religious art.

Only for ornamentation would artisans use silver and gold. Hence emerged two different styles of the Kalighat painting, the Oriental, and the Occidental, both of which were popular in the country.

Today the practice of Kalighat paintings still continues in the villages of Bengal where the rich traditions are proudly being carried out by the patuas which are being handed down through the generations. The theme of these paintings were mostly mythological characters that later evolved to civil life in Calcutta along with other secular and contemporary themes.


Kalighat painting

The exact date of beginning the activities of the patuas at Kalighat is difficult to trace 3,4 as there are no historical documents about the origin. What is interesting about the Kalighat paintings is that an entire family would be involved in the creation of the piece.

Another theme depicted, dear to the Bengali ethos, was that of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his disciples. Inthe Tarakeshwar murder case 1,5,10 was a public scandal in Calcutta based on an affair between Elokeshi, the young attractive wife of Nabinchandra Banerji and the mahant or chief priest of the Shiva temple at Tarakeshwar.

Kalighat Paintings: A review – The Chitrolekha Journal on Art and Design

These paintings were done on cloth or patas. The Calcutta School of Art was one such school and attracted traditional artists—the patuas—to the city.

The interesting thing in Kalighat painting was the presence of Islamic icons. Kalighat paintings are now on exhibit across the globe, right from Britain to Prague to Philadelphia.

Kalighat Paintings- Modern Art Inspired by Life in Kolkatta

In order to increase the customer base for their art form, the patuas moved to the urban center of Calcutta. According to Mukul Dey 8 the method of drawing, was very simple and a family affair. All the images used here are from Wikipedia and Wikimedia websites.