Creating a strong linear rhythm with every stroke, miniature artists discovered the true meaning of intricacy and subtlety with Mughal art. With infinite details and bold colours, these paintings have always been an interesting mix of culture and tradition. Though most of the miniature Mughal art is devoid of any realism and tends to adapt imperial themes in two-dimensions, post the Akbar era artists experimented with naturalism to a great extent. Exploring artistic freedom to a larger extent, Mughal miniature artists soon refined their traditional techniques to create a whole new genre of art. “Mughal paintings can be dated back to the 16th century. They require a lot of intricate and delicate brush work. During the Akbar era, artists developed their own unique style by infusing reality with dramatic surroundings,” said Mohan Kumar Prajapati who conducted a workshop on Mughal miniature art in the city.
Mesmerised by the vibrant composition and intense colours, as trembling hands strived to recreate the rich texture of Mughal paintings, Mohan patiently explained the importance of detailing, lines and symbolic patterns to his students. Adorned with tassels of crimson and amber, as these paintings brought to life the medieval era, every soul in the room sought solace in the flat silhouettes and moody romanticism of Mughal art. “I think it is extremely important for everyone to have the artistic freedom to express themselves. And, that is exactly what miniature artists did. Through this workshop, not only did I wish to demonstrate the techniques involved with painting miniatures but also educate people on the history of this art form. Today, Mughal miniature paintings are being created by a small number of artists in Rajasthan. It is a dying art form,” said the artist who also hoped that more and more people take active interest in learning the art of miniature.
Known for their smooth liquidity and poetic depth, the paintings employed a wide range of colours and intricate designs. They also exhibited more narrative content and bold sweeping brush strokes. In Mughal miniatures, the colour palette was derived from natural ingredients like mineral pigments, fruits, soil and lapis lazuli. In fact, the initial sketch was made using burnt wood. “Organic dyes such as indigo, conch shells, precious stones, real gold and silver were often used by artists,” he added.
Accentuating on the importance of art to our existence, Mohan said that he truly believes that every person has an artist within him.
“It is important to continuously evolve as an artist. People need to embrace the fact that art is an integral part of our lives. Hence, it is extremely important that we make sincere efforts towards preserving all our art forms, ancient or otherwise,” signed off Mohan