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© Samara Art Gallery 

Vimal Tower, 7 Gadhvi Society, Nr. Eeshita Tower, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, 380014. India

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Mysore Kalam

A traditional South Indian style of artwork hallmarked by its work of gold. The use of vegetable colors and semi-precious stones employed in their creation allow these works to stay resplendent over time.

Mysore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting that originated in and around the town of Mysore in Karnataka. They are known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail, with the technique tracing back to ancient times. The themes for most of these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. This ancient technique is not practiced by many, and these beautiful creations can no longer be replicated to the exacting quality of the past, with artists slaving over their works until the expressions depicted were perfect.

This work is called “kalam” because brushes made of Neem are employed to create these artworks, alongside vegetable dyes, semi-precious stones, wood, gold and silver. The ancient painters in Mysore prepared their own materials with colours made from natural sources of vegetables, minerals, leaves, stones and flowers. Due to the long-lasting quality of the colours used, the original Mysore paintings still retain their freshness and lustre even today.

Mysore Paintings are characterized by delicate lines, intricate brush strokes, graceful delineation of figures and the discreet use of bright vegetable colours and lustrous gold leaf. More than mere decorative pieces, the paintings are designed to inspire feelings of devotion and humility in the viewer. The painters skill in giving expressions are an important focal point of these paintings.

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