Thanjavur paintings Thanjavur paintings basically signify paintings created using a style and technique, which originated in Thanjavur during the Maratha period in the 16th century. A typical Thanjavur painting would consist of one main figure, a deity, with a well-rounded body & almond shaped eyes. This figure would be housed in an enclosure created by means of an arch, curtains etc. The painting would be made by the gilded and gem-set technique - a technique where gold leaves & sparkling stones are used to highlight certain aspects of the painting like ornaments, dresses etc.
The painting would be bleft and colourful and breathtakingly beautiful. The impact in a darken room is that of a glowing presence. While most of the paintings would depict the Child Krishna and his various pranks, paintings of other deities were also created. Over a period of time changes have occurred in the stylization - for example, the figures are no longer round. Presiding deities of various famous temples are also being depicted in the paintings. The technique is now more in use than the style.
How Thanjavur (Tanjore) Paintings are made
Thanjavur Paintings are made on canvasses. The Canvas for a Thanjavur painting is usually a plank of wood (originally wood of the Jackfruit tree was used, now it's plywood) over which a layer of cloth is pasted with Arabic gum. The cloth is then evenly coated with a paste of limestone and a binding medium and let to dry.
The canvas is now ready for painting. The artist then draws a detailed sketch of the painting on the canvas. A paste, made of limestone and a binding medium, is used to create 3D effect in embellishing and ornamenting the theme using a brush.
Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are used in selected areas like pillars, arches, thrones, dresses, etc. The shine and glean of the gold leaves used by the Thanjavur style paintings lasts forever. Finally, colours are applied on the sketch. In the past, artists used natural colours like vegetable dyes, whereas the present day artists use chemical paints which enhance the sharpness and provide better shade contrasts.