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Comparing Tanjore and Mysore Schools of Gesso Art

by K. L. Kamat
Written: June 1985
First Online: June 29, 2003
Page Last Updated: May 09, 2017

In southern India, two types of gesso art are found predominantly, namely the Tanjore gesso works and the Mysore gesso works, each  influenced by the other. This comparison chart of the two traditional schools of classical   Indian painting are provided to so you can appreciate the difference between their history and styles.

Tanjavur and Mysore Gesso Art
Comparing Tanjore (a.k.a. Tanjavur, on left) and Mysore style of gesso paintings

Tanjore Traditional Art

Mysore Traditional Art

Base is cloth mounted on wood. Base is paper, mounted on canvas or wood.
For gesso effects, raw lime powder with a tamarind seed paste used.

White lead (safeda), and Makhi Gaboge (yellow) taken from Revana Chinni Halu juice is used; this has a golden tint.

Gesso is applied in high relief Gesso is applied in low relief
Gold coated silver wafers are used Pure gold wafers are used
The coating is less durable The gesso work is much more long lasting
Numerous other ingredients like pearls, glass, and amber is used for embellishing Traditional works are devoid of such colorful decor.
Most depict  scenes from Hindu mythologies. Dresses and ornaments reflect period fashions, with close affinity to the Mysore kings. Architecture, designs closely resemble art found in  the palaces of Wodeyars and in old-Mysore homes.
Faces of common folk are always shown in round, while the faces of deities shown slightly elongated.

See Also:




The Arts of India
Arts of India

Romancing Couple -- Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.Man-Woman -- A piece from Salarjung MuseumA Romantic Couple, JinanathapuraGoddess Saraswati in a Tanjore style paintingMythological PaintingUse of Eagles as MessengersElephant Headed Ganesh in a Tanjore Gesso Painting
Painting on a Peepal Leaf Feeding of Lord KrishnaLord Indra riding the Airavat, the eight trunked elephantA Spectacular Mixed Metal Sculpture of ArdhanarishwaraBodhisatva with a Lotus in HandSolitary MaidenBronze Statue of a Dancer
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833)The Girl from MalabarGaruda Carrying GayatriLaxman meets Valis wife TaraCouple Rides Camel on a Sand-duneTemple on Wheels (Ratha)Hindu Mythological Figure Rawana, Leather Puppet
The Teaching of Bhagawad-GitaBlind folded Gandhari and a Maid on Balcony<br>by Nandalal BoseMan Fondles Two Women on a SwingPainted Leather Puppet of HanumanNawab and coterieNawab and a CourtierPainted Leather Puppet of Kamadhenu the Cow
Water Color Painting by Mukta VenkateshBhishma Lies on the Bed of Arrows<br>A Rangoli PaintingArt By AccidentAccidental ArtMystery Picture!Horse Pulled Cart - Painting by Jamini RoyRomance of Lord Vishnu and Wife Laxmi<br>Indian Red Mural
Bronze Statue of Shiva -- Chola Period (1000 A.D.)Way to NanjanaguduPainting of a Lion on a Ganjifa CardArt of Prehostoric ManGeometric Designs on Palm LeafA Wall Mural from KarnatakaPainting by M.F. Husain

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