Deccan School of Painting for UPSC Exam

Art and culture is a part of Indian History. This subject in the IAS exam talks about art, literature, painting, architecture, etc.  UPSC Art and culture is an important segment for Civil Service Examination. One important topic mentioned in paintings is ‘Deccan Painting’ and it primarily incorporates the inspirations of the southern tradition of the Vijayanagar school of painting and of the northern tradition of the pre-Mughal painting of Malwa.

This article will give details about the Deccan School of Painting and its sub-parts.

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Overview of Deccan School of Painting for IAS

The colours of the Deccani School paintings are rich and brilliant. It is different from the northern paintings. Unique features of the Deccani paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries are witnessed in the treatment of the ethnic types, landscape costumes, jewellery, flora, fauna, and colours. This topic might be helpful in the UPSC 2022 examination and you may check the upcoming exam in the linked article.

The types of Deccani paintings are given below:

  1. Ahmednagar School of Painting
    • This school was patronized by Hussain Nizam Shah I of Ahmednagar.
    • The significant illustrated manuscript is ‘Tarif-i-Hussain Shahi’.
    • Colours used for Ahmednagar school of Painting are brilliant and rich.
    • Females appearing in such paintings belong to the northern tradition of Malwa.
    • Choli, long pigtails, braids with tassels, in the end, were seen in the northern costume.
    • These paintings exhibited Persian influences like the landscape, gold sky, and high horizon.
  2. Bijapur School of Painting
    • The Bijapur School of Painting was patronized by Ali Adil Shah I and his successor Ibrahim II.
    • Notable work is Najum-al-ulum (Stars of Sciences).
    • The painting exhibit a rich colour scheme, animals, palm trees, men, and women belong to the Deccan tradition.
    • The paintings showcase a generous use of gold colour.
  3. Golconda School of Painting
    • The patrons of the Golconda School of Paintings were the Qutb Shahi rulers.
    • The first notable work was done during the times of Muhammad Quli Qutab Shah.
    • These paintings show dancing.
    • There is a deep impact of Iranian art on the Golconda miniature paintings.
    • Two more notable paintings among the Golconda paintings are the ‘Lady with the Myna bird’ and the ‘Lady smoking Hookah’.
  4. Hyderabad School of Painting
    • Hyderabad School of Painting belongs to the 3rd quarter of the 18th century.
    • It was developed in 1724 after the foundation of the Asaf Jahi dynasty by Nizam-ul-Mulk Chin Qilij Khan.
    • “Princes in the company of maids” is a famous painting that belongs to the Hyderabad School of Painting.
    • These paintings used Deccan facial types, rich colours, and costumes.
  5. Mysore School of Painting
    • This belongs to the era between the 2nd and 7th century.
    • Mysore paintings are known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail.
    • Delicate lines, intricate brush strokes, graceful delineation of figures and the discreet use of bright vegetable colours and lustrous gold leaf are the characteristics of Mysore Paintings.
    • More than mere decorative pieces, the paintings are designed to inspire feelings of devotion and humility in the viewer.
    • One can see the various emotions of the painter through his skills expressed in the painting which is very important to this style.
  6. Thanjavur School of Painting
    • Originated in the Thanjavur region during the reign of the Marathas in the 16th century. It existed from the 17th to 19th Century.
    • It generally consists 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.
    • Most of them depicting child Krishna, the paintings would be bright & colourful and breathtakingly beautiful. They’re intended to have a glowing presence even in a low lit room or a dark place.
    • The art was practised mainly by two communities namely – the RAJUS in THANJAVUR and TRICHY and NAIDUS in MADURAI.

IAS aspirants who find Art and Culture for UPSC difficult and have one question on How to Study Arts & Culture of India may find an answer to it in the linked article.

Difference Between Mysore & Thanjavur Paintings

A major difference between these two styles is the significant iconography and the way these art pieces are made or created. These topics can be best covered from NCERT Notes also which you may find in the linked article.

The basic differences between these two are given in the table below:

Mysore Paintings Thanjavur Paintings
Painted on paper. That paper may or maybe be pasted on a plank of wood. These are painted on a piece of cloth stretched over a piece of wood.
Focuses elaborately and with detail on the interior as well as the exterior of the subject. Focused more on the Icon and the static part of the subject
The colour white came from the white lead powder (Makhisafeda) or Makhi Gamboge (yellow) drawn from the juice of the indigenous tree (Revana Chinni halu). Here, the white lime powder and powdered tamarind seeds with gum arabic were used.

To know more about Rajput Paintings, visit the linked article.

Frequently Asked Questions on Deccan School of Painting


Q 1. What is the Deccan School of Painting?

Ans. The Deccan School of Painting takes its inspiration from the Vijayanagar school of painting (south) and traditions of the pre-Mughal painting of Malwa (north). Ethnic types, landscape costumes, jewellery, flora, fauna, and colours are the unique features of the Deccan School of Painting.

Q 2. From which period is the Deccan School of painting?

Ans. The history of Deccani Painting can largely be constructed from the late sixteenth century until the 1680s— the time when the Mughals conquered the Deccan. It is continued to be seen in the art of the nineteenth century, as well as, under the Asafiya dynasty, and finally, in paintings in the provincial courts of Rajas and Nawabs, ruling various lands in the State of Hyderabad under the Nizam.

You may also like to check articles relevant to UPSC IAS preparation given in the table below:

Related Links:
Important topics and subtopics to be covered in Art and Culture NCERT Notes: Art, Literature, Architecture And Culture Notes For UPSC
Topic-Wise GS 1 Questions for UPSC Mains Art and Culture Preparation Strategy
Modern History Notes For UPSC BYJU’s Strategy Articles


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