Mural Painting: History, Styles of Art and its Characteristics

Jul 27, 2018 12:52 IST
Mural Painting

The Mural Painting or artwork is date back to the times beyond the pages of history. It is a form of valuable testimony of life from the prehistoric time to today. It is associated with Modern man, who first appeared in Africa around 200,000 BC, and began migrating northwards into Europe and Asia sometime after 100,000 BC. From the cave paintings at Lascaux Grotttoes in southern France, Bhimbetka Cave painting in India to the street art murals of today, people have been leaving signs of their own existence in many places around the world.

What is Mural Painting?

The word ‘mural’ derived from the Latin word ‘murus’ which means wall. It can be defined as any piece of artwork painted or applied directly onto a wall, ceiling or other larger permanent surfaces, flat, concave or convex, to be precise.

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Characteristics of Mural Painting

It is an oldest human art form, as cave paintings at numerous ancient human settlements suggest, and can be found all over globe. The characteristics of the Mural Painting are given below:

1. It depict the activities of a particular civilization‘s people, encapsulating a moment in time, and range from scenes of hunting, gathering, and family life, to religious and funerary scenes.

2. It is a combination of wide variety of artistic style, Realism with a dramatic sense of scale and amazing depth.

3. Artwork depicts the expression of emotions through hand postures.

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4. It played an important role in reflecting changes in the political culture through the depiction of subjects ranging from religion to sex.

5. It often served the role of creating public awareness of certain issues and in decisive ways performed the function of socio-political critique, as well as reinforcing political and community identities.

6. It acts as a mediator between the public, the government, and artists. This relationship is complex and very prickly at times, especially when, as is so often the case in Iran, art is politicized and politics is aestheticized.

7. It is three-dimensional form of artwork.

Mural Paintings in India

India has a rich tradition of mural wealth. The treatises such as Vishnudharmottara, Silpashastra, Manasollasa, Shilparatna, Narada-shilpa-shastra and Kashyapa-shilpa, discuss at length all aspects of painting, including murals.

The history of Indian murals starts in ancient and early medieval times, from the 2nd century BC to 8th – 10th century AD. There are known more than 20 locations around India containing murals from this period, mainly natural caves and rock-cut chambers. The highest achievements of this time are the caves of Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai Cave (Tamil Nadu), Ravan Chhaya rock shelter, Kailasanatha temple in Ellora Caves.

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