Thanjavur painting is a classical South Indian painting style, characterised by rich, flat and vivid colors, simple iconic composition, glittering gold foils overlaid on delicate but extensive gesso work and inlay of glass beads and pieces or very rarely precious and semi-precious gems. In Thanjavur paintings one can see the influence of Deccani, Vijayanagar, Maratha and even European or Company styles of painting. Essentially serving as devotional icons, the subjects of most paintings are Hindu gods, goddesses, and saints.
Today, these paintings have become souvenirs for festive occasions in South India - colourful pieces of art to decorate walls, and collectors' items for art lovers, as also sadly sometimes, dime-a-dozen bric-a-bracs to be purchased from street corner practitioners.
Sangrafi offers Thanjavur painting classes for all age group. You"ll learn how Painting is generally made on a canvas pasted over a plank of wood (Jackfruit or teak) with Arabic gum. The canvas is then evenly coated with a paste of French chalk (gopi) or powdered limestone and a binding medium and dried. You will drew or traced using a stencil, a detailed outline of the main and subsidiary subjects on the canvas. A paste, made of limestone powder and a binding medium called sukkan or makku, was used for creating the Gesso work. Gold leaves and gems of varied hues were inlaid in selected areas like pillars, arches, thrones, dresses, etc. Finally, colours were applied on the sketch.