Tanjore Painting or Tanjavur Painting is a form of art developed in the Southern part of India in a place called Tanjore or Tanjavur.

About 350 Km south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Tanjore, once capital of the Chola Empire, was ruled by the Marathas in the 17th century. The Maratha rulers encouraged this art in Tanjore. In Mysore the art was patronized by Maharaja Mummadi Krishnarajendra Wodeyar

This form of art is unique. It uses a lot of precious stones and pure gold foils to fill in as ornaments and clothing of the figurines, mostly depicting Hindu Mythology Gods like Shiva, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Parvathi, Krishna, Ganesh and others. These paintings are in great demand for decorating the living room and puja or prayer room of many.

The art has undergone quite a bit of change, not in the style of the painting, but in the use of raw material for preparing the board and the use of painting material as well as the use of synthetic material in place of precious stones.

The use of pure gold foil of 22/ 24 carat continues and the life of such paintings is long if done and preserved in a correct manner.

There are SEVEN STEPS to making a Tanjore painting

STEP 1. Preparing the board to make the painting.
STEP 2 Sketching the figure and fixing the stones.
STEP 3 Filling around the stone work with a thin mix of gum and chalk powder.
          Inlay and relief work around the stone setting with a thicker mix.
STEP 4 Cleaning the work and fixing the gold foil over the stones and relief work.
STEP 5 Cutting the gold foil to expose the stone work.
STEP 6 Painting the figures and the background
STEP 7 Checking for flaws, correcting and fixing the glass and frame.

While each of the steps appears to be easy and simple, a lot of care is needed at every step to ensure that the final product is flawless and superb.

I shall in separate notes discuss each step in detail and also point out common defects that occur and method to correct the defects
No two paintings can be alike and no two artists can give the same effects on the work. Each will have to exercise his/ her commonsense to arrive at a good finish.
The effort is to guide the artist to use the right material and method to produce a good picture.

If you wish to learn or improve your learning, I shall guide you on specific needs.

There is no charge for the service.

I am a 77 year old retired engineer. I learnt the art from a qualified Master 5 years ago. I have done over 80 paintings and I continue to paint.

If you have the will and interest there is no bar to learning this fine art at any age.

For details contact:

Mr. V. K. Iyer
Y-218, Second Avenue, Anna Nagar, Chennai - 600 040.

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