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My Guru, Shilp Guru Sri Venkatesa Raja. Traditional Tanjore Painting Artist

My Guru, Shilp Guru Sri Venkatesa Raja. Traditional Tanjore Painting Artist

Traditional Tanjore paintings are few and far between these days. Making Tanjore paintings in the old way is a very time-intensive process and increases Tanjore painting costs significantly, and as such most traditional artists cannot make a living from this work.

Thanjavur paintings are a part of the traditional South Indian folk arts. They are in the style of temple paintings, depicting scenes largely from Hindu mythology.

Tanjore paintings are a classical, South Indian folk art developed in the late 16th century in Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore in the Tamil Nadu state of India. These Tanjore paintings evoke a sense of timelessness with their alluring illustrations of God, Goddess and stories of Hindu mythology.

This ancient Indian folk art form traces its origin to Thanjavur, the capital of the Chola Empire. Tanjore art takes its origin from the murals of the Vijayanagara period (1500-1600 AD) and acquired its robust forms, architectural details, and vibrant colors in this period.

The Maratha people of India, who had been practicing painting for centuries, found new ways to depict the human body and naturalistic landscapes under the guidance of King Serfoji II. King played a particularly significant role in developing this artform.

Unfortunately, most buyers and students do not know what they are buying, as both traditional paintings and contemporary versions look similar from the outside.

While contemporary Tanjore painting has evolved to cater to buyers by using readily available materials and reducing Tanjore painting cost, it’s unfair to those traditional artists who still follow the tradition, Especially, the Raja / Raju family of Thanjavur.

Shilp Guru Sri Venkatesa Raja and family are one of few remaining traditional Tanjore painting artists, who were originally brought in to Thanjavur by the great Nayak kings for the development of this art; around four hundreds of years back.

Sri Venkatesa Raja lost his father at a very early age, his uncle and grandfather coached and mentored him to become one of the best Tanjore painting artists in India. His family is dedicated to traditional Tanjore painting for the last five generations.

He is decorated with several state and national awards including, Kala Mani and the most prestigious Shilp Guru award in 2012. He continues to create masterpieces with his son Gopi Raja.

in 1992, I had the great privilege to learn this beautiful art from Shilp Guru Sri Venkatesa Raja . It was an amazing experience to watch and learn from the great master himself.

I dedicate this platform to him and all traditional artists, who have nourished and passed this beautiful culture to our generation.

Now, its our responsibility to protect and pass Indian Folk Art to the next generation.

 

Sincerely,

Senthil Vel,

Tanjore Painting Artist

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