The early phase of Deccan painting starts in 16th century with Yusuf Adil shah an Iranian immigrant basically a soldier who founded Adil Shah rule At Bijapur. On his invitation several Iranian, Persian and Turkish painter, calligraphers and scholars came to his court. Thee immigrant artists made painting on pure Islamic background which were confined only to the text illumination.
The earliest Temples of Deccan school are contained in the manuscripts named Than – in Husain a book of poem written in the praise of Hussein nizam shah -1 king of Ahmed Nagar 1553- 1565. It was executed and illustrated by the orders of his widow after his death. This illustrated manuscript is preserved in Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal Pune. The colors used in these painting s are rich and brilliant but the style of application is different from that of northern paintings.
The Persian influence can be seen in high horizon, golden back ground, Prussian blue sky and pink mountains. Trees and he landscape. female figures are painted in traditional style of Mandu and Malwa. They have elongated profile face and body structure. there feet are pointing in same direction s. They look like puppet and resemble the regional folk art of the murals of various Hindu temples of Vijayanagar. Ahmednagar artists also painted portraits but in Mughal style. The portraits of Burhan nizam shah II of Ahmednagar marks Mughal effect. Vasant raga and Raga Hindola are the finest example in Ahmednagar.
A Number of descendants Yusuf ADIL Shah A great fascination for art and patronize artists. The style of art works of second phase of Decani school remark the departure of art from the prior Decani mural tradition of miniatures. Sultan Adil shah 1558- 1580 , the king of small kingdom of Bijapur accelerated Artistic activities during his regime .
He commissioned to illustrate the manuscripts Nazum -ul ulum (Sceince of stars) .This illustrated manuscript has 876 paintings .which are real representative of refined decani school in which the human figure are painted in the style of mural of Hindu temples Hampi and Virbhadra . The whole format, its background and fine calligraphy done in Deccan school reflects Parisian effects on it.
Ramaala painting of Bijapur court are very famous in which Indian motifs are beautifully fused. Dhanshri Ragini, Gauri Ragini, Shri Ragini etc. Are the noted masterpiece of the Ramaala series. Some excellent Bijapur paintings are preserved in the Bikaner royal collection. The most famous portrait of Bijapur court of Ibrahim Adil shah -II 1580- 1626 A.D. who succeed his uncle Adil shah at the edge of nine years. He himself was a singer, poet, master calligraphy and good patron of art. The Decani school of miniature painting achieved the height during his Regine.
Abdul Hussain Qutab shah of Golconda was one of those sultans who provide effective patronage to the Hindu artists of Vijayanagar and refugee artists of Mughal court. though Golconda artists painted in Mughal style they kept alive particular Decani testes and flavour. This school continued till 18th century A.D. golden back ground. pink mountains realistic trees and shrubs are the characteristics of Golconda school.
“Lady and Maina” and “Chand Bibi Playing Polo” are excellent examples of this school. Aurangzeb conquered Golconda in 1687 A.D. The style of Deccan school continued long after the extinction of Deccan sultans of Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golconda till 17th century A.D. later on, miniature paintings started flourished in Hyderabad under the royal patronage of Asaf jahan -I by Golconda artists. rich colours, Deccan Faces highly decorative costumes, rhythmic posture and symmetrical architectures are distinctive feature s of this school.
The origin of Hyderabad school begins with the foundation of Asaf jahan dynasty in 1724 A.D. This royal patronage was an important factor in flourishing this school. the descendant of Jaahi dynasty were popularly known as Nizams. Nizam inherited the richest part of Mughal empire. the nizam led simple pious and spiritual life.
Golconda school did not fall at the end of the kingdom but confined under the patronage of Nizam’s birth new features in regard artist draftsman ship, coloring atmosphere, subject matter and architectural peculiarities. The presence of luxuries is absent in these miniatures of this school. the unique style of approach and depiction easily differentiate Hyderabad school miniature from other Deccan miniature. gold, red, orange, pale green, pallid blue is used to depict flower garden horizon sky and clouds.
The artist depicted the real nature and architecture with its interior decoration. The themes of painting of this school are portraits of Nizams, saints, paintings on mobility, listening music, visiting a saint seating near terrace. Deccan faces rhythmic postures symmetrical architectures and a special type of peace and harmony scattered all around on the paintings are seen on the miniatures of Hyderabad school. hence this school slowly acquired declining nature.
A style of painting characterized by bold drawing technique of shading and he use of pure and brilliant colours flourished at Tanjore in south India during the late 18th and 19th century. A typical example of Tanjore painting, in the collection of the national museum is an illustrated wooden panel of early 19th century showing the coronation of ram.
The scene is laid elaborately decorated arches. In the middle Ram and Sita are seated on the throne, attendant by his brothers and lady.in the left and right panels are seen Rishis, courtiers and princes. In the foreground are Hanuman Sugriva who are being honored and two other Bananas opening box probably containing gifts. the style is decorative and marked by the use of bright colours and ornamental details. The conical crown appearing in the miniature is a typical feature of Tanjore and painting.