Painting on Marble is an Indian phenomenon wherein intricate images are drawn on these naturally beautiful stones. The stone lends a rugged look to the artifacts and the painting medium itself is as exquisite as the paintings. These paintings are of the miniature variety and make for beautiful showpieces.
Delicate brush strokes and great detailing characterize this intricate school of Miniature Painting. Miniature Painters used varied substances for coloring their drawings, namely- minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, pure gold and silver . The Ragas or musical codes of Indian Classical music are beatifically depicted in these paintings.
Painting on Marble- the history
Painting on marble originated in Rajasthan during the times of the Rajputs. In Rajasthan, marble is most readily available, and is therefore used for various purposes. The Rajputs painters saw marbles as an ideal canvas for their paintings and quickly adopted their style according to the medium.
Minakari on Marble
Minakari is an intricate engraving method where designs are engraved on the marble slab and then painted with specific colors namely red, green, black, yellow, blue. These colors are called mina.
Gold leaf work on Marble
In this style marble paintings are embellished with gold leaves and semi precious stones. The paintings are lacquered after the embellishment to ensure permanence.
Painting on Marble- the technique
Firstly the base is prepared by coating the slab with a neutral color. Sometimes it's “sponged” and responged with colors to get the desired effect. The painter then draws the images with great specificity. Some paintings are then embellished with gold leaves and jewels and lacquered. The painters mainly used vegetable and mineral dyes.
The themes of Marble Painting
The literature of the Bhakti cult (a revolutionary religious cult movement) seems to be the primary source of inspiration for these paintings. The emphasis was on the emotions of love and the view of point was that of a woman's. Radha and Krishna were the models of an ideal couple. These paintings are known for the aesthetic depiction of various love acts of the divine couple.
The exquisite marble paintings with inlay were also done on tabletops, wall hangings, furniture, etc. Today these paintings are a collector's item around the world and are much sought after. Painting on Marble is a versatile art form and is done with or without gold. Marbles of different sizes and thickness are used according to the convenience of both the artist and the buyer.