Thanjavur paintings basically signify paintings created using a style and technique, which originated in Thanjavur during the maratha period in the 16th century.
A typical Thanjavur painting would consist of one main figure, a deity, with a well-rounded body & almond shaped eyes. This figure would be housed in an enclosure created by means of an arch, curtains etc. The painting would be made by the gilded and gem-set technique – a technique where gold leaves & sparkling stones are used to highlight certain aspects of the painting like ornaments, dresses etc.
The painting would be bright & colourful and breathtakingly beautiful. The impact in a darkened room is that of a glowing presence. While most of the paintings would depict the Child Krishna and his various pranks, paintings of other deities were also created.
Over a period of time changes have occurred in the stylization – for example, the figures are no longer round. Presiding deities of various famous temples are also being depicted in the paintings. The technique is now more in use than the style.
THANJAVUR PAINTING is a peculiar, ancient, miniature type of painting named after the place Thanjavur [called Tanjore in English] in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of INDIA. Thanjavur district is famous for various arts and crafts in which paintings are ranked high among the other arts like Thanjavur Toys, Thanjavur Plates, etc. Its origin dates back to the Nayak & the Maratha period in the 16th century.