Benoy K Behl’s
THE PAINTINGS OF INDIA
This series is the first major work which connects the tradition of painting in India from the time of Ajanta to the present day.
The films show many sites of painting which have never been clearly photographed before.
The governments of many countries have very kindly cooperated to make this comprehensive project possible. Museums around the world and state governments and museums in India have cooperated immensely for the widespread shooting of these films.
Many concepts of the development of Indian painting have been altered by the massive and first of its kind coverage of this project.
available through Director
Aakashwani Bhavan, Parliament Street
New Delhi 110001
The Paintings of India
By Benoy K Behl
26 Films, Shot all over India and around the world
A landmark in understanding Indian art
This series of films presents the tradition of Indian painting, from a deep understanding of the fountainhead of Indian art, flowing from Ajanta and other sites of classic murals.
In 1994, Benoy K Behl photographed the 10th century Chola paintings in the Brhadisvara Temple at Tanjore, for the first time. The eminent experts of the Western world warmly responded to say that these Chola paintings led them to revise their earlier understanding of the development of painting in India. They had earlier felt that, though the paintings of Ajanta showed a flash of genius, there seemed to be no continuity of the tradition of painting in India. The bringing of the Brhadisvara paintings, out of the darkness of their inner ambulatory, was only the beginning of the unveiling of a glorious and widespread tradition of painting over the centuries.
The shooting for these films has included the coverage of many rare mural paintings which were never photographed in detail before. Rarely-viewed paintings are seen in these films, presenting the continuous development of the art of painting in India.
These include among many others, the recently-excavated Gupta period Buddha painting on the rock face at Satdhara, 7th century paintings of the KailashnathTemple in Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu),9th century paintings in the Jain caves of Sittanavasal (Tamil Nadu),the remains of the 11th century Nalanda murals, the rich treasure of the scarcely-known murals of many very remote monasteries of the Trans-Himalayas of the 11th century, 13th century paintings of Choti Kacheri in Lalitpur District, ceiling paintings of the Virupaksha temple (Hampi, Karnataka) of the 15th century, the 16th century paintings of the Lepakshi Temple(Andhra Pradesh).
A vast archive of over 2500 selected masterpieces of Indian miniature paintings has been created in this series. The best paintings from the reserve collections and galleries of the top museums and private collections all over the world have been filmed.
These films depict rare and exquisite Pala palm leaf manuscript paintings of the 11th century, beautiful early Jaina manuscript paintings of Western India and fine and almost forgotten early Bijapur miniatures. The masterpieces of the glorious Mughal school of miniatures have been shot including paintings from famed manuscripts such as the Hamzanama, Timurnama, Akbarnama, Baburnama, and others. The flowers of the fine early Rajput paintings and the lyrical paintings of Kangra and other Pahari regions have also been filmed.