With a history dating back to cave art, to the Ajanta and Ellora murals and the miniature masterpieces of Mughal, Rajput and hill schools of paintings, India art has evolved over a long period. Hardly any artist of earlier period has left behind his or her name on a piece of great artistic value. Here we put together a list of ten of the best works on Indian art by modern artists; from per-independence days to current times.
Jatayu Vadham by master artist Raja Ravi Verma showing the vulture god Jatayu’s wings being severed by the demon king Ravana after he attempts to stop the kidnapping of Sita as part of the epic tale of Ramayana is one of the most famous images of Indian art. The artists painting on mythical India are considered classics in their own rights.
Three Girls by Amrita Shergil capturing the innocence of three young women just before adulthood and marriage in rural India in the pre-independence period did leave a lasting impact on the art world. The painting done in 1935 is on permanent display at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi.
Bharat Mata by Abanindranath Tagore is a celebrated painting for being on the first exponents of swadeshi values in Indian Art. Tagore who was a nephew of Rabindra Nath Tagore was the principal artist and a founder member of Indian Society of Oriental Art.
Iconic paintings of Mother Teresa in a white sari with a figurative thin blue line edging by MF Husain, one of India’s leading modern artist who was hounded for nude paintings of Indian goddesses, are some of the famous images of Indian art that hold global appeal. With Mother Teresa being elevated to sainthood, the paintings have become part of the her legacy with the master artists brush.
Dandi March, a black and white linocut by Nandalal Bose, showing the famous march undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi against the British laws to tax salt in India during colonial days is one of India famous art images. The work, created in 1930, is on permanent display at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi .
Sohni Mahiwal, a painting by Shoba Singh depicting a tragic love story is one of the iconic images of Indian art. The artists painted several versions of this popular love legend painting between 1937 and 1979 and one of it is on permanent display at Sobha Singh Art Gallery, Andretta.
The Star That Beckons, a painting by Jehangir Sabavala that blends the sea, sand and sky with a master touch of light and space permeated by a mystic aura remains one of most famous images of Indian Art. Sabavala was a giant on Indian art, whose career spanned more than 60 years.
One may dispute it as a famous image of Indian art but one cannot overlook the claim of Krishna, Spring in Kullu by one of the most famous Russian artist Nicholas Roerich as a famous Indian art work. The painting that is on permanent display at Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York has Krishna playing the flute under a tree in blossom with majestic snow covered mountains in the backdrop. Roerich, who after having traveled the world, made Kullu his home and died there. This makes us include his work and the famous art work in this list.
Mahisasura, a painting by Tayeb Mehta, depicting a the buffalo demon being defeated by Hindu goddess Durga is one of the famous images of Indian art. The painting was sold for over one million dollars. Tayeb Mehta is credited with have started interest in Indian painters and remains the best paid artist of the country.
Horses in full gallop, a favorite theme with MF Hussain, in his earlier works has created some masterpieces that have become some of the most expensive art property of the country, rendering the image as one of the most famous ones in Indian Art. Bold outlines defining strong beasts in full gallop, raising their heads, are among Husain’s best works and a collectors dream.