Sunday, 9 December 2012

South Indian Paintings - a review

South Indian Paintings by C. Sivaramamurti. ISBN: 8123000529

South Indian Paintings is written by Calambur Sivaramamurti who has authored many books featuring artworks of the Indian subcontinent. This book, first printed in 1968, is an excellent product for its era. It contains many full colour images of a variety of paintings as well as black and white line drawings of the authors interpretation of damaged works. The authors starts with an In depth view of painting in India, the use of colour and the process of painting itself. He then presents the works of art, sorted by culture and time making direct comparisons of different locations where relevant. He starts with Vakataka (4th-6th century CE)  to the Mahratta (19th century). He wraps up with a list, and description, of the schools of Indian painting and their styles. As this book was printed in 1968, it lacks computer enhanced imagery however Sivaramamurti’s descriptions of the artworks and the themes within them make up for the lack of detail in earlier works. I only wish that books by Sivaramamurti were more easily available.

From an SCA perspective this book has some lovely reference images. The author provides a nice cultural background and explains the theme of each image presented which is highly useful. Though some of the images can be found on the internet they usually lack background information which Sivaramamurti provides in spades.

From a personal perspective, I was disheartened to find that there is only one image, 1/3rd of a page for Kakatiya (11th - 13th century), which is the area and time I'm currently interested in. The author does however mention the inaccessibility of the Tripueantakam temple, I'm hoping this has been rectified in the last 50 years since print.


The back cover of South Indian Paintings. A quick search turned up no reference to this image however the sari's worn by the women have a very pleasing selection of decorations, from geometrical to floral.

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