An ancient Indian religion that preaches tolerance, non-violence and is by and
large agnostic. Its founder Mahavira was an elder contemporary of the Buddha. He
lived and preached during the 6th Century BC. By its very nature it was strictly
ascetic. According to its belief there were 23 prophets (Tirthankaras) who came
before Mahavira. Jainism influenced Indian sculpture greatly.
Paper: A very
popular drawing paper with rice straw fibers, which gives a good emphasis to the
Tales that relate the previous lives of the Buddha.
Knowledge. In Indian thinking Jnana, like Bhakti (devotion) and Karma (action),
is one of the three ways to Salvation.
German term for a stylistic movement around 1900 characterized by a linear,
ornamental, decorative, formal language.
Motif that depicts a monster. Kala can
be used to mean Time.
Action, Moral duty, fate. In Indian ethics and philosophy, Karma is the doctrine
of action, reaction and interaction. Philosophically it means reaping the
results of one’s good works or misdeeds in this life, or in later rebirths.
Karma can also mean suffering or enjoying the fruits of previous birth or
births. It is the theory of ‘ as one sows so one reaps’. It is similar to
the Judeo-Christian idea of the ‘Wrath of God’. God is not angry according
to this theory, Wrath, is the consequence of sin. Wrath like Karma is
impersonal. Creation and everything in it hangs together on a delicate, fine and
subtle ethical balance. The wrath descends only when this balance is disturbed.
Karma similarly is the consequences of a person’s deeds.
the Compassionate one. It is an epithet of the Buddha.
rasa: In Indian
poetics it means the semblance of pathos depicted in artistic creation.
Dwarfish demon figures. They are clustered in a group of five around the pillar
with their backs to it. They offer additional support to the roof.
Art: Kinetic works
are objects or paintings in which effects of movement are presented or
‘The black one’. One of the main characters of the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata,
and an incarnation of Vishnu. He is a mythical amorous hero who plays the flute.
The chief protagonist of the ‘Gita’.
The royal and the warrior caste. The Varna that comes after the Brahmins.
According to Yoga, kundalini is the energy at the base of the spine. If
released, it can lead to great spiritual excellence.
Name of a clan belonging to a tribe called yati (Yuehchi of Chinese sources). In
Indian context a royal family. They began with a small kingdom in upper
Afghanistan and extended up to Bihar. They ruled roughly from last quarter of 1st
century BC-262 AD.
Superhuman physical characteristics that set Buddha apart from the depictions of
ordinary mortals. There are 32 major and 8 minor lakshanas.
Soot from carbonized oils.
Representation of pure landscape. Heyday of the landscape was the Dutch Baroque.
Drawing the human figure from live model.
A painting technique in which importance is placed on outlines.
A system of drawing or painting in which the artist attempts to create the
illusion of depth on a flat surface.
grammatically means Gender. Also it can mean the male organ. Shivalinga means
the phallus of Shiva.
Phallus. In sculpture it is a monolith phallus that signifies energy. It is the
symbol of Shiva.
Cut: A simple
method of Relief Painting.
Oil: Oil extracted
from the seed of flax.
A greasy material is used to make a drawing on a zinc plate or limestone block.
The plate is then wet and a greasy ink is applied to it. The ink sticks only to
the lines that have been drawn. A moist paper is applied to the plate and a
special press is used to rub the paper all over to make a print or a lithograph.
A printing technique invented by Aloys Senefelder of Munich in 1798. A method of
printing from a prepared flat stone or metal or plastic plate. A drawing is made
on the stone or plate with a greasy crayon, and then washed with water. When ink
is applied it sticks to the greasy drawing, but runs off the wet surface
allowing a print - a lithograph - to be made of the drawing. The plate is then
covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press under light pressure. For
colour lithography separate drawings are made for each colour.
Ink: Ink made up
of a mixture of soot and linseed oil.
Lalit Kala Akademi (National Academy of Fine Arts) having the headquarters in
New Delhi, INDIA.
color of an object independent of any additional colors brought to it by
particular fall of light.
Realism: Form of
painting of Neue Sachlichkeit.
Mahayana is a later variety of Buddhism. It branched off from Hinayana and
emphasized the worship of the Buddha. The mythology of the Bodhisattvas
distinguishes it from Hinayana variety. In sculpture, it is for Mahayana that we
get the figures of the Buddha and the depiction of the story of his life. It was
because of them that the legends of the Bodhisattvas were included in Buddhist
mythology and iconography. Furthermore, they took over and accommodated the
whole gamut of tree spirits and other deities of popular folk religion. All
these changes added an imaginative ambience to Indian art, especially sculpture.
The triad icon of Shiva manifesting his majesty, femininity and his terror. In a
single piece of sculpture the three aspects of Shiva are depicted with great
Copulation, marriage, union. Male and female figures copulating in various poses
are carved on temple walls.
Crocodile. In sculpture this is depicted as crocodile-like sea monster. It is
the vehicle of the River Goddess Ganga, also called Makaravahini.
A circle. The imagined shape of the cosmos. It is a diagram of a magic circle
and also of the Buddhist hierarchy.
Originally it was a columned porch in Indian architectural design. From it
evolved a hall with pillars.
Name given to the formal development of the late Renaissance of the 16th
The devil of the
Buddhist scriptures who attempted to distract Buddha during his meditation under
the Bodhi tree. According to Christian belief, Satan tempted Christ after his
forty days of meditation in the wilderness. Both won a resounding victory.
A resin used in painting, obtained from the Tropical and Sub Tropical zone from
the mastic bush in the form of pale yellow balls.
Mother Goddess. There are seven Matrikas (saptamatrika) embodying seven
different kinds of feminine energy.
Chandragupta Maurya, contemporary of Alexander the Great, founded the Mauryan
dynasty in the 4th Century BC. Emperor Ashoka was its greatest ruler.
Mauryans ruled over a vast part of the subcontinent. In 183 BC the last Mauryan
king, Brihadratha, was overthrown by his general. They were the first to
introduce stone sculpture on a large scale.
The material or technique used by an artist to produce a work of art. It may
also refer to the solvent with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint
of the proper consistency. The plural form is media. During painting, the
pigment that is being used to get the required colour has to be suspended in
some liquid. This liquid is called the medium. For example, an oil painting
would mean when linseed oil is used as the medium. Medium also refers to the
substance used by an artist for giving expression to his art. Like, a sculptor
uses stone as his medium of expression.
Term for the collages of Kert Schwitters.
A technique of intaglio printing using copper plates.
Art: Movement in
contemporary art since the 1970s.
Figures of loving couples, generally donor couples. A person paying the expenses
for building a temple was sculpted with his wife in a loving pose.
Paintings painted in a single color.
A print that can be pulled only once.
Pictures: Type of
picture developed by William Hogarth.
A mixture of lime, sand and water.
A graphical technique involving a network of colored stones placed on flat
A system of signs made with fingers. In art the Buddha is seen using these
symbolic gestures to impart mystical powers of at-one-ness and well-being. In
Indian sculpture they are depicted in the dance of gods, goddesses, and people
using a variety of mudras. In dance and mime they signify various kinds of
Wall painting. A large design or
picture, generally created on the wall of a public building.
Tales of the gods and heroes, a favorite subject for artistic representation
since classical antiquity.
French group of artists influenced by Gauguin.
Literally ‘Serpent’. Water spirits. They are depicted as serpents. They
protect cisterns and waters.
Citizen. Primarily the word means one who lives in a city.
Painting: A kind
of amateur art free of academic traditions.
The master of dance. One of the names of Shiva. Especially in South Indian
bronze sculpture, he is depicted dancing and destroying the whole of creation.
He does this to create the right condition for a new one. Sometimes there is a
garland of flames around him. At others, there is a child under his feet being
crushed. The Nataraja sculpture intrigued and moved the great modern sculptor,
Movement in the second half of the 19th century, which attempted to
achieve the naturalistic painterly reproduction of the outside of an object.
Nine rasas. They are: Adbhuta (wonder), Bibhatsa (disgust), Hasya (humour),
Karuna (pity), Raudra (anger), Shanta (tranquility), Shringara (erotic love),
Vatsalya (parental love) and Vira (valour).
A group of Romantic German artists who formed a 'brotherhood' on the medieval
model in 1809-10 in Vienna and then in Rome.
Art: The only art
permitted in the Third Reich. With its glorifying transfiguring representations
of strong people, noble heroes, peasant life and wholesome families, it served
the purposes of ideological propaganda.
Art of the 60s, which rather than relying on depiction, used actual everyday
objects to assemble new pictures.
Trends in the German art of the 80s, which showed an affinity with the
expressive, gestural painting of Expressionism.
Stylistic movement between 1750 and 1840, which refers to the Antique, and
chiefly to Greek models.
Realistic painting at the beginning of the 20s in Germany.
Wilde: Painters in
Germany in the 80s, who employed an expressive, gestural style and paid little
attention to artistic stylistic traditions.
National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, INDIA.
The final state of stepping out of the trials and tribulations of the world. It also implies escaping
the cycle of rebirth.
movement from 1960 onwards, which wanted to open up art to everyday life.
removed from its original context and employed
in collages and assemblages.
An artist's complete body of work.
Show drying paint made when pigments are mixed with an oil, linseed oil being
most traditional. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on
canvas. This represents a class of paints in which drying oils are used for
binding together the pigments.
technique in which paint pigments are bound with oil. It was first introduced in
the 15th century.
contemporary art form with dynamic effects of color and movement.
Orphism: Term for the primatic dissections of color by R and S.