Indian art consists of a variety of art forms, such as pottery, sculpture, visual arts, paintings, performing arts and textile arts.
The origin of Indian art can be traced to pre-historic settlements in the 3rd
millennium BC to modern times, Indian art has cultural influences, as well as religious influences such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam.
Rock art of India includes rock carvings, engravings and paintings, commonly depicted scenes of human life alongside animals, and hunts with stone implements. Their style varied with region and age, but the most common characteristic was a red wash made using a powdered mineral called geru, which is a form of Iron Oxide.
Indus Valley Civilization (c. 5000 BCE – c. 1500 BCE) arts mainly consist of gold, terracotta and stone figurines of girls in dancing poses reveal the presence of some forms of dance. Additionally, the terracotta figurines included cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. The animal depicted on a seals was bull, zebra with a majestic horn, The most famous piece is the bronze Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro and a figure on seals standing on its head, and another sitting cross-legged in what some call a yoga-like pose. This figure, sometimes known as a Pashupati, has been variously identified. Sir John Marshall identified a resemblance to the Hindu god, Shiva. After the end of the Indus Valley Civilization, there is a absence of anytype art of any great degree of sophistication until the Buddhist era.
The north Indian Maurya Empire flourished from 322 BCE to 185 BCE, The emperor Ashoka, who died in 232 BCE, adopted Buddhism constructed several large stupas and The famous Lion piller of Ashoka, with four lion, was adopted as the official Emblem of India after Indian independence.
The Buddhist art (c. 1 BCE – c. 500 CE), Sanchi, Bharhut and Amaravati, Stupas were constructed. Stupas were surrounded by ceremonial fences with four profusely carved toranas or ornamental gateways facing the cardinal directions. the walls of the stupa itself can be heavily decorated with reliefs, mostly illustrating the lives of the Buddha.
In Shunga Dynasty (c. 185 BCE – 72 BCE) The Great Stupa was enlarged to its present diameter of 120 feet, covered with a stone casing, topped with a balcony and umbrella, and encircled with a stone railing during the Shunga Dynasty c. 150 BCE - 50 BCE.
Satavahana dynasty (c. 1st/3rd century BCE – c. 3rd century CE) in Satavahana dynasty was originally under the rule in central India, and after 1st century CE, in the south region. During Satavahana dynasty, a great number of significant Buddhist artworks were produced because Satavahana art is influenced by Buddhism to a huge extent. Three of the most important Buddhist structures are stupas, temples, and prayer-halls. Satavahanas issued coins primarily in copper, lead and potin. Later on, silver came into use when producing coins. The coins usually have detailed portraits of rulers and inscriptions written in the language of Tamil and Telugu.
Kushan Empire (c. 30 CE - c. 375 CE) Officially established by Kujula Kadphises, the first Kushan emperor who united the Yuezhi tribes, Kushan empire was a syncretic empire in central Asia, including the region of Gandhara and other parts of what is now Pakistan. From 127 to 151 CE, Gandharan reached its peak under the reign of Kanishka the Great. In this period, Kushan art inherited the Greco-Buddhist art.
Gupta art (c. 320 CE – c. 550 CE) The Gupta period marked the "golden age" of classical Hinduism, the early architectural style of Hindu temples were sophisticated and scientific in nature, consisting large courtyards, garbh grah, siting area, prayer area a large complex and well planned architecture. temple plans with multiple shikharas (towers) and mandapas (halls) of various utility as stated in veda outlining building of temples.
Middle Kingdoms and the Late Medieval period (c. 600 CE – c. 1300 CE)
Dynasties of South India (c. 3rd century CE – c. 1300 CE). the Chola, Chera and Pandya Tamil dynasties, situated at south of the Vindhya mountains. The Shore Temple at Mamallapuram constructed by the Pallavas symbolizes early Hindu architecture, with its monolithic rock relief and sculptures of Hindu deities. They were succeeded by Chola rulers. The Chola period is also known for its bronze sculptures, the lost-wax casting technique and fresco paintings.
Temples of Khajuraho (c. 800 CE – c. 1000 CE) The Khajuraho Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Khajuraho group of monuments were constructed by the Chandela Rajput dynasties.
During the reign of Akbar (1556—1605), the number of painters grew from around 30 during the creation of the Hamzanama in the mid-1560s, to around 130 by the mid 1590s. With the death of Akbar, his son Jahangir (1605–1627) took the throne.
Jahangir was succeeded by Shah Jahan (1628–1658), whose most notable architectural contribution is the Taj Mahal.
British period (1841–1947).
British colonial rule had a great impact on Indian art. Old patrons of art became less wealthy and influential, and Western art more ubiquitous as the British Empire established schools of art in major cities, e.g. the Bombay Art Society in 1888.
With the Swadeshi Movement gaining momentum by 1905, Indian artists attempted to resuscitate the cultural identities suppressed by the British, rejecting the Romanticized style of the Company paintings and the mannered work of Raja Ravi Varma and his followers. Thus was created what is known today as the Bengal School of Art, led by the reworked Asian styles (with an emphasis on Indian nationalism) of Abanindranath Tagore (1871—1951), who has been referred to as the father of Modern Indian art. Other artists of the Tagore family, such as Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) and Gaganendranath Tagore (1867–1938) as well as new artists of the early 20th century such as Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–1941) were responsible for introducing Avant-garde western styles into Indian Art. Many other artists like Jamini Roy and later S.H. Raza took inspiration from folk traditions. In 1944, K.C.S. Paniker founded the Progressive Painters' Association (PPA) thus giving rise to the "madras movement" in art.