Top 5 Art Legends from Rajasthan

Rajasthan has been a cradle of exceptional artistic talent, giving birth to some of the most celebrated painters in history. From the Mewar School’s Sahibdin, known for using rich hues and depicting deep emotions, to the Jodhpur’s Dana, who captured scenes of royalty and sport, these artists have left an indelible mark on the world of art.

In today’s blog you will get a deeper understanding of their work and why they are amongst the top art legends of Rajasthan. We’ll delve into the specific details of these artists’ style, their notable work and history.

Let’s get started!

1.     Sahibdin: Mewar School of Painting

Sahibdin, a renowned Rajasthani painter, is closely associated with the era of Maharana Jagat Singh I in Udaipur. His art was heavily influenced by the Mughal style, possibly acquired during his time at the Udaipur castle, leading to a Mughal-inspired detailing becoming a part of his signature style. Sahibdin can be considered Nasiruddin’s successor in terms of aesthetics, evident in his works that reflect the opulent hues and intense emotions.

For about three decades, Sahibdin played a pivotal role in shaping Mewar’s artistic landscape, producing a series of masterpieces focused on romantic themes like the Rasikapriya and Ragamalas. His religious works, particularly the Gita Govinda, also focuses on similar topics. Despite being a Muslim, Sahibdin seamlessly embraced Hindu themes, showcasing his versatility and deep understanding of both cultures.

Sahibdin’s art is characterized by vibrant colors and a profound religious fervor, with notable examples including his 1628 series on rāgamālā (musical modes), housed in the National Museum of India. Additionally, his 1648 series illustrating the Bhāgavata-Purāṇa can be found in the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune.

Another remarkable work is his 1652 portrayal of the sixth book (Yuddha-kāṇḍa) of the Hindu epic Rāmāyaṇa, currently located in the British Museum, London. Sahibdin’s contributions to the Mewar school of painting continue to be celebrated for its artistic richness and cultural fusion.

2.     Nihal Chand: Kishangarh School of Painting

Nihal Chand, an accomplished Indian painter and poet, played a pivotal role in the court of King Savant Singh, also known as Nagari Das.

King Savant Singh was a devout follower of the Vallabhacharya sect.

He appointed Nagari Das as his court artist. Nihal Chand, celebrated for his exquisite depictions of Krishna and Radha, notably created the iconic Bani Thani portrait.

Bani Thani was inspired by a real woman whose name may have been Vishnupriya.  Eventually, King Savant Singh abdicated his throne and, accompanied by Bani Thani, retired to Vrindavan, a place associated with Krishna and Radha, where they spent their later years in meditation. Nihal Chand, renowned for his unparalleled expertise in depicting Krishna and Radha, immortalized their love story through his distinctive style of painting.

Under the patronage of King Savant Singh, the Kishangarh Miniature painting school flourished. These paintings, often portraying the king and Bani Thani as Krishna and Radha, are considered some of the finest examples of Rajasthani miniatures, characterized by their unusually large size.

Savant Singh, a skilled poet himself, encouraged Nihal Chand to translate his poems into art, resulting in exquisite paintings like the ‘Boat of Love,’ now displayed at the National Museum in Delhi. Their tombs now rest side by side in Vrindavan, a testament to their enduring love. Bani Thani’s grace and elegance are strikingly portrayed in Nihal Chand’s works, characterized by stylized features such as arched eyebrows, elongated lotus-like eyes, and a pointed chin, making her an iconic figure in Rajput painting history.

3. Bhairavi Ragini: Bundi School of Painting

Bundi style emerges as an enchanting fusion, blending the grace of Mughal and the vibrancy of Deccani aesthetics. It is renowned for its vivid portrayals of Krishna-Lila and Rasikapriya, inviting us into a world of divine devotion.

One of the oldest masterpieces of Bundi School of Painting is the Bhairavi Ragini adorning the walls of the Allahabad Museum. Within this scene, a devoted disciple stands in silent reverence at a Shiva temple nestled in the heart of a royal courtyard. Behind her, a tranquil lotus lake mirrors the serenity of her devotion.

Floral offerings are placed before the deity, with the maiden singing melodious carols. Accompanied by the gentle chime of handbells (manjira), her devotion resonates through the vibrant canvas, painted in intense, luminous hues that breathe life into the profound spiritual painting.

4. Nuruddin: Bikaner School of Painting

Painter Nuruddin served in the kingdom of Bikaner from 1672 to 1696, contributing to the distinctive Bikaner style of painting. This style, rooted in Rajasthani tradition, bore influences from Mughal and Deccani aesthetics. Characterized by crisp compositions with expressive yet minimal architectural and landscape elements, it emerged as one of the prominent Rajput painting schools in the late 17th century.

An exquisite example of this style is Nuruddin’s artwork titled “Krishna Swinging and Radha in Sad Mood,” depicting a scene from Rasikapriya. The painting’s canvas is cleverly divided into two halves, with a gentle rolling mound at the center. The upper section showcases a princely interior, while a serene meadow with scattered bushes occupies the lower part, creating a contrast between the royal and natural settings. In the upper section, Krishna is seen joyfully swinging on a hammock in the presence of a Gopi. However, Radha’s heartache upon learning of his rendezvous prompts her to flee into the forest, leaving her desolate beneath a shrub.

This renowned work, representing the emotional depth and artistic finesse of the Rajasthani painter, is now housed in the National Museum in New Delhi. The Bikaner style of painting, influenced by Mughal and Deccani elements, is known for its finer lines and a restrained color palette compared to traditional Mughal art. Artists like Ruknuddin skillfully depicted nature-based backgrounds, court scenes, and architectural elements, contributing to the rich artistic heritage of Bikaner.

5. Dana: Jodhpur School of Painting

Lastly, we have Artist Dana, another renowned painter in the extensive roster of celebrated Rajasthani artists, who created the painting “Chaugan” during Man Singh’s reign. This artwork portrays a princess engaged in a game of Polo (chaugan) with her companions and is executed in the distinctive Jodhpur style.

It displays a blend of stylistic influences from various art schools, including Deccani influences in the depiction of horses and Mughal influences in rendering the women. The use of a flat green background reflects the traditional preference for flat surfaces in Rajasthani art. The upper section of the painting features a line that translates to “beautiful maidens on horses, playing.” Completed in 1810, this masterpiece now finds its home in the National Museum in New Delhi.

Furthermore, Rajasthani paintings gained prominence during the medieval era, thanks to the patronage of royal rulers from different regions of Rajasthan. This collective support earned them the distinctive label of “Rajputana.” These renowned works of art have garnered global recognition and continue to be celebrated paintings worldwide.


These five famous painters from Rajasthan, each representing distinct schools and styles, have contributed significantly to the rich tapestry of Indian art. Their works continue to be cherished and admired, offering a glimpse into the cultural and artistic heritage of this vibrant region.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *