13 night surface and on air expedition to explore in depth Art history of North India
Single Supplement: On Request
North Indian art began in the central Indian mountain range called “Vindyachal” where stone age people left behind permanent expression of their world as rock paintings. After many milleniums of gradual evolution a mighty civilization called “Harappa” was established on the banks of river Indus where art and architecture excels its contemporaries in Mesopotamia, and China. With over 500 well planned urban cities, sculptures, icons, seals, jewelry adn several forms of decorative art have been excavated.
Tha Harappa civilization ends abruptly with the coming of Aryans from Central Europe in 1800 BC. This time the Indian civilization moves to the banks of Ganges and ironically starts once again from a pastoral and rural background. Though limited to religious literature and mythological narratives the art of this period is the foundation of what was to become the classical Indian culture that survives till date.
By 600 BC Greeks conquer the parts of North India resulting in the first school of Indian sculpture called Gandhara”. The existing literary corpus is now applied on plastic art. By 375 BC native kingdoms consolidate into a single large Mouryan Empire who adopt Buddhism as the state religion and anoint this regions with Cave temples, several monuments, figurines, pillars, rock edicts and capitals.
By 100 AD idol worship gains popularity; secular traditions of the ruling class sees Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism co existing and complementing each other in temple architecture and sculpting.
The Gupta dynasty which ruled between 300 AD and 700 AD is considered the Golden age because this period sees art evolving in all its facets. Schools of Sculptures, TEmple Architecture, Theater, Music, Dance, Literature, and fine arts are institutionalized during this phase.
After 800 AD the sub continent is divided into many kingdoms giving rise to fortified cities and battlement architecture. Wars of this period did not effect Art because during this period temple and religion becomes the objective and center for all forms of art.
By the turn of 10th century Islamic invaders enter North india. The early period of Muslim rule sees decline of local art, increase in battlement architecture and rising of domes and minarets. But very soon the Moguls take over not only to revive native art but they also bring in hords of Persian artists and succeed in synthesizing and developing the “Indo-Islamic Art” which is considered as the epitome of Indian Art. The fusion percolates to architecture, philosophy, music, architecture, music, dance, drama, fine arts, such as miniature painting, silk brocade, carpet, ceramic, jeweley, calligraphy, tapestry, wood carving, textile weaving, block printing…
The Moghul rule ended in 18th century when British take over and introducing New Classical styles. Indo Islamic architects go modern in space and layout by developing a new school called the Indo Saracenic style-a unique combination of Hindu, Islamic, and Gothic style of architecture. Visual artist of the period are inspired by European mediums and expand the scales of miniature into large canvas. Generations of artists marinate in the new cauldron of Modern art and take it to great heights after establishing distinct modern art schools in Madras, bengal and Baroda while traditional artists continue developing on the ancient legacy as ancestral profession in temples and religious institutions across the sub continent.
Post independence the country is divided by language. While the modern artists of India are finding their way into Sotheby’s, Cannes, Hollywood traditional artists continue their legacy catering to the ever growing needs of a billion Indians for traditional designs, architecture and performing arts.
• Program designed along the time line of Northern Indian Art
• Visit the charming city of Bhopal to study the stone age art of Bhimbetka
• Learn about Indus Valley Civilization through expert lectures and presentation on Harappan Art
• Explore Sanchi and other Buddhist sites of Mauryan Period
• Experience the Gupta Period of Art by visiting sites and attending demonstrations of performing art and narrative traditions of Northern India
• Learn the development of temple architecture and sculptures of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain art in Khajuraho
• Visit craft villages, and homes of traditional artists to learn about folkllore, pottery, and decorative art
• Experience the opulence of Indo-Islamic art in Agra and jaipur
• Understand the indo-Saracenic architecture and Modern /Art of India in the museums and city facades of New Delhi