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KISHANGARH is a city in central Rajasthan state, northwestern India. It is situated in an upland region southwest of Jaipur on the banks of Lake Gundalao.

The city, with its fort and palace, was founded in 1611 by Kishan Singh, a Rajput. 

Kishangarh, a small town in Rajasthan, presents vivid art and culture. The enriching artistic and cultural traditions of Kishangarh portray the ancient Indian, particularly the Rajasthani way of life. The scintillating arts and crafts and architecture glorify the history enveloping the city of Kishangarh.

The Kishangarh school of the Rajasthani painting style developed during the 18th century. The school is clearly distinguished by its individualistic facial type and its religious intensity. The sensitive, refined features of the men and women are drawn with pointed noses and chins, deeply curved eyes, and serpentine locks of hair. Their action is frequently shown to occur in large panoramic landscapes.

Kishangarh Painting

This series of paintings on the Radha and Krishna theme was due largely to the inspiration of Raja Sawant Singh (reigned 1748–57). 

King Sawant Singh, also a poet who wrote under the name of Nagari Das, was a devout worshiper of Krishna, the divine lover. 

Bani Thani meaning “Lady of Fashion” was a singer in the court of king Sawant Singh and was appointed by the king’s stepmother.  By birth the name of Bani Thani was Vishnupriya. Like Sawant Singh, the King, she was also a poet. Her poems were under the pseudonym of Rasikbihari. The king was enchanted by her beauty and exquisite elegance, and she soon became the king’s mistress. After the king relinquished the throne, the couple retired to a comfortable life in Vrindavan, a place associated with the life of Krishna and Radha,

Kishangarh Painting

It is said that the king modeled as ‘Krishna’ and his mistress, Bani Thani modeled as ‘Radha’, while Nihal Chand transformed their beauty in the form of a painting. Bani Thani turned out to be the legendary face of the “Kishangarh Radha”, an impeccable portrayal of the ideal beauty of Indian womanhood.

The Kishangarh school of art is notable for its elongated style, with "arched eyebrows, lotus-like elongated eyes, and pointed chin" a highly idealized facial form reminiscent of Indian sculpture art. Kishangarh was influenced by Bundi painting in its use of lush vegetation, dramatic night skies, and vivid movement and Mughal painting in its use of side-profile portraits, though it can be distinguished from both of them due to its extremely meticulous details, rich colours, and delicate technique.

Kishangarh Painting


Within the Ashta Nayika (Eight heroines) as classified in the Sanskrit treatise on performing arts - Natya Shastra. Bani Thani is identified as the Vasakasajja Nayika (one dressed up for union) type, with the element of Sringara rasa (romantic flavour) predominating. The painting conveys the passionate and romantic elements of the legend. She has been portrayed with all the elements of Sringara and exaggerated facial features which are unrealistic but striking. This style of portraiture later became the standard of beauty in all the later paintings of the Kishangarh school.

Rajasthani painting differs from the Mughal painting of the imperial ateliers at Delhi and the provincial courts in its bolder use of colour, an abstract and conventionalised conception of the human figure, and an ornamental treatment of landscape. In keeping with the new wave of popular devotionalism within Hinduism, the subjects principally depicted are the legends of the Hindu god Krishna and his favourite companion, Radha. To a lesser extent, there are illustrated scenes from the two major epics of India, the musical modes (ragamalas), and the types of heroines (nayikas). In the 18th century, court portraits, court scenes, and hunting scenes became increasingly common.


Kishangarh Painting


Like Mughal art, Rajasthani paintings were meant to be kept in boxes or albums and to be viewed by passing from hand to hand. The technique is similar to that of Mughal painting, though the materials are not as refined and sumptuous.

The study of Rajasthani painting is comparatively young, and new material is continually being uncovered. Distinct schools have been separated out on the basis of style, such as Mewar painting, Bundi painting, Kishangarh painting, Bikaner, Jaipur, Marwar, and, outside Rajasthan proper, Malwa painting.


Bani Thani


The original painting of Bani Thani is on display at the National Museum, Delhi.

The Indian Postal department issued a stamp with a painting of Bani Thani in 1973.

Inspired by the Kishangarh style of painting I have done water colour paintings. Please check below: 

Sources: Wikipedia.
               Encyclopedia Britannica 
              Daily Art Magazine