A few exceptional works stand out while discussing famous Indian paintings as they have defied time and culture to claim their rightful position in art history.
These paintings are well-known for their aesthetic appeal and the reality that each brushstroke carries with every colour drop narrating a unique story.
Here are the top 10 most famous paintings of India.
Self Portrait – Amrita Sher-Gil
Self Portrait painting by Amrita Sher-Gil was painted in the year 1933.
She was one of the most significant modern artists when she was just 18 years old. She was named a national treasure in December 1976 due to Sher-Gil’s ‘artistic and aesthetic value.’
Shakuntala – Raja Ravi Verma
Shakuntala, a painting by a celebrated artsist, Raja Ravi Verma. The piece is an oil painting created in 1870. The artist displays Shakuntala looking for her lover/husband, Dushyantha while feigning to remove a thorn from her foot.
Bapuji – Nandlal Bose
Bapuji is a painting made by artist Nandalal Bose who shared many of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals and had a good relationship with him.
Painted in 1930, it is a linocut portrait that depicts Gandhi in his 386 km Dandi march, a significant act of the Indian freedom movement.
Bharat Mata – Abanindranath Tagore
Bharat Mata is one of the most iconic paintings of Abanindranath Tagore, created in 1905. The painting portrays a saffron-clad woman dressed like a sadhvi holding a book with a piece of white cloth, sheaves of paddy, and a mala in four hands.
Mahishasura – Tyeb Mehta
Mahishasura, the first Indian painting, sold for $1.584 million at Christie’s in 2005, created by contemporary artist Tyeb Mehta. The work reinterprets the legend of the Brahmin Demon-King Rambha, who produced an invincible son, Mahishasura, with a she-buffalo.
Self-Portrait – Rabindranath Tagore
At 63, Rabindranath Tagore started painting, though the element was present through doodles and numerous corrections in the manuscripts. This self-portrait shows Tagore’s entire bearded face.
Three Pujarins – Jamini Roy
Jamini Roy, one of the major artists of the 20th century, is believed to be the earliest modernist in Indian art. The painting, Three Pujarins, showcases three worshipping women in a remarkably mature style. Inspired by the Bengal folk art tradition, Roy painted the work with black, thick contour lines.
Horses – M F Husain
M.F. Husain liked depicting horses’ liveliness and free spirit in his various works. In this painting, through bold outlines, he illustrates the energy and power of three horses defining them in full gallop. ‘Horses’ was auctioned in 2008 at Christie’s and collected over INR 1 cr.
Bindu – S H Raza
S H Raza defined the painting as, “Bindu is a source of energy, life.”
He was a legendary modern artist who played a crucial role in popularizing Indian iconography globally. With his first solo exhibition conducted in 1946, Raza’s development of art continued throughout his life.
Glow of Hope – S L Haldankar
A painting of a young, timid girl with a lamp in hand is a picture of S L Haldankar’s daughter. The soft, subtle use of colours, and the portrayal of light reflecting from the girl’s fingers, have made the piece renowned worldwide.