Origin and Historical Background:
Mysore Painting is a form of classical South Indian painting, which evolved in the Mysore city of Karnataka. During the reign of the Wodeyarsand under their patronage the Mysore school of painting reached its height. Mysore school whose best tradition was evident during the 17th, 18th and 19th century was relatively unknown to the world. The paintings evolved as a refinement of the old Vijayanagar school as is evident from the art forms in the ceiling of the Sri Virupaksha temple at the Hampi in Bellary district. In 1565 after the Vijayanagar empire fell then it came to be called the Mysore school of painting. Raja Wodeyar rehabilitated the families of painters who were in distress after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire. The successors of Raja Wodeyar namely "Ranadhira Kantheerava Narasimharaja Wodeyar" and "Chikka devaraja Wodeyar" patronized art by getting the various temples painted with deities and mythological scenes. But the consequent wars between Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and the British led to loss of these treasures. The Mysore style was again revived in early years of the 19th century under "Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar" (1799-1868). Some of the most beautiful and refined work was produced during his rule as the king himself took a very keen and personal interest in the art of painting. The illustrations in the manuscript of the famous cultural encyclopedia 'Sri Tattva-nidhi' are examples of the king's sophisticated taste and patronage. Mysore paintings form a significant tradition of the classical south Indian paintings. These paintings are famous for their elegance, peculiar usage of colors and the stress on detailing. It requires tremendous hard work, patience as well as extraordinary expertise and proficiency to make a piece of Mysore painting. Under British hegemony, the Wodeyars, freed from security concerns, shifted attention to the patronage of the fine arts. Under their patronage, Mysore became a cultural centre of Karnataka, fostering a number of famous musicians, writers and painters.
Artists have different mindsets in terms of economy. In earlier times homeless artists used to take refuge in king’s palace or wealthy people. Instead of giving money, they used to make paintings for them. Now a days, artists decide the price of the painting on the basis of amount of gold foil used in the painting and the skill involved. Today also only wealthy people can afford to buy them. Carrying the old tradition in modern time is a status symbol for people.