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While we are inundated with a special piece of art every day, there are certain special artworks that have transcended time and culture to claim their stake in Indian art history. For many years, the masterpieces have held the attention of the art connoisseurs for their ethereal beauty and the story they hold within. Every stroke of brush, every drop of colour brings the canvas alive.  

Let us look at some of the most famous Indian paintings. 

Horses by M F Hussain 

When you talk about Indian art, Indian artists and famous Indian paintings, you cannot miss referring to Maqbool Fida Hussain, one of the most prolific and celebrated artists in the world from India.  

This painting by the Indian maestro perfectly captures the power, and energy of the three horses through its bold outlines. Rated among Hussain Saab’s one of the best works of his life, this painting was placed on auction at Christie’s in London in 2008, and it fetched more than Rs. 1 crore, a testament to the beauty of the art and the artist’s brilliant artistry. 

Shakuntala by Raja Ravi Verma 

One of the most iconic paintings of India, Shakuntala is made by the renowned and the celebrated artist, Raja Ravi Verma. One of his countless masterpieces, Ravi Verma, depicts Shakuntala as an important character in the epic mythology Mahabharat who is pretending to be removing a thorn that pricked her foot. However, she is searching for her lover and husband, Dushyanta. The twist and the turn of the head and the body perfectly captures the real essence of the narrative.

Bharat Mata by Abanindranath Tagore 

If you are looking for the best Indian art paintings of all time, you cannot look past this iconic piece of art by Abanindranath Tagore. The founder of Bengal School of Art, Abanindranath’s Bharat Mata depicts a woman wearing a saffron-coloured saree and looks like a Sadhvi, holding a book, a piece of white cloth, a garland and sheaves of paddy in her four hands.  

The painting holds an important place in Indian history and it is said to have inspired many nationalists during India’s fight against the British for Independence. It evoked a sense of patriotism and deepest emotions amongst people to fight for their rights.  

Another interesting story attached to the painting is that, Sister Nivedita, a renowned freedom fighter from Bengal admired the painting so much that she wanted to carry it from Kashmir to Kanyakumari to spread the national fervour all over the country and awaken the country’s men and women and inspire them to fight for Bharat Mata, their homeland.  

Bapuji by Nandlal Bose 

We all know that Mahatma Gandhi was one of the greatest freedom fighters in the world. His philosophy of non-violence and Satyagraha was and is an inspiration to many. However, not many people know that Gandhiji or Bapu, as he was fondly known, was also an inspiration and a muse for many artists back in the day, including the legendary Indian artist, Nandalal Bose.  

An artist from Shantiniketan, Bose, once stated that Bapu is an inspiration for all artists. And, inspired by his life and work, he created the famous linocut portrait of Mahatma Gandhi depicting his walk during the Dandi March with the word, ‘Bapuji’ inscribed on it. Created in 1930, the portrait is considered to be one of the best Indian paintings and it is on permanent display at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi.

Three Pujarins by Jamini Roy 

An eminent artist from Bengal, Jamini Roy is counted among the early modernists of Indian art in the 20th century. He created this masterpiece, featuring three almond-eyed priestesses and named it Three Pujarins at a time when it was difficult to think of a priest being a woman in India.  

Jamini Roy was greatly inspired by the folk-art tradition of Bengal, and he always experimented with vibrant colours and developed his unique style of painting and all his works over the years are a visual feast that till date continues to inspire modern aspiring artists in Bengal and all over India.  

Bindu by S H Raza 

Syed Haider Raza is one of the most popular Indian artists who is credited to popularise Indian iconography worldwide. Throughout his long and illustrious career, all of Raza’s work had one focal point of energy, i.e., the bindu or shunya.  

Raza's first solo exhibition was held in 1946, and throughout his career, his art continued to evolve. However, by the 70’s, he found the motif that would make him a legend that he is today when you created his masterpiece the Bindu. 

Apart from these masterpieces, the Indian artists have created many other stunning pieces of art. You can enjoy seeing them and get to know about the beautiful story behind them at the various art galleries around India.

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