Art, is a very precious heritage in the culture of a people. “It is more so in India, where the story of art is as old as the history of the race- a panorama of five thousand years. The essential quality of Indian art is its preoccupation with things of the spirit. Art in India did not aim at objective presentation of the human or social facets of life.
It was primarily the fruit of the artist’s creative meditation and effort to project symbols of divine reality as conceived and understood by the collective consciousness of the people as a whole. It is a vast, unending social and religious endeavor of devotees to depict the forms of the gods and goddesses they worshiped.
Any tourist desirous of understanding the real significance of Indian art should be prepared patiently to go to the length and breadth and savour deep of the symbolic meanings that make up a world of their own. “Indian religion does not yield its secret to one who only skims the surface; and of the same mysterious, secretive essence is the art of India” . The essential truth in the art of India is the tribute to the abstract and unmanifest power behind the material world, the primeval source of all things.
Indian painting has a history of over two thousand years and presents a comprehensive record of the religious and emotional life of the people. The art of painting was widely cultivated in the Gupta period and is best known through the paintings surviving in the Ajanta Caves, and also in the Bagh caves. “The artist in the Indian tradition had long been exploring man’s inner experiences and his creative energies. The aesthetic enjoyment within the Indian tradition was supported, and geared toward, an art expertise that took place within the citta – the artistic centre wherever the acceptable shape/form of an image was determined”.
Indian art is an immediate expression of Indian civilization as a whole. It represents beliefs and philosophies, ideals and outlooks, the materialized vitality of the society and its spiritual endeavors in varying stages of development. To understand the art of India(Shanti Swarup, 1967), “it is necessary to estimate the formative influences that have gone into the moulding of the aesthetic sensitiveness of the people.”