Q.) Examine the salient features of Patna Kalam Painting Style. (63 BPSC/2019)

Ans– The Patna School of paintings is popularly known as Patna Kalam Painting or the company paintings. it was derived from the Mughal paintings and was developed between the 18th and mid-20th centuries. In Bihar popularly around the present-day Patna region.

Patna Kalam’s painting what the world’s first school of paintings which exclusively dealt with the commons and the lifestyle. these paintings include portraits and works of the working-class i.e., carpenters, washermen, potters, etc.

“The Britishers used to buy the painting as souvenirs from Patna. the paintings and family rise with the lifestyle of people here. the masterpieces of this art form are outside country.”
– Mr. Shyam Sharma, Former Principal
(Patna school of Art and Craft)


Patna Kalam’s paintings were the derivative of the famous Mughal miniature paintings which are very small and detailed. the Mughal paintings were a fusion of Indian and Persian styles.

After the decline of Mughal paintings in the reason of Aurangzeb, a bunch of people including several artisans migrated to Murshidabad due to the anti-Hindu approach and its policies. letter from Murshidabad they migrated to Patna due to persecution of Nawab of Bengal in the hands of the British. that is migrated to Patna started their unique theme of painting based on Mughal paintings where the frame was based on commons and their lifestyle and so the Patna Kalam painting evolved.


  1. Simplistic and lucid.
  2. Fusion of native and foreign elements.
  3. Paintings for directly made by brush,
  4. No use of pencils to delineate the contours, the technique was called Kajali Sethi.
  5. Foreground and background were not used in paintings.
  6. It was a small and detailed painting that focused majorly on its theme.
  7. The brush was made from the fur of animals.


  1. Unlike Mughal paintings School subjects were physically based on royalty and in Hote paintings, Patna Kalam’s subject was the common people with inclusive Bazar, festivals, local rulers, and ceremonies.
  2. The colour of the painting is indigenously developed from plants and animals. for example-To develop a light yellow color they used to mix turmeric with milk.
  3. The paintings were developed on the Ivory, Mica, and paper from bamboo sticks.
  4. The paintings were based on the Indo-Western style comprised of local, Mughals, and European.
  5. The brushes in the painting for made from animals like goats, horses, etc.
  6. Directly made with a brush without any sketches.
  7. Kajali Seahi was the technique used in which the outlines were not made in paintings.

One striking element of the Patna Kalam is the portrayal of regular neighborhood life rather than that of simply those having a place with the privileged and sovereignty. Later on, painters additionally gave their hands a shot appointed and individual works and portrayals of nature, yet their adherence to the Firkas kept them attached to the genuine roots.

Patna Kalam’s compositions can be grouped fundamentally into three classifications; Miniature Firkas portraying day-to-day existence, which had a huge customer base of European clients, representations of individuals, items, and creatures, and in conclusion, miniatures of get-togethers like relationships and celebrations. With everything taken into account, the Patna Kalam painters were people’s artists.

Famous painters of Patna Kalam Painting and their works–

  1. Shivala– Muslim wedding
  2. Gopal Lal– Holi
  3. Mahadev Lal– Rani Gandhati
  4. Ishwari Prasad Verma– Bharat Mata

Causes of decline–

  1. The recognition of the paintings was reduced.
  2. Lack of demand for the paintings.
  3. Lack of patronage.
  4. Introduction of Photography in the Western region.
  5. Establishment of Litho Press in 1861.
  6. Partition socio-economic conditions detained.

Though Paintings got lots of patronage in the mid-18th century it got declined due to socio-economic factors. it is currently preserved at Patna Museum, Government colleges of Patna, and Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Library. The Government of Bihar put forth a splendid attempt to restore this 200-year-old Patna school of smaller than usual artistic creations by distributing them in the calendar in 2010 interestingly post-freedom. The goal behind distributing this subject-based 2010 schedule is to feature Bihar’s rich legacy of workmanship and culture. To make people mindful of the traditional paintings of Patna Kalam that made an extraordinary social character to Bihar.

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