Pichwai is a tradional style of painting from Rajasthan and usually depicts Lord Krishna and related stories. They show various moods of Krishna and are executed in the miniature style. Pichwai catches devotee's eyes instantly.
More often than not, the artists work collectively under the supervision of a head artist.
A typical Pichwai has 24 boxes around called Swaroops. Each of them has a Krishna, Gopis and various other elements. The elaborate Shringar of Shrinathji is captivating. There is so much that happens in Pichwai and yet it doesn't feel crowded. Despite having various figurines and elements in it Pichwai is a sheer example of Aesthetic balance and beauty. The colors and the vibrancy of the Pichwai are its USP. The touch of vibrant natural colors on the fabric or paper give out a certain kind of romance that speaks for itself.
Originally Pichwai was painted on the hand spun starched cotton fabric. The artisans would then sketch the art on that starched cloth. Then the decorative and beautiful images were created. The images were then ready to be painted with completely organic and natural colors, paints and even natural brushes. These colors were obtained from coals indigo, gold, silver saffron, zinc, and other natural sources. in brilliant colors or woven with hand blocks. The bright and intense colors like yellow, green, black, red dominate the Pichwai. The ornate part would get the pure Gold as color. The borders are enhanced with crystals and other decorative elements.
Pichwais traditionally were life size paintings as they were hung behind the deity in a temple but as time passed by the size of the paintings started reducing. Also, the paper is used as an alternative instead of cotton fabric. A Pichwai now belongs everywhere. Because of their beauty and brilliance, Pichwais are now also hung on house walls and other places and are no longer restricted to the temples. Hence, the artists are now making paintings of smaller proportions, which are apt for the smaller homes of today.
Our Pichwai artist, Sushil Soni ji has been practicing this art since his childhood. We met him at a handicraft fair in New Delhi and have been an admirer of his attention to detail. He loves to collaborate with us on new ideas and we want his story to be heard by the world