13 Most Famous Indian Paintings Of Modern Times


Painting is a visual art form that expresses ideas, emotions and thoughts in two dimension. In fact, painting forms such as Madhubani painting or Paitkar painting originated some 2,500 years ago. They were painted on walls and floors in ancient times, mostly during festivities. And serve as a medium through which we’ve had a glimpse of our ancient festivities, customs and rituals. Here in this article, we discuss some of the masterpieces by the most accomplished painters of our country – The most famous Indian Paintings of modern times.

Like all art forms, painting evolved with time too. Every period of Indian History, is ear-marked by a certain type of painting. In fact, some of the most  famous paintings of our times have come from period which saw maximum blood shed and human atrocities.

Below is the list of most famous Indian paintings of the modern time:

1. Dandi  March ( Bapuji) By Nandlal Bose 

Nandlal Bose created this piece of work  in 1930. It was to mark Gandhi ji’s Dandi March protest. Dandi March protest was initiated by Mahatma Gandhi. It was against the tax imposed on salt by Britishers.

Source: https://www.museumsofindia.gov.in/

2. Bharat Mata by Abanindranath Tagore 

Bharat Mata  is a water colour painting. It is a personification of Indian subcontinent as ”Bharat Mata”.  She is seen holding – a white cloth, rudrakhsha Mala, bundle of rice and manuscripts. It signifies that she blesses her devotees with – shikhsa, deeksha, ann, vastra.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

3.  Shakuntala by  Raja Ravi Varma 

Shakuntala was created by Raja Ravi Varma in 1870. We see Shakuntala, from Mahabharat, eagerly looking back on the pretext of removing a thorn from her foot.  She is searching for her husband Dushyant. The painting captures the expressions and body languages of Shakuntala and her companions, aptly.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Three Pujarins by Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy was one of the earliest modernist of the art forms in India. His paintings  are mostly centred around the traditional Bengali way of living. His painting, Three Pujarins, depicts mature Bengali women in traditional indigo saree. The Indigo colour of the saree has a historical significance: it refers to the Indigo movement against the British Government.

Source: https://www.museumsofindia.gov.in/

5. Brahmacharis by Amrita Sher-Gil

Brahmacharis was  a part of  Sher-Gil’s South Indian Triology. She painted it in 1937.  It  was inspired from her brief stay in South India in 1937.

Source: wikiart.org

6. Self-portrait by RabindranathTagore

Rabindranath Tagore initially  started making illustrations for his poems and verses.  But, later on in life, he went on to make sketches as well. And Self-portrait was one such sketch: simple, raw and bold yet completely expressive.

Source: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/


7. Ankuran by S.H.Raza

S. H. Raza painted Ankuran  in 1987. Ankuran represents geometrically abstract paintings. And, like all his paintings, has a “bindu,” instead of creative expressions in human figures or landscapes. “Bindu” according to him, is a centre point of all the creative energy in the universe.

Source: https://www.wikiart.org/

8.  Days of glory  by Satish-Gujral

Satish Gujral was a noted painter and a Padma Vibhushan awardee. However, the scope of his artwork goes beyond painting. It encompasses writing, murals and creating sculpture. He created Days of Glory in 1952. It is a  black and white painting. And, reflects human emotions of pain, suffering and trauma which he witnessed during the partition of India and Pakistan.

9.  Mahishasura by Tyeb Mehta

Tyeb Mehta’s  Mahishasura describes the legendary tale  of Mahishasur’s birth. It shows a demon king’s union with a she-buffalo. Which eventually  leads to the birth of his son Mahishasur.

Source: https://engrave.in/

10. Krishna Spring in Kulu Nicholas-Roerich

Russian Artist Nicholas painted Krishna Spring in Kullu in 1930.  The painting shows Krishna playing flute under the shade of a tree in the backdrop of snow mountains.


Source: https://www.wikiart.org/

11. Self portrait by Amrita Sher Gil

Noted Painter, Amrita Sher Gill, started to paint self portraits 1930 onwards. And, these self portraits emphasised her various moods – joyous, sombre and thoughtful. The one below finely captures her seductive and high-spirited mood.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Bengal Women by  Manishi Dey

Manishi Dey was the student of Abanindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan. Abanindranath Tagore laid emphasis on traditional Indian culture art forms. And hence, Dey’s  paintings centred around promoting the traditional Indian Cultural Heritage.Manishi Day  painted Bengal Women  around 1950.  It captures the essence of rural Bengali women.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

13. Horses by Maqbool Fida Husain

M F Husain first created Horses around 1960 as a form of abstract art. However, he has  painted horses throughout his life. And this fondness for horses dates back to his childhood.  When the colours, the glorious Taziyas and decorated horses captured his imagination.

Source: https://artiana.com/

If you know of any other famous Indian paintings that have left their footprints in your hearts and minds: do let us know.

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