WHAT IS A MURAL?
A mural is any piece of artwork applied directly on a permanent surface such as the wall. Kerala mural paintings are one of the ancient murals in India.
They represent culture, poise and equanimity of the era. Also, the paintings follow Fresco Secco technique.
WHAT IS FRESCO SECCO?
Fresco Secco or Fresco Finto is a type of wall painting. It mixes pigments with lime or other organic binders. The types of paint under this technique are tempera, silicate mineral paint, oil paint etc.
Secco painting technique involves mixing pigments with lime water. It is then applied to a dry plaster. On the contrary, Fresco painting involves applying paint to a wet plaster.
Tempera painting is one of the oldest methods in mural paintings. In fact, it mixes pigments with a glutinous material such as egg yolk.
Also, these paintings are very long lasting. In fact, the technique was widely in use. Egg tempera was a fundamental method of painting until the 1500s. It was then taken over by the oil painting technique.
THE REIGN OF KERELA MURAL PAINTING
Kerala is a southwestern state on the Malabar Coast of India. Kerala mural paintings were mostly done in between the 15th and 19th centuries. Most of these sketch the mythology and epoch of Kerala.
Moreover, Kerala mural paintings highlight the saintly devotion of Kerala.
Ancient Dravidian rituals like Kalamezhuthu and Patayani inspired most of the Kerala mural paintings.
FEW CELEBRATED MURAL PAINTINGS IN KERELA
KERALA MURAL PAINTINGS AT KOTTAYAM
Kottayam( a city in Kerala) is India’s first mural city. The city collaborated with many Indian and Foreign artists. They worked together to create an extravaganza.
Needless to say, the city of Kottayam has turned into a virtual gallery.
THE SHIVA TEMPLE AT ETTUMANOOR
The Shiva Temple at Ettumanoor, in Kottayam, overflows with ancient Dravidian mural paintings. The Nataraja ( dancing Lord Shiva) painting is very popular among the rest.
Besides, it is famous for possessing 7 and a half elephants made of gold also known as Ezharaponnaana in Malayalam.
KUMARANALLOOR DEVI TEMPLE
Kumaranalloor is a suburb of Kottayam city in Kerala. It is famous for Kumaranalloor Devi temple and its Trikarthika festival.
The outside walls of the sanctum sanctorium bear the murals.
The paintings mainly depict Hindu gods and goddesses. Also, it illustrates incidents from Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Krishnapuram Palace at Kanyamkulam is an archaeological museum in Alappuzha district, Kerala. It exhibits ‘Gajendra Moksham’, a 3 meters height mural.
It is one of the largest murals discovered in Kerala. ‘Gajendra Moksham’ means salvation or ‘moksha’ of the elephant King Gajendra.
THIRUNANDIKARA CAVE TEMPLE
Thirunandikara Cave Temple is now a part of Kanyakumari district. In fact, it has the oldest types of Kerala mural paintings.
Most of the paintings depict stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Also, the paintings have used natural colors and vegetable pigments.
Although the caves had richly decorated paintings yet only faded outlines are visible at present.
Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace lies at Ernakulam in Kerala. It is a portrait gallery of the Kochin Rajas ( Kings of Kochi, Kerala).
Also, it has the oldest mythological Kerala mural paintings. The murals are in rich warm colors with tempera technique.
Kerala Mural Paintings are treasurable mementoes of the Indian art history. Needless to say, the divine history of Kerala bestows upon India’s glorified heritage. Thus, these paintings bridge the gap between the history and present age of India.
The art of mural painting is seraphic. You could learn them too. However, there are very few places that offer the authenticity of this art.
Pencil and Chai is one such platform in Bangalore that has kept alive the historicity of mural paintings.