The Paintings of India: Crossroads of the World Seniors Film
Free to Seniors
India, Benoy K. Behl, 25 min.
Filmmaker Benoy Behl set out to dispel the idea that “Indians had learned the art of painting from the Mughals and the British,” instead choosing to show the continuity of the painting tradition in India beginning in ancient times. Starting from the murals of Ajanta made more than 2,200 years ago, the series covers an extensive range which leads to Indian painting in modern times.
This pioneering project set out to shoot the great treasures of Indian wall paintings and miniatures. This proved to be a Herculean task, as masterpieces of Indian miniature paintings are spread over scores of private collections and museums all over India and around the world. Furthermore, many Indian mural paintings exist in remote sites all over the country. Many of them are extremely difficult to shoot in their dark and constricted locations; Paintings of India captures and presents art that has never been clearly photographed or shown to the world before.
During the Second Diffusion of Buddhism in the trans-Himalayas in the 11th to the 13th centuries, 108 monasteries are believed to have been established. This film explores the art within these monasteries, painted by Kashmiri painters who set the style of Indian paintings for centuries to come. These monasteries existed along the Trade Route between China and the Mediterranean; along with trade and commerce, philosophical and artistic influences constantly flowed through this area, making it highly influential in culture and art.