Lesson 7: Hindu Art

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What You Will Learn:

  • Explore All Art Movements and Periods

    You will learn about all the leading art movements and periods, such as primitive art, ancient Greek art, the Renaissance, Romanticism, Impressionism, Modernism, and contemporary art. There is also a lot of attention to non-Western art, such as Islamic Art, Hindu Art, Chinese Art, Oceanic Art and African Art, and the globalization of the art world.

  • All Famous Artists and Their Masterpieces

    The course covers important artists like Sultan Muhammad, Fan Kuan, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Utagawa Hiroshige, Vincent van Gogh, Ilya Repin, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Banksy and many more, and discusses their most influential works.

  • Cultural and Historical Context

    Our courses also focus on the study of the cultural, social, political, and economic contexts in which artworks are created.

  • Various Media and Techniques

    You will explore different art forms and techniques, such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and digital art.

Introduction to this course:


Understanding Hindu art requires some insight into Hinduism as a religion. The sculptures, paintings, unique customs, architecture, and the numerous festivals that Hinduism has produced in the context of its religion are not only ancient but still very much alive in Hindu societies in places like India, Nepal, northeastern Sri Lanka, and the Indonesian island of Bali, as well as in many other countries. The influence of Hinduism on architecture and art is significant.

Een fraai uit ebbenhout gesneden afbeelding van de hindoegodin Sita die een rol speelt in het verhaal van de Ramayana.Image: A beautifully carved ebony wood sculpture of the Hindu goddess Sita, an incarnation of Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, who plays a role in the story of the Ramayana. This wood carving was crafted by an artisan between 1950 and 1978 on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Location: This image of Sita comes from the predominantly Hindu island of Bali in Indonesia and is part of the art collection of the Gooise Galerie, an online gallery in the Netherlands. ©Ronnie Rokebrand.

In the Hindu faith, life on Earth has four goals that every person must pursue: Moksha, or the realization of ‘the absolute being’ and the associated liberation from earthly life. Dharma, the pursuit of a good moral life. Artha, the pursuit of material prosperity through the practice of a trade or profession. Kama, the pursuit of human and sexual love.

Trimurti-beeldhouwwerk met de drie hoofden van de hindoegod Shiva in de Elephanta-grotten bij MumbaiImage: A 6.1-meter tall, three-headed statue of Shiva in the Elephanta Caves. These caves, featuring Hindu and Buddhist artworks, are located on an island off the coast of Mumbai. The statue of Shiva is known as the Trimurti sculpture and was likely created around 550 AD. It was carved from basalt stone. The three heads represent three aspects of the Hindu god Shiva: protection (center), creation (right), and destruction (left). In the 1970s, the Elephanta Caves and many of the sculptures inside were extensively restored. The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Location: The Elephanta Caves are situated on Elephanta Island (Gharapuri), which is approximately 2 kilometers west of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port and about 10 kilometers east of the Gateway of India in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Mumbai is in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The Trimurti sculpture is located in cave 1. ©Ronnie Rokebrand.

In Hindu temples, the pursuit of moksha is central, but the statues, symbols, and paintings also serve the pursuit of the other three goals. As a result, many worldly events are depicted, including stories of good and evil, the pursuit of prosperity, and explicit erotic images.

Shiva en Parvati verenigd. Het is in 1659 geschiderd door de kunstenaar Nritya Swora. Het hangt in de National Art Gallery in de Nepalese stad Bhaktapur.Image: The Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati united. This erotically themed artwork was painted by the Nepalese artist Nritya Swora in 1659. Due to the many roles that Shiva plays, as both the creator and destroyer of evil, he is depicted here with multiple faces. On the right, you can see his dark blue face in the role of Bhairab, the destroyer of evil. 
Location: This painting is displayed in the National Art Gallery in Bhaktapur, Nepal. This museum is located at Durbar Square in the historic center of Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon). ©Ronnie Rokebrand.

In addition to countless richly decorated temples of various shapes and sizes, you can also find mystical symbols, magical designs, beautiful sculptures, and cast images from the rich Hindu pantheon everywhere.

Beelden op de Nyatapolatempel in Bhaktapur uit het jaar 1702 na Chr. Het is de hoogste hindoetempel in Nepal. Image: The Nyatapola Temple, dating back to the year 1702 AD, is located in the Nepalese city of Bhaktapur, one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. It is the tallest pagoda in Nepal. The pillars and roof struts of this Hindu temple are beautifully carved from wood by the craftsmen who have worked in this city for centuries. The same applies to the life-sized stone-carved animals that protect the temple.
Location: The Nyatapola Temple is situated in the center of Bhaktapur, Nepal. ©Ronnie Rokebrand.

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