Around 1st century BC the Sadanga or Six Limbs of Indian Painting, were evolved, a series of canons laying down the main principles of the art. Vatsyayana, who lived during the third century A.D., enumerates these in his Kamasutra having extracted them from still more ancient works.
These 'Six Limbs' have been translated as follows:
1. Rupabheda The knowledge of appearances.
2. Pramanam Correct perception, measure and structure.
3. Bhava Action of feelings on forms.
4. Lavanya Yojanam Infusion of grace, artistic representation.
5. Sadrisyam Similitude.
6. Varnikabhanga Artistic manner of using the brush and colours. (Tagore.)
The subsequent development of painting by the Buddhists indicates that these ' Six Limbs ' were put into practice by Indian artists, and are the basic principles on which their art was founded.
RUPABHEDA - The knowledge of appearances.
As regards the realistic depiction of the objects, the text considers it essential to lend credibility to their depictions. The text, therefore, reckons rupa-bheda and sadrushya, among the six essential elements of a painting. Rupa-bheda consists in the knowledge of special characteristics of things – natural or manmade; say, the differences in appearances among many types of men, women or natural objects or other subjects of the painting ; while Sadrushya aims to depict, in painting, those distinctions and resemblances.
There was an indication of change in the aesthetic vision.This change in the mode of expression is the fundamental sprit of progress as the ‘rupa-bheda’ between the 19th and 20th century painting. This ‘Rupa-bheda’ is apparent when one considers Raja Ravi Varmas’s Beggar Women or Gaganendranath Tagore’s Horse Ride with any painting belonging to the latter half of the 19th century Kangra School.
Ravi Varma’s line are more flamboyant and they do not have the same liquid fluidity of the Kangra School while Gaganendranath Tagore’s Horse Rider is even one...