According to the Hindu Shilpa or the Code of Art the fundamental rules of painting are:-
Rupabhedah pramani bhava-lavnay-yojanam |
Sadrishyam varnakabhangam iti chitram shadakam||
Rupa is ‘form’, visual as well as mental and ‘Bheda’ means ‘Difference’, such as the difference between forms instinct with life and beauty and the forms which have no beauty, no life. The study and practice of Rupabheda enable us to see and depict things as they are and as they appear visually.
From our birth to the day of our death, we live with Rupa (Form), seeing it with our eyes, touching it with the five organs of our senses, and feeling it with our mind. Jyoti Pasyati Rupani—it is the light which sees (and shows) forms, light waves from the planets, as well as the inner light of our soul, reveal Form to us, diversely shaped, differently moulded and coloured.
In the Mahabharata, Santiparva, Mokshadharma chapter 184, Verses 33-34, Rupa is defined as follows:- ‘Harsva’ short or stunted, ‘Dirgha’ long or lean, ‘Sthula’ material, corpulent or bulky, ‘chaturasra’ square or angular, ‘Anuvrittyam’ rounded or circular, ‘Sukla’ clean, pure and white, ‘Krishna’ black or somber, ‘Rakta’ red or radiant, ‘Pita’ yellow and pallid. ‘Nilaruna’ purple (also of mixed colours), Kathina hard and severe. ‘Chikkana’ sleek, glossy and smooth, ‘slakna’ slim, fine delicate and small, ‘Picchila’ slimy, gliding or feathery, and spreading like a peacock’s tail, ‘Mridu’ soft and tender, ‘Daruna’ rough and woody, stony and terrible.
Endless and varied are the forms which our senses feel, perceive and observe. Rupabheda means the analysis and synthesis of forms given to us by our five senses and our soul, or mind.
When we approach Rupa merely with our senses, it is only the differences of visual things, or the outward form of things which we catch; it is either short or long, circular or angular, big or small, dark or fair, rigid or the reverse. So there cannot be much difference between my seeing, your...