Mysore Paintings versus Tanjore Paintings

Thanjore Paintings

The patrons of this art were the Nayakas of Tanjore. This school, as mentioned above was an offshoot of the Vijayanagar School and is known for vibrant colors, opulent surface and immense use of Gold foils. The dominant themes are Hindu gods, goddesses, and saints. These paintings are created on wooden plank, so also known as palagai padam (palagai-wooden plank, padam-picture) in local parlance.

Difference between Mysore Paintings and Tanjor Paintings




Gesso work

Low in relief & intricate

Thick gold relief

Preparation of Gesso

Gesso is prepared by mixing white lead powder, gamboges and glue.

Raw lime powder is used along with a paste made of powdered tamarind seed for Gesso work


Paper on Cloth and wood

Cloth with wood as base (palagai padam)





More emphasis on emphasis is on fine lines and delicate detail, especially on corner scroll designs, clothing and other decorative elements.

Lesser emphasis

Has no gem settings and glass embellishments

Has gem settings and glass embellishments


Current state of Mysore and Tanjore Paintings

Both the Tanjore and Mysore school of paintings have a flourishing market in India today and these paintings are loved by souvenir collectors as part of one’s collectibles, the investment angle not withstanding.

The themes in Mysore and Tanjore Paintings

Stylised modelling of characters chosen from mythology mainly formed the subject matter. Encompassed in numerous epic tales, Lord Krishna has always remained every Tanjore and Mysore artist’s delight apart from other deities.