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Reverse Glass Painting

Reverse Glass Painting | Showtime Event


Reverse Glass Painting

Reverse glass painting is a common yet fascinating form of art. Widely known as folk art, it flourished in the mid 19th century and is popular until today. Such paintings were always held in high regard and very popular among all sections of society. Reverse glass paintings were present everywhere, from royal courts to zamindari properties, with a story behind every painting. .

What is a Reverse Glass Painting?

Reverse glass painting is a form of art that involves applying paint to a glass piece and then viewing the image by turning the glass over and looking at the picture through the glass.

Indian Reverse Glass Paintings

Reverse glass paintings arrived after the 16th and 17th centuries in India when the Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French established a global trade network. The foreign companies developed offices along the coast of India and formed an interest in the ‘exotic’. After that, the colonized Indian population tried to mimic foreign interests, which caused a spike in imported goods. Reverse glass paintings were a part of these imported goods and finally reached India in the latter half of the 18th century.

One of the distinctive features of Indian reverse glass paintings is that they were a fascinating mix of Indian and foreign elements. These elements reflected the aspirations and aesthetics of that time. Indian reverse glass paintings often reflected the popularity of theatre, depicted deities and mythological themes. The popularity of photography and the influence of illustrated postcards are also visible in reverse glass paintings.

Reverse Glass Paintings - An Overview of the 19th and 20th Century

Towards the end of the 19th century and the commencement of the 20th, printed images became immensely popular. All artists, including reverse glass painters, started imitating the style. Ravi Varma was one of the initial painters to make prints of deities and mythological subjects popular. The reverse glass paintings that were often found in puja rooms and holy places eventually got replaced by his lithographs as they were much cheaper and less fragile. Reverse glass paintings got lost in other forms of art years before, but now they are again gaining the spotlight and are considered to be prized collectibles.

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