Famous Indian Artists & Painters

India with its rich heritage in arts and culture has produced a multitude of distinguished artists and painters. Starting from the pre-historic times, Indian painters have played a major role in shaping the cultural development of the country. Indian paintings historically revolved around the religious deities and mythology, as can be seen from large frescoes of Ajanta to the intricate Mughal miniature paintings. Several schools of art flourished in India, and the Bengal School of art which flourished in India during the British Raj in the early 20th century was promoted by artists such as Raja Ravi Varma and Abanindranath Tagore. Other prominent painters influenced by the school were Nandalal Bose, M.A.R Chughtai, Sunayani Devi, Manishi Dey, and Mukul Dey. The spreading of Modernist ideas led to the emergence of distinguished painters like Amrita Sher-Gil whose work was declared as art treasures by The Archaeological Survey of India. While some Indian painters were inspired by Western art, others like Jamini Roy, drew inspiration from folk art. Eminent artists like K. H. Ara, S. K. Bakre, H. A. Gade, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza and F. N. Souza revitalized Indian art in the post-independence era while Anjolie Ela Menon, Baiju Parthan, and Devajyoti Ray are popular contemporary painters. Read on to discover about the life and works of famous Indian painters.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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Rabindranath Tagore
13
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

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Raja Ravi Varma
4
Birthdate: April 29, 1848
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kilimanoor, Travancore, India
Died: October 2, 1906

One of the greatest Indian painters of all time, Raja Ravi Varma is best remembered for mixing Indian mythological subjects with the Western historicist style of art. His painting skills made the king of Travancore his patron at 14. His best-known works include The Milkmaid and The Begum’s Bath.

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M. F. Husain
(Painter)

M. F. Husain
4
Birthdate: September 17, 1915
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India
Died: June 9, 2011

M. F. Husain was an Indian artist and filmmaker best remembered for his association with Indian modernism during the 1940s. A founding member of the Progressive Artists' Group, Husain was one of the 20th century's most renowned Indian artists. In 1991, M. F. Husain was honored with India's second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan.

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Anish Kapoor
(Sculpture known for works like Cloud Gate in Chicago and Sky Mirror in New York, he won the Premio Duemila Prize in 1990 and the Turner Prize in 1991.)

Anish Kapoor
4
Birthdate: March 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, india

Born in India, sculptor Anish Kapoor initially studied engineering in Israel but soon quit his studies to study art in Britain. The Turner Prize-winning artist was the first living artist to earn a solo show at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. The Cloud Gate in Chicago remain his best-loved work.

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Amrita Shergil
(Greatest avant-garde women artists of the early 20th century)

Amrita Shergil
5
Birthdate: January 30, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: December 5, 1941

Amrita Sher-Gil was a Hungarian-Indian painter best remembered as a pioneer of modern Indian art. Widely regarded as one of the early-20th century's greatest avant-garde women artists, Sher-Gil's work has influenced several Indian artists like Arpita Singh and Sayed Haider Raza. Her life and career inspired the 1969 documentary film Amrita Sher-Gil which was directed by Bhagwan Das Garga.

Soumitra Chatterjee
4
Birthdate: January 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Krishnanagar, Bengal Presidency, British India

Soumitra Chatterjee was an Indian film actor, director, writer, playwright, singer, and poet. He often collaborated with prominent director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in 14 films. A veteran actor with over 210 film appearances, he was the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema given by the government of India.  

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Bal Thackeray
(Politician, Journalist, Painter)

Bal Thackeray
10
Birthdate: January 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai
Died: November 17, 2012

Legendary Indian politician Bal Thackeray, or Balasaheb Thackeray, was the patriarch of one of the most influential political families of India and the founder of the Shiv Sena. He went from being a cartoonist to the godfather of Maharashtra, though his overtly regional and Hindu nationalist ideals were often criticized.

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Bharathan
(Film Maker, Artist)

Bharathan
3
Birthdate: November 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wadakanchery, Trichur, Kingdom of Cochin
Died: July 30, 1998

Bharathan was an Indian artist, filmmaker, and art director. He earned a diploma from the College of Fine Arts, Thrissur, and began his career as an art director in films. He eventually started working as an assistant director and made his directorial debut in 1975 with the film Prayanam. Many of his films dealt with bold themes. 

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Devdutt Pattanaik
(Mythographer)

Devdutt Pattanaik
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, India

Indian mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik has redefined the genres of Indian folklore, legends and myths by retelling ancient tales through his books. A qualified physician, he later studied comparative mythology and penned bestsellers such as My Gita. His shows, such as Business Sutra and Devlok, have been hits, too.

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Jamini Roy
(Indian painter)

Jamini Roy
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bankura, West Bengal, India
Died: April 24, 1972

Padma Bhushan-winning artist Jamini Roy is remembered for introducing his own style of painting that mingled Western and Indian influences. Once a disciple of Rabindranath Tagore, he excelled in the Kalighat Pat style and depicted Bengali folk life through his works. He was declared as one of the ASI’s Nine Masters of Art.

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Kelly Dorji
(Actor, Model)

Kelly Dorji
3
Birthdate: January 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Thimphu, Bhutan

Kelly Dorji is a Bhutanese actor, artist, and model known for his work in the Indian film industry. After starting his career as a model, Dorji went on to appear in popular films. Dorji is renowned for performing his own stunts in films. Kelly Dorji has also played a major role in increasing the popularity of Bhutanese films in Bhutan.

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Mario Miranda
(Cartoonist, Painter)

Mario Miranda
0
Birthdate: May 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Daman, India
Died: December 11, 2011

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Bhanu Athaiya
(Costume designer)

Bhanu Athaiya
0
Birthdate: April 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolhapur, Kolhapur State, India
Died: October 15, 2020

Legendary Indian costume designer Bhanu Athaiya won India its first Oscar for her work in Gandhi. Throughout her illustrious career, she had worked with legendary directors such as Yash Chopra and Raj Kapoor. Initially a fashion magazine illustrator, she was also interested in painting but later chose fashion designing instead.

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Bishnu Prasad Rabha
(Politician, Writer)

Bishnu Prasad Rabha
3
Birthdate: January 31, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Died: June 20, 1969

Remembered as a cultural icon of Assam, Bishnu Prasad Rabha is popularly known as the Assamese Leonardo da Vinci and Kalaguru. A musician known for composing Rabha Sangeet, he also penned poems and was a skilled dancer. He was later associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party of India.

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Nek Chand
(Artist)

Nek Chand
2
Birthdate: December 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Shakargarh Tehsil, Pakistan
Died: June 12, 2015

Nek Chand was an Indian artist, architect, and sculptor. He is best remembered for building an 18-acre sculpture garden named the Rock Garden of Chandigarh which is visited by millions of people annually. In 1984, Nek Chand was honored with India's fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri.

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Tyeb Mehta
(Indian painter)

Tyeb Mehta
2
Birthdate: July 25, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kapadvanj, Gujarat, India
Died: July 2, 2009

Padma Bhushan-winning painter Tyeb Mehta is remembered for mingling abstract and expressionist elements in his work and for using diagonal shapes of color. He briefly worked as a film editor before stepping into the world of art and later also joined the Progressive Artists Group. Kali remains one of his iconic works.

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Svetoslav Roerich
2
Birthdate: October 23, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: January 30, 1993

The son of Russian painter and cultural icon Nicholas Roerich and theosophist Helena Roerich, Svetoslav Roerich grew up studying architecture and eventually experimented with landscape and portrait painting, influenced by expressionism. He later moved to India, where he married actor Devika Rani and was awarded a Padma Bhushan.

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Vasudeo S. Gaitonde
2
Birthdate: 1924 AD
Birthplace: Nagpur, India
Died: August 10, 2001

Vasudeo S. Gaitonde is remembered as one of the most significant modern abstract painters from India. The Padma Shri winner was born to working-class Goan parents in Nagpur. He won an art scholarship at 19 and never looked back. His works are said to have been influenced by calligraphy.

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Ustad Mansur
(Painter)

Ustad Mansur
2
Birthdate: 1590 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 1624 AD

Ustad Mansur was an Indian painter and court artist. He is best remembered for his work during the reign of Jahangir when he excelled at depicting animals and plants. He is also renowned for his depiction of the dodo and the Siberian crane.

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Anjolie Ela Menon
2
Birthdate: July 17, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Burnpur, Asansol

Padma Shri-winning artist Anjolie Ela Menon is known for her use of vibrant colors and her love for religious themes, nudes, and portraits. Her works also mirrored a cubist influence. She earned an art scholarship to Paris and later experimented with various media, such as oil, computer graphics, and glass.

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F.N. Souza
(Artist)

F.N. Souza
1
Birthdate: April 12, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Goa, India
Died: March 28, 2002

The man behind Mumbai’s Progressive Artists' Group, F.N. Souza was one of the most prominent contemporary painters and didn’t stick to a particular style. He experimented with various subjects, including erotic elements and Christian themes. The Guggenheim International Award winner spent is later years in New York.

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Ganesh Pyne
(Painter)

Ganesh Pyne
1
Birthdate: June 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: March 12, 2013

Known for his poetic surrealism, Ganesh Pyne was one of the most prominent figures of the Bengal School of Art. Initially an illustrator and animator, he later blended elements of cubism and black-and-white cinema with Bengali folklore in his works. He stayed away from the limelight and even art exhibitions.

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B. C. Sanyal
(Artist)

B. C. Sanyal
1
Birthdate: April 22, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dhubri, India
Died: August 9, 2003

B. C. Sanyal was an Indian sculptor, painter, and art teacher. Widely regarded as the master of modernism in Indian art, Sanyal inspired three generations of artists. In 1980, Sanyal was awarded the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship, India's highest honor in visual arts. In 1984, he was honored with India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan.

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Abu'l-Hasan
(Painter)

Abu'l-Hasan
1
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Birthplace: Herat, Afghanistan
Died: 1630 AD

Seventeenth-century Mughal painter Abu'l-Hasan was not just patronized by Emperor Jahangir but was also named Nādir al-Zamān, or Wonder of the Age, by him. He was known for his miniature painting and portraits. One of his best-known works was the chinar tree with squirrels, now displayed at the India Office Library.

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Basawan
(Painter)

Basawan
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India

Basawan was an Indian miniature painter who served as a court painter for Akbar. He is best remembered for his illustrations in Akbar's official biography Akbarnama where Basawan's use of portraiture was seen as an innovation in India at that time. He was also one of the first Indian artists to show a keen interest in Western paintings and techniques.

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Manohar Das
(Painter)

Manohar Das
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India

Manohar Das was an Indian painter who succeeded his father Basawan as court painter for Mughal Emperor Akbar. After serving as a court painter for Akbar, Manohar Das went on to serve under Akbar's successor Jahangir. Many of Manohar Das' works, which depict the royal families at court, can be seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.

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Sahibdin
(Painter)

Sahibdin
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India

Sahibdin was an Indian miniature painter best remembered for his association with the Mewar School of painting. One of the most important painters of 17th century India, Sahibdin is renowned for incorporating elements of the famous Mughal style into the traditional Rajput style. Among his best-known works are a series of musically themed paintings known as Ragamala.

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Govardhan
(Indian painter)

Govardhan
0
Birthdate: 1595 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 1640 AD

Govardhan was an Indian painter best remembered for his association with the famous Mughal School of painting. He was one of the court painters during the reign of popular Mughal Emperors like Akbar and Shah Jahan. He also contributed as an illustrator of Babur's memoir, Baburnama. Many of his works are currently located in museums around the world.

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Farrukh Beg
(Mughal painter)

Farrukh Beg
0
Birthdate: 1545 AD
Birthplace: Iran
Died: 1615 AD

Farrukh Beg was a Persian miniature painter best remembered for his contribution to Mughal art. He is also remembered for contributing as an illustrator of the Akbarnama as well as the Baburnama. Many of Farrukh Beg's works were commissioned by popular rulers like Ibrahim Mirza, Mirza Muhammad Hakim, Akbar, Ibrahim Adil Shah II, and Jahangir.

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Daswanth
(Indian painter)

Daswanth
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 1584 AD

Daswanth was an Indian painter who worked as a court painter during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Considered one of the two most important court painters of Akbar along with Basawan, Daswanth played a prominent role in the illustration of Razm-nāmeh, which is regarded as the Persian version of the Hindu epic the Mahabharata.

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Bishandas
(Painter)

Bishandas
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India

Mughal-era painter Bishandas was one of the most prominent artists of Emperor Jahangir’s reign. Though it is believed he was Hindu, nothing else is known about him. He was also sent to Persia, where his portraits of the Shah fetched him an elephant as a gift for his works.

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Bichitr
(Painter)

Bichitr
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India

Mughal-era painter Bichitr was one of the favorite painters of both Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Some believe he even painted during Aurangzeb’s reign. His paintings included romantic elements, Indian landscapes, and even figures such as cherubs, inspired by European paintings. One of his self-portraits show him dressed in Hindu attire.

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Daulat
(Indian painter)

Daulat
0
Birthdate: 1500 AD
Birthplace: UNKNOWN
Died: 1699 AD

Mughal painter Daulat was a prominent artist during the reigns of Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan. A great portrait artist, he illustrated major texts such as the Akbar-nāmeh and Bābur-nāmeh. He also excelled in gold illumination and miniatures. His father and brother were also painters.