UNIVERSITY GRANTS COMMISSION
Subject : VISUAL ARTS Code No.: 79
The visual arts consist of creative expression that considers innovation and individuality as its
primary determinants. Objects-of-art thus produced with great skill or accomplishment
invariably gains a degree of invested value that is culturally significant, which is why visual
art has also been known as fine arts. A range of disciplinary specialization in studio-practice
has led to sub-categories like drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design etc. which are
also medium specific categories within practice. In contemporary times visual art has moved
beyond the singular discipline towards multi-media expressions that have even significantly
transgressed the studio and gallery/museum as spaces and the market as its economic
determinant. Thus, it now includes and incorporates the applied arts within it, while
photography and digital modes are integrated into its world of postmodern practice. On the
theoretical perspective, art history and criticism examines and analyses the past and present
developments and innovations, providing a contextual awareness to studio-practice about the
present and possible future(s). This syllabus thus integrates all of the above into a holistic
understanding of the discipline(s).
Scheme of Syllabus
Fundamentals of visual art (line, shape, form, space, colour, texture, tonal values, perspective,
design etc.). Understanding visual principles of composition (proportion, unity, harmony,
rhythm, contrast, balance, foreshortening and emphasis etc.). Representation through two and
three dimensions in visual art. Environmental, conceptual and perceptual aspects of art.
Various forms of visual arts and their inter-relationship with other modes of creative
expression, e.g. performing art, cinema and literature.
Knowledge of traditional medium, materials and techniques, and their application in all
disciplines of visual expression – e.g. carving and casting processes; handling of
colour/pigment (impasto, glazing, etc.); intaglio/relief print; fresco; preparation of ground for murals, preparation of wasli for miniatures, etc.
Developments in modern techniques, processes and procedures and their application in
contemporary visual practices (installation; multi-colour print; computer-aided design –
vector & rector; multimedia and digital technologies in art; trompe l’oeil illusory hyperrealism etc.)
The study of Indian and Western aesthetics and art appreciation.
Study of chronological periods from prehistory to post-modern art and artists of the West,
with a focus on the various movements that transformed its history
Study of chronological periods and developments in Indian art from prehistory to the 19th
Contemporary practices in Indian art during the 20th & 21st centuries with reference to art
movements & major exponents; modern concept of advertising, designing and visual
communication; experimental modes in contemporary visual expression; development of art
education in India from colonial (British) art schools till the present.
The study of art in the Far East, South East and Central Asia and the ancient Near-East
Understanding visual practices of traditional communities and their contemporary
transformations – the ‘folk’, ‘tribal’ and craft practices in India
Syllabus for Visual Arts Electives
Elective: I: Art History
Principles of Art Historical methodology – Formalism; Iconology; Semiotic analysis;
Psychoanalytic method in Art History; Gestalt Theory of Visual Perception; impact of
theories in class and gender on the discipline; Deconstruction and its transformative role for Art History; contemporary shifts towards a “New” Art History; art history as an evolving
discipline in India from colonial period to post-Independent era; introduction of curatorial
practices – confluence of museum, gallery and art history; aesthetic theories and their
relevance to art historical/critical analysis of the visual object
Antiquity of image worship in India and principles of iconometry; iconography and its
development through Vedic to Brahmanical images: Indra, Surya, Agni, Varuna, Kubera,
Yama, Ashta-dikpalas, Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, the Saptamtrikas, Kartikeya, Ganesha, and
river goddesses (Ganga and Yamuna) etc.
Buddhist iconography: the evolution of the Buddha image (including Dhyani Buddhas,
Manushi Buddhas, etc.), Bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, Maitreya etc.), Tara,
Jain iconography: Tirthankara (Adinath, Parshvanath, Neminath, Mahavira), Bahubali;
Ambika, Saraswati, Yaksha and Yakshi (in the Jain context) etc.
Indian Sculpture (pre-modern developments):
A comprehensive study of early Indian sculpture from Indus valley civilization to the postGupta period – dynasties like Maurya, Sunga, Satavahana, Kushana, Gupta, Pala-Sena,
Chandela, Solanki, Parmar, Chalukya, Pallava, Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Chola, Hoysala, etc..
Early Indian architecture (with reference to ancient literature and shilpa texts): Indus valley;
Origin and development of the stupa: Bharhut, Sanchi, Sarnath and Amaravati
Evolution of rock-cut caves (Lomas-rishi, Khandagiri, Udaigiri, Bhaja, Karle, Kanheri,
Ajanta, Elephanta, Ellora and Mamallapuram)
Evolution of temple architecture & their classification into Nagara, Dravida and Vessara
categories: Gupta temples; Orissan developments (Parashurameshwara, Mukteshvara,
Lingaraj and Konark); Chandella, Pratihar, Parmara and Solanki temple styles; Chalukyan,
Rastrakuta and Hoysala temple architecture (including Virupaksha, Kaliashnatha in Ellora,
Hoyasaleshvara; Pallava monolithic and structural temples; Chola temples; Martand Sun
temple in Kashmir
Imperial architecture during Sultanate & Mughal rule: features of provincial Indo-Islamic
architecture; Mughal architecture (Humayun’s Tomb, Fatehpur Sikari and Sikandra, Taj
Mahal, Red Fort and Jama Masjid)
Colonial & Modern architecture: Le Corbusier, Charles Correa, B.V. Doshi and others.
Indian painting (pre-modern developments):
A comprehensive study of pre-historic painting, wall paintings at Ajanta and later mural
tradition (Bagh, Badami, Ellora, Sittanvasal, Lepakshi, Kerala murals such as Mattancherry
palace etc.); manuscript painting & the miniature traditions: Eastern and Western Indian
manuscripts; Sultanate painting (the Chaurpanchasika and pre-Mughal schools), Mughal
miniature painting from Akbar to Shah Jahan; Rajasthani miniature painting; Pahari
miniature painting ; Deccani painting (Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golconda).
Modern Indian Art:
Modernity in Indian Art; Ravi Varma; E.B. Havell, A.K. Coomaraswamy, Stella Kramrisch,
Abanindranath Tagore and the “Bengal School”; Nandalal Bose, Benodebehari Mukherjee
and Ramkinkar Baij; Amrita Sher-Gil; Jamini Roy; the 1940s artists’ collectives: Calcutta
Group (Kolkata), Progressive Artists Group (Mumbai), Delhi Shilpi Chakra (Delhi),
Cholamandala Artists’ Village (Chennai); Indigenism and the trends in 1950s and 1960s;
trends in abstraction since the 1970s; the 20th & 21st century contemporary trends towards
globalization (including the introduction of installation, performance, digital/video etc.) with
a study of select individual artists
Overview of Western art from prehistory to the present: Prehistoric art, art in ancient Egypt,
Aegean art, Greece and Rome; Early-Christian and Byzantine art; Romanesque and Gothic
art; Renaissance painting and sculpture; Mannerism and Baroque painting and sculpture;
Rococo, Neoclassicism and Romanticism; Modern movements including Realism,
Impressionism, Post-Impression, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Constructivism, Futurism,
Dada and Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Op art, Pop art; Post-modern developments
including, Minimal and Conceptual Art, Fluxus movement, Arte Povera, Body art, Land and
Environment Art, Graffiti, Process art, Performance art, Installation, Neo-figuration,
Happening, Feminist and Gay art.
Art of Ancient Near-East:
Visual expression from ancient Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria); art in
Achaemanid and Sassanian Persia.
Art of Far East, Central and South-East Asia:
Introduction to cultural exchange between India and these ancient cultures and the emergence
of distinctive visual expressions: ancient China (Shang, Zhou, and Han dynasties); Buddhist
sculpture from upto Tang dynasty; Six Dynasties and Tang painting; Chinese landscape
tradition from Song to Qing; Japan (Haniwa pottery figures; Buddhist sculptures from Nara
to Kamakura periods); late Heian and Kamakura painting including the Tale of Genji and the
Heiji Monogatari Emaki scrolls; Japanese scroll painting in the Momoyama & Edo periods;
ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Edo period); Tibet (Buddhist icons and the thangka
painting tradition); Nepal (Buddhist and Brahmanical sculptures and painting); Sri Lanka
(sculpture and painting – including Sigiriya murals); Cambodia (sculpture and architecture,
especially Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom); Java (sculpture and architecture, including the
Dieng plateau candi-s, the Borobudur stupa, and Prambanan complex); Buddhist art in
Myanmar/Burma and Siam/Thailand etc..
Indian Folk and Tribal Art:
Phad, Pichhwai and Kavad painting (Rajasthan); Pata painting in Bengal and Orissa;
Madhubani/Mithila painting (Bihar), Warli painting (Maharastra), Pithora painting (Gujarat);
Dhokra bronze casting; votive terracotta objects (including votive horses offered across
various states in India); wood carving and wooden dolls (Kondapalli, Karnataka, Bengal,
Madhya Pradesh); leather puppets (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka); traditional and modern
textiles and functional objects (textiles of Banaras, Kanchipuram, Gujrat, Orissa, and the
North-Eastern states; tie-and-dye fabrics; embroidery; kantha, Phulkari, Chamba rumal;
metal-ware including Bidri, repousse, enamelling; jewellery including jade, beads etc.
Elective-II: Drawing and Painting
Fundamental elements of drawing and painting. Imagery in visual arts. Origin and
development of art (visual). Classification of Arts. Conceptual and Visual reality.
Relevance of study of aesthetics in painting: The early philosophical thoughts in Indian
Culture. Nature and Function of Art in the society.
Indian aesthetics: Concept of Ras-Sutra and its commentaries: The Theory of Rasa,
Sadharanikarana, Dhvani, Alankara, Auchitya,etc; shilpa texts like the Chitrasutra of the
Vishnudharmottara Purana, Shadanga from Yashodhara’s commentary on the Kamasutra,
etc.; A.K. Coomaraswamy and Rabindranath Tagore’s contributions towards Indian
Western Aesthetics: Theory of imitation and representation, catharsis (Plato and Aristotle).
Aesthetical views of Kant, Hegel, Croce, Tolstoy, Baumgarten, Schopenhauer, Clive Bell,
Roger Fry, I. A. Richards, Susanne Langer, Sigmund Freud, and George Santayana.
History of Drawing and Painting:
Indian painting: Prehistoric Paintings in India, Wall paintings of Ajanta, Bagh, Badami and
Sittanavasal.Manuscript painting tradition Pala and Western Indian.Tradition of Miniature
paintings: Pre-Mughal, Mughal, Rajasthani, Pahari (Basohli, Guler-Kangra and Garhwal) and
Deccani painting (Ahmendagar, Bijapur & Golconda). Company School of painting. Advent
of Modernism with Raja Ravi Varma, Bengal School: Abanindranath Tagore and his
disciples, Nandalal Bose and his disciples.
Breakthrough in Indian painting: Contribution of Amrita Sher-Gil. Progressive artist group –
Bombay, Calcutta Group – Calcutta, Shilpi Chakra – Delhi, Chola mandala – Madras and
Baroda School – Baroda.
In Indian Art the Major trends of Indigenous since 1970, Contemporary painting and eminent
artists: Impressionistic, Expressionistic, Abstraction, Decoration, Neo-Tantric, Figurative and
Non-figurative, Surrealistic, Representational and Non-representational painting.
Western Painting: Prehistoric paintings of France and Spain. Egyptian, Aegean Art, Greece
and Roman painting. Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, NeoClassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Fauvism &
Symbolism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada & Surrealism Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism,
Op and Pop Art, Minimal Art & Post Modern Trends, New Media, Installation and Illusory
Hyper Realism, etc.
Material and Method:
Application of Materials, Support in Painting (Canvas, Paper, Wall surface, Panels), Mix
media. Oil painting and its technique – Traditional and Non-traditional. Techniques of Wall
paintings – Traditional (Fresco Secco and Buono) and Modern. Water color painting, wash
technique, pastel and crayon, Acrylic color, color preparation and technical aspect of
pigments. Color theory and color harmony.
Art Schools and Art Education:
The introduction of formal training in art through Colonial Art Schools, and the transition
from Colonial understanding to Post-Independent art education in the art schools at Chennai,
Kolkata, Lahore, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur; art p motion and education through art
academies; rethinking institutional art education at Santiniketan and Baroda; role of art
galleries and museums in art education; increase in curatorial venture as a collaboration
between the museum, galleries and practicing artists and historians; role of art journals and magazines in the dialogue between viewing public and the artist.
Elective III: Applied Art
Elements & principles of design
The term ‘Graphic Design’ and William Addison Diggings; Basics of Graphic
Design/Applied Art: Image and Text; Developing message to promote product.
Terms and terminologies relevant to advertising Industry: Understanding of the
‘Portmanteau’ terms such as, Advertorials, Info graphics, Infomercials, Edutainment etc.
Innovations and Movements
History of advertising in India and rest of the world; Calligraphy, Advent of moveable types,
Typefaces, fronts and families; Architecture and anatomy of letters; Classifications of types
and size, Early Typographers and study of traditional hand writing and script like Indian
manuscripts, Persian, Chinese, Japanese and Roman etc.
Development of printing processes in India and rest of the world: letterpress, gravure, silkscreen and Offset etc.
Movements that influenced graphic design: Art Nouveau, The Art of War), The ISMs of Art:
Futurism, Dada, De Stijl, & Constructivism, Art and Craft movement, Bauhaus movement
and new typography, history of graphic design and the nature of advertising history,
Illustrated Modernism & Psychedelia, New Wave and Post Modernism, Digital
Expressionism & Postscript, The Digital Future.
Advertising forms and media
Print, outdoor, electronic and new media advertising; Media Options: newspapers and
magazines, radio, TV and cinema, posters, Direct Mail, Ambient and Guerrilla advertising,
digital and online advertising. Viral Advertising. Boom in Outdoor advertising: billboards
and transits, innovative Materials and advantages.
Emergence of Poster as a ‘new genre of art’: Study of posters with reference to Poland,
Japan, UK and America and Bolshevik Russia. Placards and propagandas, Protest and
Wartime posters, Subway culture.
Cultural frames of advertising phases: Idolatry, Iconology, Narcissism, and Transition from
‘Totemism’ (the fourth cultural frame) to ‘Mise-en-Scene’ (Fifth Frame); Evolution from
Traditional to Industrial to Consumer society & development of communications media.
Future of advertising and advertising agencies. Blurring the lines between advertising and
The impact of Graphic Design with advance technology; Re-defining “Graphic design”;
Attributes needed by the modern designers.
Design, campaign and packaging
Designing of logo, rebus, symbol, mark and corporate identity; stories behind the
development of most well-known symbols/identities the world; Brands, rebranding and brand
positioning; Precursors and prophets of advertising theories and principles; Designing events
–Event Mascots and other global entertainments, films and festivals.
Campaign planning and strategy: the client, market research, account planning, creative brief.
Developing visuals and messages for print-ads (newspaper and magazines), Direct Mail,
posters, outdoor advertising (billboards and transits), merchandising, show-windows and
supermarket items (Point of sales / Point of Purchase items, dispensers, stands, stalls etc.)
Media selection, Approaches& the target audience. Innovations in media. New technologies,
TV graphics, multimedia presentation, web-page designing and understanding of rector and
vector software; Internet – its use in advertising products and services, net marketing.
Prepress, Printing presses, and Post-press: manipulations of pixels and resolutions, colour
corrections, knowledge of computer-to-plate graphic reproductions, offset printing, Finishing
and Converting. Additive and subtractive colours, four colour printing mechanics, Spot
Colours and Lainations, UVs etc.
Design of packaging, merchandising and novelties.
Advertising corporate and new trends
Origin and growth of advertising agencies: Role and responsibilities of a Graphic designer.
Creative core: Creative/Art Director, Visualizer, and Copywriter, interaction in developing
World’s leading Advertising Corporates, Multinationals and Indian scenario: Indian
Advertising Agencies with all India branches. Ad-Gurus or remarkable Ad-Men and epoch
making advertising campaigns by them. Highest honours, Awards in the advertising
creativity and extraordinary contribution.
Famous designers of the world on branding and corporate identity design, Film titles.
Interdisciplinary participation approach with disciplines of art, collaboration and internship
with industries and corporates.
Computers and its role in creating new visual effects (Photography, Digital Graphics, Film
titles, Multimedia presentations, Image Editing, Web Graphics and types of online
Advertising, Web page designing); Importance of market research in advertising. Print media
vs. Electronic Media.
Elective –IV: Printmaking (Graphic Art)
Aesthetics and history:
Understanding of fundamentals of visual art (space, form, size, shape, line, colour, texture,
tonal values, perspective, design and aesthetic) in relation to print making.
Understanding visual principles of composition (proportion, unity, harmony, rhythm, contrast,
balance and emphasis). Reproduction of two dimensional identical prints.
Knowledge of history, invention, development and definition of print making (Graphic Art)
process, techniques and materials in Asia and Europe. Japanese woodcuts and important
masters of Ukiyo-e School and works of masters such as Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro etc.
Print making as a mode of creative expression during 19th
–20th century from book production
to establishing of atelier/workshops, groups, experiments and influences on advertising.
Mode, medium and process:
Knowledge of types of print making techniques (i) wood-cut and lino-cut (ii) intaglio- wood
and metal (iii) etching – line, aquatint, soft ground, etc. (iv) surface printing (planography,
offset, oleograph etc.), (v) stencil and serigraph (iv) other techniques- colography, chine-collé,
monoprint, unique print, dry-point, engraving, mezzotint, viscosity, digital imaging, mix
Knowledge on use of different kinds of mediums, materials and printing process used in print
making (wood, lino, copper, zinc, plywood, stone, acrylic, paper, cardboard, gum, acids,
chemicals, ink, resin, software, tools, machine, equipment etc. Preparation of different types
of surface from identification of material to designing till printing.
Work of art:
Knowledge of works of master print makers and their contribution in development of
printmaking from historic to modern like Durer, Rembrandt, Hogarth, Goya, Gauguin, Degas,
Lautrec, Daumier, German expressionists (Kathe Kollwitz, Nolde, Heckel, Grosz, Munch
etc.), Picasso, Pop and figurative artists (Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Jim Dine), David
Hockney, Krishna Reddy, Peter Daglish, Stanley Jones, Paul Lingren, Carol Summers etc.
Development of Printmaking in India, contribution and influence of British during colonial
period, establishment of press and schools, popular printmaking in mid-19th century till pre
independence. Print making trends in India post independence.
Contribution of Indian print makers: Raja Ravi Varma, member of Vichitra club, Mukul Dey,
Gangendranath Tagore etc. Santiniketan School, Nandalal Bose, Binode Behari Mukherjee,
Ramkinkar, Biswarup Bose, Ramen Chakraborty, Haren Das, Somnath Hore, Chittaprasad,
Jyoti Bhatt, Kanwal Krishna, Devyani Krishna, Y.K. Shukla, Vasant Parab, Jagmohan
Chopra, Paramjeet Singh, Lalita Lajmi, Naina Dalal, Laxma Goud, R.B. Bhaskaran, R.M.
Pallaniappan, Sanat Kar, Lalu Prasad Shaw, Amitabh Banerjee, Debraj Dakoji, Bhupen
Khakhar, Waman Chincholkar, Paul Koli, Deepak Banerjee, Jai Zharotia, Prayag Jha, Rini
Dhumal, Anupam Sud, Jayant Parikh, Kanchan Chander etc.
Print and issues:
Good quality prints – criteria (technically and aesthetically), conventions to identify the
authenticity of prints – signature, editions, artists proof etc. Display – mounting and
preservation of prints. Various issues related to the contemporary printmaking (mechanical
production, computer graphics, influences of advertising, atelier, workshops and groups etc.)
Elective –V: Sculpture
Elements & principles of sculpture
Fundamentals and elements of sculpture; origin and development of imagery in sculpture;
classification of sculpture; sculptural form vis-a-vis conceptual reality.
Relevance of the study of aesthetics for sculptural practice: the early philosophical ideas in
India and the West; the role and function of sculpture in the society.
History of sculpture in Western and Oriental traditions; traditional sculptural program as
integral part of architectural structures such as churches, temples and secular buildings
Study of form, material, methods, and techniques relevant to sculptural practice; clarity of
understanding of terminologies related to the art of sculpture.
Study of varied media in sculptural practice:
1. Clay and wax
Preparation of natural clay for sculpture; modelling and casting with clay; terracotta &
firing of clay; types of kilns; possibilities in the range of colours and pigments in ceramic
works; two-dimensional and three-dimensional modes in clay sculptures; modelling and
carving in wax.
2. Plaster of Paris (POP)
History, chemical composition and physical nature of POP; advantages and disadvantages
of working with POP; accelerating and retarding agents; surface treatment of POP;
casting and carving in POP.
Nature and varieties of wood; carving tools and methods of carving for sculpting in wood;
seasoning and preservation of wood; finishing and staining of wood.
Origin of sculpting in stone; tools and equipment, methods and approach relevant to stone
carving; treatment and preservation of stone against weathering.
History of metal sculptures; processes involved in the use of metal as medium for
sculpture; physical properties and classification of metals as ferrous and non-ferrous,
alloy, etc.; bronze as the primary sculptural metal; the Lost-wax method (cire-perdue);
indigenous methods including “gravity casting”, “sand casting”, etc.; melting points of
metals; surface treatment viz. anodising, oxidation and patination; welding and forging
processes for working with metals; preservation of metal sculptures.
Assemblage and Installation
History & background of mix-media; new hybrid forms of 1960’s and more recent
developments; public sculptures; environmental art.
Scope, problems, limitations, concept and development; eminent exponents such as D.P.
Roychowdhary, Ramkinkar Baij, Prodosh Dasgupta, Sankho Chaudhurai, Piloo
Pochkhanawla, Chintamoni Kar, Sarbari Roy Chowdhury, Amarnath Sehgal, Dhanraj Bhagat,
Kanayi Kunhiraman, M. Dharmani, Nagji Patel, Balbir Singh Katt.
Contemporary Indian Sculptors:
Combine indigenous knowledge with new materials and techniques; select individuals – B.C
Sanyal, Somnath Hore, K.G. Subramanyan, Biman B. Das, Meera Mukherjee, Raghav
Kaneria, Himmat Shah, Latika Katt, Jeram Patel, Ajit Chakraborty, Sushen Ghose, Satish
Gujral, Ved Nayar, P.V Janakiram, Shiv Singh, Balan Nambiar, S. Nandgopal, Mahendra
Pandya, Rajnikant Panchal, Mrinalini Mukherjee, K.S. Radhakrishnan, S. Nandgopal, Dhruva
Mistri, Pritpal Singh Ladi, Anita Dube, Ravindra Reddy, N.N. Rimzon, Pushpamala N.,
Sudarshan Shetty, Subodh Gupta , Anish Kapoor, etc.
Contribution of select modern & contemporary sculptors from the West:
Honore Daumier, Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel, Paul Gauguin, Aristide Maillol, Antoine
Bourdelle, Henri Matisse, Ernst Barlach, Constantin Brancusi, Pablo Picasso, Aleksandr
Archipenko, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Laurens, Umberto Boccioni,
Vladimir Tatlin, Naum Gabo, Sophie Tauber, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Antoine Pevsner,
Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, David Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Isamu
Noguchi, Alberto Giacometti, Cesar, Marino Marini, Lucio Fontana, George Segal, Claes
Oldenburg, Anthony Caro, Tony Smith, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Eva Hesse, Duane Hanson,
Judy Chicago, Joel Schapiro, Barry Flanagan, Georg Baselitz, Jimmie Durham, Jeff Koons,