The Final Discussion of the Grammar Book of Painting


It’s concerning the final aphorism of the grammar book of painting recognized as the “Barnikavhangam”. The author desired to indicate with this aphorism was;- Barnikavhangam is just a technique that assists in utilizing the previously said five aphorisms in a perfect way. Granting to the significance of the primary line drawing, the author stated that it’s the soul of the painting and it depends on the free volition of an artist, because it has own specific language that helps to produce not only emotion but everything. Finally, the color helps to increase the value of the object; in an extensive sense, the value of the painting.

Example of Line Drawing. Image resource - www.123rf.com

It was the precept of that unknown author, to keep intact the artistic expertness, they have to practice only line drawing, every day.


 The author considered as the next most important factor of a painting is composition, which infallibly able to extract the structure of the artist’s mind moreover, it also is able to bear the speech of the artist. Therefore, he alerted that be careful of your composition.



In above sentence, I used the word “speech” not “message”. Because author used the word – “Vasanam”. It is in Sanskrit term bearing the meaning “speech”. I too believe, it is not necessary to have a message in every painting for viewers, rather it is necessary to have a thought behind the painting that born from your very own feeling. 

Rabindranath immersed in his painting. Image resource - www.thehindu.com

Here I would like to share about my experience related to this discussion. Artists have this experience when they drop an image of their painting to any other website where previously settled the space for “description “of the painting. Sometimes, it becomes tough for me to explain properly about my painting in words. Because I realized that word is too limited to describe each human feeling or emotion properly and that is why I picked up my brushes and color palate to say something. I would like to draw attention to a real experience of the great artist Rabindranath Tagore who confronted the same problem when someone asked him about a painting that was hanging on a wall of an art gallery of France where his solo exhibition was running. At the time of interacting, he was standing spellbound with bent head and after few moments, he leaves that place silently. After ending of his exhibition, a woman asked him about it and Rabindranath said,- "if I should be able to say everything in words, color and brushes would be useless for me."     

Painting of Rabindranath. Colored ink on paper. Image resource - www.vam.ac.uk

He was a poet, novelist, and songwriter, but at the end of his life, he picked up the brushes to express himself. After completing more than three thousand songs, poems, stories, novels, and dramas, he realized the limitation of words and therefore, he started painting at the end of his life and completed a thousand paintings!


 So I think, to understand a painting we have to observe it deeply at first at the best of our ability, because it has the power to speak with your inner heart if you have such sensitive mind; then read the description if necessary for further details.



   However, I want to revert to my discussion. The second step of this aphorism was color making and allocation of color. The meaning of “Barnika” is color.  The author described this part in broad circles of creativity. Granting to the source, it is the highest ideology of art that extended the each platform of artistry. To describe this part of the aphorism author brought the instance of music and literature.  When he started to discuss color making, his analogy was, music able to produce a specific feeling by composing a specific rhythm just like as color, which has the power to produce an emotion or feeling in the same way by creating a various shades or tone and each shade has a specific impact. It is as same as the various scales of rhythmic tunes that bring the same impression that we can find out in assorted shades of colors.  The author also said that it would depend on the artist.


I believe, may be the figurative forms of musical rhythms have come from this primary concept, which I discussed in my previous posts.


Not every feeling bring the same result for everyone. It will depend on the structure of mind and personality. For the example, the Indian tribal folk song mostly composed by the monotonous rhythmic tone that has intoxication. I love it very much and it pulls my mind to a new imaginary world. Nevertheless, I know it very well that it may be boring for someone who loves fast music such as rock or pop. So it’s entirely up to the listener, how he will describe his realization. Think about the blue color. This color makes for someone the meaning of liberty, and for any other, it brings the meaning of strength and power. Blue can represent the meaning of venom for anyone. It depends on the personality, experience, structure of mind and more. 

The six aphorisms of the world’s first grammar book of painting now completed and sincerely it would be my pleasure if my efforts encourage to all student artists to work with more perfection. I am also thankful to all my awesome readers and subscribers who are consistently reading my posts. It encourages me to provide accurately more information at the best of my ability.  

Although, I discussed this grammar of painting based on the best book named “Kamasutra” but there was also other books of grammar named ‘VISHNUDHARMOTTARA’ and “SARASWATI SHILPA”; but unfortunately, those are lost from the world.

The six aphorisms are standing on the solid platform of logic, and for that, it has taken the place in the scripture of Buddhist artwork and refinement.  In the sixth century, Hsieh-Ho said, that artists of China have also followed these aphorisms that they found from travelers or religious mendicants.  In those ancient books, author precepts to artists that they will use these aphorisms only for the spiritual purpose. They have no right to use their artistic gift in common determination since it’s a secret heavenly knowledge that helps you to submit your prayer to god in a more pleasurable way.           

Let me know how are you enjoy this ancient grammar of painting? submit your valuable feedback below. Thank you. 



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Last updated on - 25.09.2023