The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

India and Southeast Asia

What is the Gupta style?

Associated with art produced during the reign of Gupta rulers, who ruled in eastern India from c. 320 to 450 C.E., the Gupta style is characterized by naturalistic, though idealized, images of the Buddha and bodhisattvas in both painting and sculpture. A great example of the Gupta style is the wall painting of the bodhisattva known as the “Beautiful Padmapani.” Painted in the late fifth century, Padmapani is shown as serene and relaxed, withdrawn from the material world swirling around him. Strong outlines emphasize the form of the figure, but the rest of the body is smooth and anatomically undefined. With downcast eyes, the painting exhibits the Gupta emphasis on naturalism, balance, and spiritual detachment.


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