The History of paintings can be traced back to more than thousand years. The pictorial art form, though in its primitive stage, existed in Kerala right from the Mesolithic period. Rock pictures found in Edkkal caves of Wayanad District are that of pictures of household articles and dancing men with masks, which were drawn during that period. As the art form was divinely originated, it is seen mainly in temples. The murals of the temples of Kerala are excellent specimens of artistic talents. The murals of Kanthaloor Temple in Thiruvananthapuram (drawn in 13th Century), Pisharikavu and Kaliliampath in Kozhikode drawn in 14th Century are the oldest temple wall paintings. Ramayana murals of Mattanchery palace, the paintings in the Chemmanthitta Siva Temple, Kudamaloor and Thodeekkalam in Kannur district, wall paintings at Panayannarkavu, Kottakkal, Padmanabhapuram and Krishnapuram palaces and those in the inner chambers of Mattanchery palace are the best examples of medieval mural paintings. Kalamezuthu a type of pictorial art also originated as a part of temple ritual. Many Churches of Kerala have excellent paintings.


Edakkal cave,Rock pictures at Edakkal cave

Raja Ravi Verma is one of the outstanding names in the art of painting in Kerala. K.C.S Panikar, Madhava Menon, M.V. Devan are a few names to mention in the field.

Raja Ravi Varma

Paintings of Ravivarma


Paintings of KCS Panicker


The stone sculptures in Kerala were intended as an ornamental part of an architectural project. Therefore it was decided by the standards and requirement of the temples or other structures. The early sculptors were talented artists who created new and original sculptures in stone. Temple architecture is an amalgamation of engineering and decorative arts. Mouldings, sculptures and painting form three decorative elements of the Kerala temples. Two types of sculptural work are there. One category is the low relief work on the outer walls and the timber sculpture. Metal craft was also used for moulding idols, ornamentation etc.

In Kerala, the earliest specimens of sculptures in stone are those found in the cave temple at Kaviyoor, which was built in the 8th Century A.D. The rock-cut reliefs of Vizhinjam, sculptures of the ancient Vishnu temple at Thrikkodithanam, dwara palakas (guards) and Ananthasayanam sculpture in the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram are the best examples of stone sculptures.

Cave temple