Thanjavur (Tanjore) paintings represent a form of classical South Indian painting that was practised from several centuries in the town of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. Since then, it has spread all across the state and also in other parts of South India. These paintings are chiefly based on the Hindu religious subjects and temples and are distinguished by its famous and characteristic gold coating.
Thanjavur paintings are usually characterised by the use of rich, flat and vivid colours, which is accompanied by simple iconic composition. The paintings constitute glittering gold foils which are carefully overlaid on delicate but extensive form of gesso work along with inlay of glass beads and pieces as well as precious and semi-precious gems, rarely. There is a clear influence of Deccani, Vijayanagar styles and also that of Maratha and even European painting styles.
The subjects of most of these paintings are Hindu gods, goddesses, and saints, including important episodes from the Hindu Puranas, as well as Sthala puranas and other religious texts. The Thanjavur paintings are actually panel paintings which are done on wooden planks, and hence these are also referred to as palagai padam. It has been recognized with Geographical Indication (GI) rights by the Government of India in the year 2007.