The paintings started its existence since 1600 A.D. The painters from the Vijayanagar Empire migrated to different parts after the defeat of Vijayanagar Empire. Some migrated to Thanjavur and stayed there under the patronage of the Nayakas Empire. The Nayakas were the one who started giving the importance to the paintings. After the defeat of the Nayakas by the Marathas, the painters got more importance as the Marathas were more passionate towards paintings than the Nayakas. Many paintings of the gods, goddess, religious persons and kings were drawn on the temples, palaces and even on buildings.
The olden people followed many techniques to draw the paintings. They used the natural colours like the vegetables and the dying to colour the paintings. They followed the Chinese reverse glass technique which is cheaper and popular than many other techniques. The painters will draw the paintings at the back of the glass which makes the paintings look great with its shining and stone effect. They used the red colour for the background, blue colour for Lord Vishnu and Green colour for Goddess Sivakami. Most of the diagrams are drawn on the spot and each diagram took more than 5 hours to be drawn.
The Thanjavur Paintings are made by following a special pattern of drawing. First the basic diagram is drawn on the white cloth. That white cloth is being placed on the wooden board. Then after that the white chalk powder is used to coat over the cloth. Then the final diagram is drawn and the painting is done completely. After the paintings are over, artists use the colourful stones to decorate the paintings. At the end, the artists use the gold foil to finish the final decoration. This gold foil effect is the one which makes the drawings to look great.