The serenity and simplicity of Gupta sculpture made it renowned. The zenith of development was marked by this style of sculpture. This sculpture equated between the sullied sensuality of Kushan period and emblematic abstraction of the later period. The Gandhara and Mathura schools have some foreign influence on them. This influence is vanished from the Gupta art of sculpture and turned it entirely Indian in nature. The Gupta style of sculpture in India represents the talent of creativity that existed during the time of Gupta dynasty.
When in 4th century AD, the Gupta Empire ushered in; a new era began in India. With the commencement of the Gupta period, India stepped into the classical sculptural form. The art technique enhanced in perfection, explicit types came into life, and standards of exquisiteness progressed with accuracy. No experimentation and no groping in the dark evolved. The remarkable images were formed with a brilliant and in-depth grasping of the important art standards. Also, an advanced sense of aestheticism and an excellent finishing by expert artists resulted in the fashioning of these images. In the subsequent ages, these images served as the ideal for the artists.
India has always held massive buildings. Luxurious paintings and architectures of these buildings have the capacity to make the beholder astonished. An idiom of its own was developed by the Gupta Empire for having erected monuments and sculptures. The characteristics of the sculptures of the Guptas were diligently followed by the artists of that era.
Among the legendary sculptures of the Gupta Empire, the name of the structural temples at Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu and The Elephanta cave temples near Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The sculptures from Vidisha and the nearby Udaygiri Caves in Madhya Pradesh are the first recorded sculptures in an early style of Gupta sculpture. They were built in the Mathura tradition in the second half of the 4th century.
Universal accomplishment was attained during the period of the Gupta Empire. This was a classical age. The course of the art was determined by the evaluation of form and taste. It was during this time when the religious architecture was very popular. No wonder, the Buddhist and Jain temples were constructed all through the Gupta dominion. Also, the more convoluted images of the Mahayana pantheon came into existence. Apart from them, the Ajanta cave frescoes were also there. Excellence of the brilliant craftsmanship is epitomized in the temples and sculpture of Gupta period. The temples that house sculptural elements such as the Yakshas and the Nagas were replaced as independent cult images except rare cases by the Gods and Goddesses of both the grand cults of theism.
The sculptures fashioned during the period of Guptas can be credited to hold the manifestation of comparatively consistent style. This style reached other parts of the country and stretched to other countries of South and Southeast Asia. In the later period, the art of north Indian kingdoms is found to have influenced by the Gupta style of sculpture in India.
To add to these, sculpture of Bhitaragaon Temple (Madhya Pradesh), the sculpture of Dasavatara Temple (Deogarh), and Vaishnavite Tigawa temple at Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and others are some of the wonderful examples of Gupta sculptures. Rock cut caves have also won laurels to Gupta Empire. The sculpture at Elephanta Caves, the sculpture at Ellora Caves, and Ajanta Caves are worth a visit.
A good amount of these sculptures is found outside, built on prepared rock surfaces. The image of the four- armed Lord Vishnu standing with unadorned cylindrical crowns, footing stiff-legged in samapada, with one of them flanked by ayudhapurusas is one of the most distinguishing images. It personified weapons or symbols.
The Kumara Cave is the earliest of all the incalculable defenders of Hindu shrines, known as pratlharas in north, particularly in south, as being the largest and most astonishing. Thos cave holds the most imposing images.
Typically, the well-built thighs almost unbelievably contrasted with the delicate folds of the tab-ends of the belts and sashes for the Gupta style in early stages. The rock-cut temples of the post-Gupta period enjoy being equally important. Art and architecture of this time incorporated the Buddhist Structural buildings of Gupta Era, the Secular Architecture along with the Brahmanical Architecture.
During the 5th century Snakes were an indispensable genre of sculpture. From the top of a departed pillar in Firozpur, at a distance of a few miles, some nagarajas and naginis have noticeably extensive serpent hoods. These images along with one more pair of the Sand Museum are built in good similarity to the Udayagiri style. Other than them, a special place was occupied by the terracotta in Gupta Era. Regarding other architectural wonders of the Gupta period sculpture of Shiva Temple (Bhumara), the sculpture of Parvati Temple (Nachana), and sculpture of Vishnu Temple (Tigawa) are noteworthy.
The Gupta style of sculpture in India did not just form to be the models of the rich art of India for the future but it acted as the ideal for the colonies of India that were situated in the Far East. Sculptures of Guptas are undoubtedly their enduring legacy that has been left for us to see and appreciate. In a nut shell, it can be said that Gupta sculpture style mirrored the moods of the age and was a wonder in itself.