Easily recognizable by his elephant head(s) and his large belly, the Hindu god Ganesh (also known as Ganesha) is the god of wisdom, learning, and success, and Ganesh paintings and artwork composition tend to focus on these qualities, both in modern paintings and ancient depictions.
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesh has four hands, a single tusk, and can regularly be seen utilizing a rat as his mode of transportation and by his side as his accomplice. In Hindu artwork, the details of Ganesh paintings are incredibly important, as his appearance is a manifestation of his back story. Parvati, Ganesh’s mother, created the god out of the scum from her bath water and then instructed the boy to guard her door. Upon returning home and realizing he was not permitted to enter his own home, Shiva became enraged and chopped off Ganesh’s head. After realizing that he had harmed Parvati’s son, and thereby his own, Shiva attempted to make amends, replacing Ganesh’s head with that of an elephant.
Unlike many of the other Hindu gods, Ganesh is amiable, humorous, and loving, and Ganesh paintings often reflect this and have since they first became a subject of interest in the 2nd century. The god is commonly depicted with a bowl full of candy or a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and artists strive to project the unique qualities of Ganesh’s personality through their work. Ganesh paintings are often colorful and detailed, and thus can make a fantastic addition to your collection of Hindu artwork.