10 Serene Paintings Depicting Guru Arjan Dev Ji

Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Guru of Sikhism, was a visionary spiritual leader, poet, and musician. His teachings focused on unity, love, and devotion to God, and he played a significant role in the compilation of the Adi Granth, the primary scripture of Sikhism. Throughout history, artists have sought to capture the essence of Guru Arjan Dev Ji's teachings and his divine presence through their paintings. In this article, we will delve into 10 remarkable paintings that beautifully portray the life and spiritual journey of Guru Arjan Dev Ji.


1. Bodhraj's 1980 Rendition 


Picture Courtesy: Sikhexpo


A timeless masterpiece, the renowned artist Bodhraj presents a captivating portrayal of Guru Arjan Dev Ji in this iconic painting. Crafted during the 1980s, the artwork captures the essence of Guru Ji's spiritual contemplation, as he sits serenely amidst a tranquil landscape. Through a masterful use of vibrant hues, Bodhraj orchestrates a harmonious ambiance that impeccably mirrors the Guru's profound spiritual presence. The first canvas illustrates Guru Arjan Dev Ji immersed in peaceful meditation, enveloped by the soothing embrace of nature. The artist's adept handiwork breathes life into the scene, vividly reflecting the Guru's unwavering commitment to his meditative practice and his profound communion with the divine realm. This extraordinary rendition encapsulates not only Guru Ji's resolute devotion but also his profound connection with the sacred, making it a timeless portrayal that resonates with the viewer's soul.


2. Birth of the Adi Granth


Picture Courtesy: ArtofPunjab


This painting portrays Guru Arjan Dev Ji engaged in the divine act of composing hymns. The artist skillfully depicts the Guru absorbed in his writing, surrounded by a celestial glow. The painting highlights the Guru's profound contribution to Sikhism through his poetic and musical compositions, which continue to inspire and uplift devotees to this day.


3. Unnamed Illustration



The third painting captures the historical moment of Guru Arjan Dev Ji's martyrdom. The artist depicts the Guru's steadfastness and courage in the face of adversity. The painting portrays the Guru sitting calmly on a burning hot plate, symbolizing his sacrifice for religious freedom. The artist's attention to detail and expression powerfully convey the Guru's unwavering faith and commitment to his principles.


4. Martyrdom


Picture Credits: Sikhi Art


My painting shows Guru Arjan Dev ji peacefully meditating while being tortured. Guru Sahib was made to sit on a hot plate and had hot sand poured over his head and body. Even though he was put through immense pain, he was in profound peace with the moment, with the situation he found himself in.


5. Devender Singh's Piece


Picture Credits: Sikh Foundation



In this evocative oil painting by Devender Singh, part of the Kapany Collection, a pivotal moment in Sikh history is vividly brought to life. It portrays the revered meeting between Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, and Mian Mir, a respected Muslim saint of the Qadiri order from Lahore. Here, against a backdrop of spiritual unity and inclusivity, Mian Mir lays the foundation stone of Sri Harimandir Sahib, known today as the Golden Temple. The four open doors of the structure symbolize its welcoming embrace of all of humanity, while within its sanctum, Guru Arjan Dev ceremonially installs the Adi Granth, now the Guru Granth Sahib, as the central scripture of Sikhism. This poignant painting captures the essence of Guru Arjan Dev's unwavering devotion, even in the face of martyrdom in 1606 on the orders of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, and serves as a powerful testament to the enduring Sikh principles of love, harmony, and equality.


6. Lal Singh Musavvir's Illustration in the "The Sikh Religion" (1909)


View on Mutual Art.


This enchanting gouache and gold on paper painting, measuring 255 x 200 mm, offers a captivating window into artistry in Punjab. Within this artwork, Guru Arjan, the esteemed fifth Sikh Guru, sits serenely on a terrace, gently cradling a delicate flower, symbolizing purity and grace. Beside him stands an attendant, dignifiedly wielding a flywhisk, signifying reverence and devotion. The intricately adorned inner borders and margin rules, accentuated by a soft pale pink outer border, elevate the visual splendor of the painting. Above, a Gurmukhi inscription reads, "Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Patshahi. Fifth Reign". The shared stylistic consistency and the Gurmukhi titling tradition bind this painting to the rich illustrative heritage that meticulously preserves and conveys the spiritual essence of Sikhism.


7. Harminder Sahib's Construction



This striking gouache painting, believed to originate from around 1890-95 within the Sikh School, opens a portal to history's earliest memory of the original Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib. It offers a glimpse into what this iconic shrine, completed in 1601, might have looked like, with Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, overseeing its construction in a visionary role. At its core, the painting emphasizes Sikh egalitarian values by prominently featuring a langar (communal free kitchen) at the bottom-middle. Held in the Toor Collection and showcased in "The Golden Temple of Amritsar: Reflections of the Past (1808-1959)" by Amandeep Singh Madra and Parmjit Singh, this artwork serves as both a visual treasure and a testament to the enduring legacy of the Golden Temple, encapsulating the sacred history and timeless principles of Sikhism in a single evocative frame.


8.  Ramsar Sahib's Fresco



9. A New-Age Depiction


Picture Credits: @kirpa.kaur.bhachu on Instagram


Featured in "The Sikh Art Therapy Collection Vol. 1," this poignant depiction by artist Kirpa Bhachu serves as a powerful reminder of the profound sacrifice and immense suffering endured by Guru Arjan Dev Ji. The painting's fiery hues of orange and red envelop the guru as he maintains a resolute meditative posture. This intense red is strikingly contrasted by the portrayal of water gracing the upper half of the artwork. The merging of water with the fiery elements is beautifully illustrated as orange goldfish gracefully navigate this fusion. In this captivating artwork, viewers are sensitively attuned to Guru Sahib's timeless message of the interconnectedness of all existence, emphasizing that the world is undeniably one.


10. Miniature Illustration



This captivating masterpiece from Punjab, now housed within the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Chandigarh, hails from the early 19th century. It encapsulates the very essence of spiritual contemplation through its portrayal of Guru Arjan, the revered fifth Sikh Guru celebrated for his profound contributions to Sikhism. Within this exquisite piece of artistry, Guru Arjan is gracefully seated in a posture of profound reflection, reclining against a plush cushion that exudes an aura of serenity. The Urdu inscription, gracing the painting's summit, offers viewers both historical context and a glimpse into the profound spiritual significance of the subject. Beneath Guru Arjan's feet, a meticulously detailed floral floor reflects the artist's devotion to intricacy, while a textured pink border elegantly frames the artwork, infusing it with a touch of refinement and sophistication.



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