|SNIPPETS OF INFORMATION |
PAINTINGS - 19th Century onwards
*24 Aug 2021
In the 1920s, many experiments in art practices took place in Calcutta
and Santiniketan. Amidst this activity, the story of Jamini Roy, who
turned to the folk arts of Bengal, is remarkable. Although trained at
the Government School of Art, Calcutta, Roy’s artistic impulses were
rooted in his growing years in Beliatore village in the Birbhum district
of undivided Bengal at that time. Roy adopted the simplification of the
forms, the bold, flat colours and the medium, material and themes of
local folk paintings. He discarded expensive canvas and oil paint and
opted for the more inexpensive material and medium of the folk artist.
He rendered images from Ramayana and Krishna Lila. He painted ordinary
men and women from the village, reinventing popular images from the
patua’s repertoire. Jamini Roy restricted his palette to seven colours-
Indian red, yellow ochre, cadmium green, vermillion, grey, blue and
white. These were mostly earthy or mineral colours. The appropriation of
folk idioms manifested in various ways. There was a phase in which he
adopted the calligraphic brush lines of Kalighat Patuas to create
sophisticated forms. The austerity of lines only serves to highlight
Roy’s superb control over brush. The lines drown lyrically and sometimes
even sensuously with lampblack over white or pale gray background show
not only vigour, but also the poetry latent in the human form. The
paintings Baul and Woman Seated are excellent example of this style. Roy
brought the sensibilities of a formerly educated artist to his
appropriation of folk idiom. He can not escape sophistication in his
figuration. Moreover the monumentality that he often brings to his
figuration recalls the quality of classical sculptures.
*23 Aug 2021
R.Krishna Rao was a student of the Government College of Fine Arts
and Crafts in Chennai. He later served as a Prof and Principal of
the college. He excelled in water colour paintings depicting the
Tamilnadu temple structures and street scenes and people. With minimum
strokes and details, he managed to capture the essence of any
scene. He had the honour of designing the state emblem of Tamil Nadu.
* 3 Aug 2021
Modern Indian painting
The first renaissance of Indian art was seen in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, the main champion of this movement being Raja Ravi Varma
(1848 - 1906). Ravi Varma initially studied painting in
Madurai. He received training in water colour painting from Rama
Swami Naidu and in oil painting from portrait artist
Theodore Jenson. He created several masterpieces fusing his
training in European academic art with themes from the Indian Epics,
Puranas and national sentiment.
E.B.Havell, Principal of the Calcutta School of Arts was
instrumental in re introducing the Indian spiritual ideas and he
encouraged artists to follow the Mughal miniatures style.
One of the main artists who followed this style was Abanindranath Tagore (1871 - 1951), nephew of Rabindranath Tagore.
Abanindranath Tagore was influenced by Irish illustrations and Mughal
miniatures. In this style, he created a set of Radha Krishna
paintings. His most famous work is the one depicting Bharat Mata
with four arms similar to Hindu Goddesses.
Abanindranth's student Nandalal Bose (1883 - 1966), was greatly
influenced by the murals of the Ajanta Caves. He adopted several styles
in his art. He was the principal of Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in
References: A History of Fine Arts in India and the West by Edith Tomory published by Orient Longman p.279 ; wikipedia.org
|- Nandalal Bose was asked by Jawaharlal Nehru to
sketch the emblems for the Government of India's awards, including the
Bharat Ratna and the Padma Shri. Along with his disciple Rammanohar,
Nandalal Bose took up the historic task of beautifying/decorating the
original manuscript of the Constitution of India.
- Some of the prominent artists of Santiniketan school are Benode
Behari Mukherjee, Ramkinkar Baij, Manu Parekh, Sankho Chaudhuri, Dinkar
Kaushik, K. G. Subramanyan, Beohar Rammanohar Sinha, Krishna Reddy, A.
Ramachandran, Sobha Brahma, Ramananda Bandhapadhyay, Dharma Narayan
Dasgupta, Sushen Ghose, Janak Jhankar Narzary.
* 29 Jul 2021
Elizabeth Sass Brunner and her daughter Elizabeth Brunner
came to India in 1930 from Hungary. They travelled extensively and
became aware of the deep thinking that was manifested in the
masterpieces of Hindu and Buddhist art, besides being impressed by the
magnificent and varied phenomena of nature which is reflected in their
paintings. The Brunners were charmed by India, its people, their way of
life. They came to India in an era when great people lived and worked
for freedom and promoted love and peace among mankind. During their long
stay, the Brunners roamed the vast world of India, reaffirming peace
and harmony. Indian thought and philosophy left a deep impression on
them, which is clearly expressed in their work.
Source: DREAMS AND VISION, ignca.gov.in
(When Elizabeth was 19, she had a vision, a dream where an old man with
silver hair was holding an oil lamp. On seeing the flame flicker,
Elizabeth ran to cover it so it would not be put out, on which the old
man handed over the flame to her asking her to guard it and spread it
across the world. Feeling sure that the silver haired man was none other
than Rabindranath Tagore who had visited Budapest in 1926, they set out
on their journey to India.)
leading the Hungarian mother-daughter duo of Elizabeth Sass Brunner (ESB) and
Elizabeth Brunner (EB) to the path of spirituality and knowledge was spurred by a
dream in which Elizabeth Brunner sees Rabindranath Tagore.
their home where the two attained newer heights as artists. The artists
recorded their myriad experiences, learnings, discoveries, emotions and
encounters on their canvases which were to be later hailed as
“Their roots can be traced in the Hungarian art and even though they
spent two years in Santiniketan, their way of expression which was
expressionism, impressionism, pointillism was all very European. But
these are just the forms. What is important is that they discovered
India through art and raised awareness amongst Indians to discover their
own heritage. What I wanted to show was not their physical journey but
their spiritual journey. They came looking for something which they
couldn't find anywhere else,” describes Imre Lazar, Director, Cultural
Counsellor, Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre.
Source: Discovering self by Shailaja Tripathi, The Hindu, May 20, 2010