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Thursday, October 02, 2014


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Showcase - Bengal School
In the early years of the 20th century there was a renewed upsurge of nationalist fervour. In the arts this resulted in the search and revitalisation of Indian cultural history and spirituality, albeit one that was expressed not through the pictorial vocabulary of the foreign rulers but by reviving indigenous techniques and material.

The nationalist project in art was led by Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951) and some enlightened Europeans such as EB Havell, the principal of the Government School of Art in Calcutta from 1896, and Sister Nivedita, an associate of Swami Vivekananda. Moving away from oil painting and subjects that were popular with both the British and Indian intelligentsia, Abanindranath looked to ancient murals and medieval Indian miniatures for inspiration both for subject matter as well as indigenous material such as tempera. The philosophy of a Pan-Indian art that he developed found many enthusiastic followers and this came to be known as the Bengal School, The style developed by him was taken up by many of his students and others who formed the nationalist art movement often called the Bengal School, even though the style and philosophy spread well beyond the borders of Bengal. They sought to develop an indigenous yet modern style in art as a response to the call for swadeshi to express Indian themes in a pictorial language that deliberately turned away from western styles such as those practiced by Raja Ravi Varma.

In his rejection of the colonial aesthetic, Abanindranath turned to Asia, most notably Japan in an effort to imbibe and propose a pan-Asian aesthetic that stood independent of the western one. Japanese stalwarts like Okakura Kakuzo left a lasting impression, as the Bengal school artists learnt the wash technique from them, innovating and modifying it to better suit their own needs. The themes most often seen in the Bengal School include misty and romantic visions of the Indian landscape, historical scenes and portraits as well anecdotes and incidents from daily life in the countryside. Many artists charted individual paths even though they used the techniques and material popularised by the Bengal School. Notable artists of the Bengal School include Asit Haldar, M.A.R Chughtai, Sunayani Devi and Kshitindranath Majumdar.


Abanindranath Tagore

 

Abanindranath Tagore

 

Asit Haldar

 

M.A.R Chughtai

 

 

 

Kshitindranath Majumdar

 

Kshitindranath Majumdar

 

Sunayani Devi

 

 

Miniature Painting

Tanjore and Mysore

European Traveller Artists

Company Period

Kalighat Painting

Academic Realism

Bengal School

Amrita Sher-Gil

Jamini Roy

Gaganendranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore

Shantiniketan

Artists Collectives

Abstraction in Contemporary Indian Art

Art Movements of 1960s

Art Movements in 1970s

Contemporaries

Modern Sculptures

Print Making

Photography