Personalities Associated to Paintings

Contribution of Abanindranath Tagore:

  • Abanindranath Tagore was the principal artist and creator of the ‘Indian Society of Oriental Art’ and the first major exponent of swadeshi values in Indian art.
  • He was the foundational and most critically important figure of the Bengal school of art, which led to the development of modernity in Indian painting.
  • Abanindranath enjoyed the support of British administrator and principal of the Calcutta School of Art, B. Havell.
  • Both Abanindranath and Havell were critical of colonial Art Schools and the manner in which European taste in art was being imposed on Indians.
  • They firmly believed in creating a new type of painting thatwas Indian not only in subject matter but also in style.
  • The orientation in the artistic outlook of Abanindranath created a new awakening in India and brought about a revival of the Indian Art.
  • He sought to modernize Mughal and Rajput styles in order to counter the influence of Western models of art, as taught in Art Schools under the British Raj and developed the Bengal school of art.
  • Such was the success of Tagore’s work that it was eventually accepted and promoted as a national Indian style within British colonial art institutions.
  • Moving away from oil painting 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
  • It 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.

Indian Paintings



Contribution of Rabindranath Tagore:

  • Though Rabindranath Tagore started his sporadic attempts at painting in the 1920s, it was in the next decade that he appeared as a major painter in India.
  • His poetry and prose display a continuation of Bengali and Indian traditions, but his paintings are original works of an individual who have a very high sense of imagination and fancy.
  • They might also be related to his profound knowledge of contemporary western art.
  • To promote art, he opened up his house to young artists, and started the, ’vichitra club’.
  • He also created the, ’kala Bhavan’ at Visva Bharat University in 1919.