Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bengal School of Painting

The Bengal School of Painting was a style and approach of art which flourished in India during the British Raj in the early part of the 20th century. The art was associated to Indian nationalism, at the same time; it was supported and promoted by British arts administrators as well. Just like the richness of the culture of Bengal, Bengal school of painting is affluent and vibrant. The colors and graceful beauty of this painting school are splashed in the piece of writing that follows.

History of Bengal School of Painting
The Bengal school came up as an avant garde and nationalist movement acting in response against the academic art styles that were previously promoted in India, both by Indian artists and in British art schools. Following the impact of Indian religious ideas in the West, the British art teacher Ernest Binfield Havell tried to improve the teaching methods at the Calcutta School of Art by motivating students to try to be like Mughal miniatures. This resulted in controversy. Students went on a strike; complaints from the local press started to come up including nationalists who found it to be a retrogressive move. Havell was fully supported by the artist Abanindranath Tagore, nephew of the poet Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore painted scores of works that were influenced by Mughal art. Abanindranath Tagore and Havell believed that the former’s style is an expression of distinct spiritual qualities of India, as contrasting to the materialism of the Western countries. Tagore's best ever known painting, Bharat Mata (Mother India), illustrated a young woman, who is portrayed with four arms in the manner of Hindu deities, carrying objects that are symbolic of India's national ambitions. Later, Tagore made efforts to develop links with Japanese artists as part of a goal to build a pan-Asianist model of art.

When modernist ideas spread in the second decade of last century, the influence of Bengal school of painting declined.

Characteristic Features of Bengal School of Painting
Bengal School of painting has the following characteristics-

·         The essence of Ajanta is clearly noticeable in Bengal paintings. The Bengal painters have made best possible efforts to bring in the rhythm, linear gracefulness and poise of Ajanta in their painting.
·         The paintings were simple and standard.
·         Figures were refined and elegant without any hardness.
·         Attractive color scheme technique has been used with no bright colors to bring synchronization wash.
·         The paintings have an impact of Mughal and Rajasthani School.
·         The paintings exhibited dexterously exposed light and shade with no hardness.
Artists of Bengal School of Painting
Bengal still houses some of the most eminent and excellent artists of modern India. Among the best artists of Bengal School of painting, the most popular artists of this day Bengal are Nirmal Dutta, Ganesh Pyne, Manishi Dey, Jahar Dasgupta, Devajyoti Ray, Nilima Dutta, Sudip Roy and Paresh Maiti and Bikash Bhattacharje. Pradosh Dasgupta, Chittoprosad Bhattacharya and Subrata Kundu are other notable painters of this school. Sanat Chatterjee is amongst the last living legendary pioneer of Bengal School of art.

Bengal School of Painting is elegant and lively. Its grace and glamour has given new heights to the Indian painting.

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