Bengal school of art

Bengal school of art

The Bengal School of Art was an influential style of art that flourished in India during the British Raj in the early 20th century. It was associated with Indian nationalism, but was also promoted and supported by many British arts administrators.

The Bengal school arose as an avant garde and nationalist movement reacting against the academic art styles previously promoted in India, both by Indian artists such as Ravi Varma and in British art schools. Following the widespread influence of Indian spiritual ideas in the West, the British art teacher Ernest Binfield Havel attempted to reform the teaching methods at the Calcutta School of Art by encouraging students to imitate Mughal miniatures. This caused immense controversy, leading to a strike by students and complaints from the local press, including from nationalists who considered it to be a retrogressive move. Havel was supported by the artist Abanindranath Tagore, a nephew of the poet Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore painted a number of works influenced by Mughal art, a style that he and Havel believed to be expressive of India's distinct spirutual qualities, as opposed to the "materialism" of the West. Tagore's best-known painting, "Bharat Mata" (Mother India), depicted a young woman, portrayed with four arms in the manner of Hindu deities, holding objects symbolic of India's national aspirations. Tagore later attempted to develop links with Japanese artists as part of an aspiration to construct a pan-Asianist model of art.

The Bengal school's influence in India declined with the spread of modernist ideas in the 1920s.

However Bengal continues to produce some of the best artists of modern India. Among them the best known artists of present day Bengal are Ganesh Pyne, Bikash Bhattacharya, Devajyoti Ray and Paresh Maiti.


ee also

*Indian painting
*Indian Fine art
*Progressive Artists' Group
*Tanjore painting
*Rajput painting
*Madhubani painting
*New Indian Art

External links

* [ Anthology of Indian Art]
* [ Art Galleries in India]
* [ Which Way Indian Art? by Mukul Dey]
* [ Abanindranath Tagore: A Survey of the Master's Life and Work by Mukul Dey]
* [ Profile of a Pioneer: Sarada Ukil by Satyasri Ukil]
* [ Kokka and the Early Neo-Bengal School Masters]
* [ My Reminiscences by Mukul Dey]
* [ Shantanu Ukil: Profile of a Painter]

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