||Krishna and Balarama
||National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
||Tempera on canvas
||Jamini Roy (1887-1972)
|Artist's Life Date / Bio Data
||Jamini Roy was one of the earliest and most significant modernists of twentieth century Indian art. From 1920 onwards his search for the essence of form led him to experiment with dramatically different visual styles. His career spanning over nearly six decades had many significant turning points and his works collectively speak of the nature of his modernism and the prominent role he played in breaking away from the art practices of his time. Trained in the British academic style of painting in the early decades of the twentieth century, Jamini Roy became well-known as a skilful portraitist. He received regular commissions after he graduated from the Government Art School in what is now Kolkata, in 1916. The first three decades of the twentieth century saw a sea-change in cultural expressions in Bengal. The growing surge of the nationalist movement was prompting all kinds of experiments in literature and the visual arts. The Bengal School, founded by Abanindranath Tagore and Kala Bhavana in Santiniketan under Nandalal Bose rejected European naturalism and the use of oil as a medium and were exploring new ways of representation. Jamini Roy, too, consciously rejected the style he had mastered during his academic training and from the early 1920s searched for forms that stirred the innermost recesses of his being. He sought inspiration from sources as diverse as East Asian calligraphy, terracotta temple friezes, objects from folk arts and crafts traditions and the like.
||148 X 87 cms
||Jamini Roy adopted the tribhanga or bent axis for the Krishna figures from traditional iconography. But even so, he infuses these paintings with intense lyricism. In this particular painting the artist portrays an evocative image of a rural community with the blue lord Krishna and his brother Balaram in symmetric poses. The richly saturated palette and application of flat tones demolish the boundaries of naturalism. With stylised and suggestive tree forms, Jamini Roy creates an idyllic pastoral scene, a rural utopia of his imagination. In keeping with the theme, the imagery is invested with a playful iconicity.
||The Krishna Leela series of painting is of a different character.
Instead of the sturdy, erect figures in his other works, in these
paintings the figures have a bent in their axes. With stylised
birds, animals and suggestive tree forms, Jamini Roy created an
idyllic pastoral scene, a rural utopia of his imagination.