Santhal Girl
Title Santhal Girl
Accession Number ngma-00080
Museum Name National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
Gallery Name NGMA-New Delhi
Object Type Painting
Main Material Oil on Canvas
Main Artist Jamini Roy (1887-1972)
Artist's Nationality Indian
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 style. 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.
Country India
Inscription Signed 'Jamini Roy' in Bengali in the bottom right corner of the painting.
Dimensions 48.5 X 106 cms
Brief Description Jamini Roy's mastery over the techniques of the great European painters led him to paint local landscapes and life of local peasants using tempera and wash techniques. Interestingly, he continued to show these European style landscapes and animals drawing along with his newly-evolved folk style. In this particular painting, he has depicted a Santhal woman looking for her shadow in the water, rendered with the shades of oil colours in tonal variation delineating the forms and suggesting the demeanour of the subject.
Detailed Description It is interesting to see from the hundreds of sketches and drawings in the NGMA collection, how Roy broke down the figure to the essential form that goes into its making and then synthesised it to suggest a structure. Jamini Roy made meticulous sketches and drawings in great detail before undertaking a painting and that he chose to narrate imagery drawn from the village life, be it the peasants, artisans, followers of religious cults, women, etc. Even while Roy was working with these various indigenous themes, he was simultaneously copying from the works of the great European masters. His studio must have been a laboratory where he would study the elements of composition and how the paint was applied.