||National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
||Brush and indian ink on paper
||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.
||12.2 X 17.8 cms
||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.
||From 1924 onwards,
Jamini Roy experimented with a new idiom. It was clear that he was looking for
ways to simplify form. His images for the most part became monochromatic - an
austere play of white, soft grey and black. With a masterly control of the
brush, he created contours of the form with fluid, calligraphic lines. The above sketch of a woman with her hands folded in prayer is illustrative of these visual elements.