||National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
||Pen and 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.
||10.8 x 9 cms
||The sketches of Jamini Roy give evidence to the distinctive way in which the artist structured his figures. Each figure is created by assembling a set of body parts which are broken down into simple forms only to be reclaimed as a whole. The folk vision of Bengal’s arts and crafts traditions also influenced Jamini Roy’s works. This quick preliminary sketch by the artist depicts the evil king, Ravana from the epic of Ramayana. The sharp, incisive lines reveal Roy's masterly control over form.
||Along with the rustic figures, Jamini Roy also began to draw on
the epics as well as mythology, to introduce a narrative element
in his painting. It also helped him to communicate with ordinary
people because he was entering their familiar world of
imagination. Through the 1930s, he painted scenes from the
'Ramayana' and the 'Mahabharata'.