||National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
||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 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.
||There are inscriptions in Bengali in the form of a poem along the upper margin of the sketch.
||9.8 X 17.2 cms
||The sketches and drawings of Jamini Roy point to the artist’s
imagination that grapples with manifest details of a visual idea for a
painting. It is from the sketches and drawings that we see the artist’s diverse
experiments with form. In this particular
sketch, Roy has depicted a mendicant, rendered with the fluid, fine lines of
pen and ink in an idiom inspired by the folk art of the Bengal region.
||There is a predominance of drawings and sketches by Jamini Roy in the NGMA Collection. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough especially when seriously studying Jamini Roy's pictorial language. It is from the sketches and drawings that we see the artist's diverse experiments with form. The sketches are certainly prototypes for some of his paintings. 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.