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ARTIST PROFILE

Works of Nandalal Bose

“Nandalal Bose (1882–1966) occupies a place in the history of Modern Indian art that combines those of Raphael and Durer in the history of the Renaissance. Like Raphael Nandalal was a great synthesizer, his originality lay in his ability to marshal discrete ideas drawn from Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, E. B. Havell, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Okakura Kakuzo and Mahatma Gandhi into a unique and unified programme for the creation of a new art movement in India. And like Durer he combined a passion bordering on devotion with an irrepressible analytical mind that compelled him to prise open different art traditions and unravel their syntactic logic, and make them accessible to a new generation of Indian artists. But he did this so quietly and without self-assertive fanfare that the significance of his work is yet to be fully grasped even in India”. – R Shiv Kumar

Nandalal Bose was a master painter who, imbibed with the spirit of nationalism, nurtured the ideology of Indian classical and traditional art early in his career.

He got his art training from Government Art College, Calcutta in 1905, went to Santiniketan in 1914, but again returned to Calcutta and worked under Abanindranath Tagore at Jorashako. In 1923 he was invited by Rabindranath Tagore to join Santiniketan Kalabhavan as an artist-teacher and later on took up the sole responsibility of the institution. His dedication toward his students earned him the epithet of 'Mastermoshai' (reverend teacher). At the initiative of Sister Nivedita, Nandalal visited the Ajanta caves in 1924 with Lady Harringham and artist Asit Kumar Haldar where he made exquisite copies of the cave paintings.As a young artist, Nandalal Bose was deeply influenced by the murals of the Ajanta Caves. He had become part of an international circle of artists and writers seeking to revive classical Indian culture; a circle that already included Okakura Kakuz?, William Rothenstein, Yokoyama Taikan, Christiana Herringham, Laurence Binyon, Abanindranath Tagore, and the seminal London Modernist sculptors Eric Gill and Jacob Epstein. His genius and original style were recognised by famous artists and art critics like Gaganendranath Tagore, Ananda Coomaraswamy and O. C. Ganguli. These lovers of art felt that objective criticism was necessary for the development of painting and founded the Indian Society of Oriental Art. He became the principal of the Kala Bhavana  at Visva Bharati University Santiniketan in 1922.

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