Most of our reknowned artists wanted to give credit to Amrita Sher Gill
or Tagores for bringing
modernism in Indian art.However, in fact, it was rather an extension of impressionist school
of Paris.Having a tradition of miniature and mural painting, Indian painters never used oil
painting medium before the colonial period.
Born artists are infact endowed not only with rare imagination but also with a kind of
institution which helps them invent methods to perfect the skill and workmanship .
The acceptance of mythological element for pictorial expression is seen in the art of all the
cultures-in the West.In Europe from Giotto (1266-1336) to
Rembrandt (1606-1669) several painters chose to paint the episodes
from the life of Christ and other religious stories.But when we access these paintings today,
as works of art, we apply aesthetic canons of pictorial art to judge them.If we do the same
exercise while examining some selected paintings of Raja Ravi Verma
we are certain to rediscover those artistic values that are latently existing in them.
It is futile to debate on the issue of popular art against classical or creative art.Both have
place in human culture.Popular art with vigour, vitality and emotional depth also has the
potential power to rise high, and in the sensitive and receptive human culture it may even rise
to the extent of assuming a new form of classical art.
If not today in years to come,
some enlightened scholars in art may appear on the art scene of India, who will have, not merely
the affinity and pride of our cultural past, but a true depth of vision and the discerning eye
to rediscover, not only Raja Ravi Verma but the other forgotten great
masters like Pestonji Bomanji (1851-1938), M.V.Dhurandhar (1867-1944),
A.X.Trindade (1870-1935), A.H.Muller (1878-1960), S.L.Haldankar (1883-1968) and host of
other such masters.Such rediscovery would not only help reassessing the art values that had,
so far escaped our attention , but would install those forgotten artists in their right places
in the annalss of our art history.
Sothbey's expected around 30,000 pounds to 45,000 pounds for 8 paintings of Raja Ravi Verma which were put in auction .However, the total amount finally
received for those paintings were 77,950 pounds which was a record price for any Indian old
master belonging to the colonial period.Just as the images in the art of painting keep changing
as per changes in concepts and philosophy of art, the aesthetic norms, together with value-system
also change accordingly.Therefore,how our present day schools of painting will be viewed and
assessed after next few decades, will be difficult for anyone to fathom.It is also difficult to
guess as to how many of the present-day paintings will survive for another 50 years or so, in
good condition and without losing their tonal depth and luster of pigments.
During the last three decades or so Indian painters are being projected abroad in many countries,
on various occassions.Therefore, they may perhaps assume, that their art is being accepted
internationally.However, in 1973, as a part of the Silver Jubilee celebration of our Independence
India sent one major exhibition of paintings of leading Indian painters to the United States.The
exhibition was held in Washington D.C. at Smithsonion Institute and was inaugurated on
15th march 1973.
Now lets talk about few of our favorite international painters :
Leonardo Da Vinci ( 1452-1519 ) known in Florence as a rising painter,
sculptor and architect.With the exception of an unfinished canvas of the "Adorations of the kings
," in the Uffizi at Florence, nearly all of his early work has been lost.He was the first painter
to go to nature for his example.He owned nothing to the old classical rules and patterns.He was
the first to realise the effects and to appreciate the beauties of light and shade.There can only
be one summary of Leonardo Da Vinci that almost perfect example
of the civilised mind wedded to a healthy body:He was the complete man
Albrecht Durer ( 1471-1528 ) was one of the greatest artistic geniuses
that the world has produced.If there be need to add to that-he was a painter who produced the
finest paintings in the whole history of German art, he was a supreme draughtsman , he was both
a pioneer and master of etching.His work has since it's first appearence, delighted and inspired
Michelangelo Buonarroti ( 1475-1564 ) made his own monuments to the
loftiness of his genius.He carved them in marble, limned them in paint, built them in ink.He was
a giant in an age of giants, an amazing Italian man who not only mastered art, but enslaved the
arts.Throughout a long and painful life, he worked and toiled to give fresh beauty to the world
and as long as civilisation lasts, the beauty that he created will move mankind and keep alive
his name "the man with four souls".
You will be surprised to know that
Chester Herwitz an American bussinessman,a leather manufacturer,
who made shoes and handbags is a great admirer of contemporary Indian art.He has so far
collected over 3000 paintings of Indian painters.He claims that he has best of Hussains, numbering over 200.Besides 60 Razas,
100 Laxma Gouds and other eminent artists in numbers.As he says,"
I do not keep single paintings. If I am interested in the artist I like to watch him through
many works.I am interested in a continuous visions."
Herwitz's passion for Indian art and especially for India, as
expressed by him in his own words is as follows "There is a nature of life here, of people
and the chaotic plentitude of images which strikes you.We, in the U.S. experience life
vicariously through winshields and the T.V screen.In India, you look out of the window and
you get hit by the sharp diersity of images.When paintings vibrate with this reality, I'm taken
Thus the birth of "Great Indian Art"