OLD age and complancence have consigned many a celebrity to oblivision.But RAM GOPAL VIJAYVARGIYA is an exception.At 95, this doyen of the realm of Indian painting is as energetic and active as one would expect a young artist to be.In a chequered career spanning over six decades, he earned fame and fortune.
Born at Baler, a tiny village in Sawai Madhopur district in 1905, Vijayvargiya has developed a keen interest in the art of painting at a very early age.Having come to know about the son's passion for painting, his father Bhanwar Lal managed to get his son's admission in Maharaja School of Arts and Crafts.Young Ram Gopal who was them barely 18 years of age started to show his prowess in such a promising manner that he was given a direct entry into the final year and finished the five year's course within 8 month's.
At 17 he held his first one-man show at the Fine Arts and Crafts Society in Calcutta.His second show at the Roerick Centre of Art and Culture Allahabad was inaugerated by Kamla Nehru.Indore, Shimla, Lahore and Varanasi were the other venues of his exhibitions.By the time Ram Gopal was 30 years of age, he had become an established artist having nearly one thousand of his paintings sold out and has become known for his paintings throughout India.
Vijayvargiya is best known for his Tagore School paintings with their typical Ajanta characteristics gracefully curving bodies, softly smiling mouths, half closed, doe-like eyes, thin sinuous arms and long, tapering fingers.This style was his forte.
Basically, human life is his theme.What interests him is man in his varied activities and moods.His canvas reflect the panorama of life.His paintings are records of what his keen eyes have observed and his brain assimilated from the life pulsing around him.Landscapes and still life he has rarely touched.In some ways he is like the documentary film-maker who utilises only location shots.
His early work in the tagore style was mostly imaginativepicturisation
of the lyrics in Jaidev's Gita Govind, the couplets of Omar Khayyam , the poems of Kalidas, the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, tales from the Jatakas and musical modes of Indian classical music.
Reacting to the modern art he says:I consider Art to be basically a visual phenominon, that is, it only requires the eyes to appreciate it.A knowing eye will always be able to make out the sham from the real.I have nothing against the capable modernist.