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Modern Indian Art - D. P. Roy Chowdhury & Rmkinker Baij


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DEVI PROSAD ROY CHOWDHURY

D. P. Roy Chowdhury is a versatile person – he was an artist, flautist, writer and wrestler. He was primarily a painter and sculptor. He is most known for his sculptures. After his early years in Kolkatta, he came to Chennai to carry the mantle of Pricipal of Madras School of Arts and Crafts. Even after his retirement he continued to fill his studio with sculptural work.

He learnt sculpture from Hiranmoy Roy Chowdhury and trained in art under Abhanindranath Tagore from whom he learnt specially the technique of water colours. Later he showed preference to western academic style. In sculpture he was inspired by the Impressionist works of the modern Western sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Roy Chowdhury’s forte was casting rather than carving. Though he did portraits in marble, he won laurels through his bronze out door compositions like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Triumph of Labour (now Chennai) and Martyrs’ Memorial.(Bhopal)


Examples

Portrait Head (Bronze)

Portrait head It is beautiful in not just capturing the character of the person but also for the interesting surface texture.

MAHATMA GANDHI

Mahatma Gandhi (bronze) Apart from the physical likeness, the tall ascetic figure of Gandhi is inspiring in his purposeful gait and determined walk upwards.

TRIUMPH OF LABOUR

Triumph of Labour (bronze) depicts four labourers draped in tucked up loin cloth are involved in moving a heavy boulder. Their muscles glisten in sweat and physical exertion. The work is a metaphor for national will, in that the road of Independent India is a rough path and advance is an up-hill task. It may be achieved only through tremendous will power and with the strength of unity.

RAMKINKER BAIJ (1910 - 1980)

Rmkinker Baij may be considered the most important original sculptor, working in India in the period of transition from a traditional to a modern art. “He built up a body of work that is essentially individualistic, based and rooted in his own personality and environment.”

Born and educated in a village near Bankura, West Bengal, Baij finally went to Shantiniketan when he was fifteen years old. Education and life at Shantiniketan was idealistic, idyllic and joyful. Ramkinker, taught art and practiced art at the tranquil surroundings of Shantiniketan for thirty seven years.

Typically most of his works concerns outdoors; his creations belong to the wind and soil; to the blossoming of flowers and bursting of clouds into rain. His art is born from Nature and belongs to Nature. His watercolours of simple themes of reeds and plants; soil and nature, buffaloes and people are delightfully spontaneous in technique and mood.

Ramkinker’s sculptures have a marked out of doors quality. They are created on location and seem to grow out of the very earth. They seem to be an extension of nature. They seem to grow like the trees and vegetation amidst which they are placed.


Examples

SANTAL FAMILY

Santal Family is a free-standing out-door sculpture. Made in concrete, it is a rough-textured group with multiple figures and strong movement vividly contrasted with the static peace of its surroundings. It captures in essence the feeling of togetherness with nature and environment that is the keynote of tribal life. The family in this instance of the Santal man and his wife, striding in purposeful speed, both carry a child each; the third one accompanies them by foot. The spirited dog walks along happily. The sculpture has a monumentality not only due to its size and the material in which it is made, but also in the manner in which the subject matter has been treated. The work is impressionistic in capturing the family in a movement; expressionistic in capturing the feeling of togetherness and joy of daily life.

Sources : Edith Tomory - A History of Fine Arts in India and the West
Monographs published as part of the series of Contemporary Indian Art by Lalitkala Akademi.


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