‘Tagore deserves a place in modern Indian art’

Published: 02nd December 2012 09:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2012 09:27 AM   |  A+A-


Describing the growth of the artist in Rabindranath Tagore over a period of 15 years, art historian Ratan Parimoo said that Rabindranath Tagore’s works of art are not to be taken casually and that Tagore has to be given a place in modernity in Indian art.

Ratan Parimoo was delivering a lecture on ‘Sources and development of Rabindranath’s paintings’ at the Fine Arts College here on Saturday.

While the artist in Tagore is relatively a stranger to the layman, Ratan Parimoo, who is also a former professor and Dean of the Baroda University, took the audience through Tagore’s works from the initial doodles to single figure sketches and the fully developed paintings.

The art historian, who is an authority on Rabindranath’s paintings said that the very compact compositions do not have their roots in his literature but that the themes come more from his theatre, from where he may have borrowed the imagery.

Parimoo explained in detail the stylistic peculiarities of Rabindranath Tagore, especially the geometric style. “In many of his works, you can see white colour left on the paper, as an anti-line, to demarcate two structures or figures. He united space and structure with a clear awareness of composition,” he said.

Ratan Parimoo said that Tagore’s later works expressed a maturity and confidence and the expressions and postures of his figures suggested interaction among the characters.

Even his signature was calligraphic with a unique contour.  Exploring the possibilities of primitive art influencing Tagore’s art works, especially the very early ornamental figures and the decorated faces of 1934 with the use of concentric spirals, he said that most of Tagore’s works were not pre-meditated. “This, precisely made it impossible to be copied,” said Parimoo, who was part of a probe committee that looked into the genuineness of the 20-odd paintings which were exhibited as Tagore paintings at the Government College of Arts and Crafts in Kolkata.

The art historian also screened some of the pen and ink drawings that Tagore made in 1938 which showed the control he had gained over his drawings, and the gradation of the tone, his mastery using pen and ink as well as chiaroscuro. Tagore’s landscapes, mostly green and with images possibly from Shantiniketan, were also made a subject of study.

Parallelly, Parimoo also presented the works of both Gaganendranath Tagore and his brother Abanindranath Tagore, who was counted as one of the earliest modern artists in India.  A large number of art students, teachers, professional artists and art critics attended the talk.

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