Oil painting of Goddess Jagadhatri | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
A curated collection of oil paintings from the 19th and early 20th centuries is currently on display at the Surrendra Paul Art Gallery, offering art lovers a rare glimpse of mythological paintings from that era.
Titled Mythological Oil Paintings: 19th & early 20th century of Bengal, the exhibition showcases 27 works on loan from private collectors from across the country. According to Vasundhara Tewari Broota, a renowned Indian painter and director of Sangeet Shyamala, where the exhibition is being held, This rare artwork from when oil paintings began in India depicts mythological figures most people will be familiar with. The exhibition includes paintings of Radha and Krishna, Kalankavajan, Goddess Kali and Lord Rama..
On the banks of the Hooghly River, there were settlements of five European communities or colonies from the 17th uptil the 20th century — the British, French, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese — formed for training purposes. Through exposure to their artistic knowledge and practice, native artists learned how to use oil colors and paint on canvases instead of small paper miniatures, as was the norm then.
From the 19th century when formal art education began in Calcutta, native artists trained in European style and later, practiced their own traditional subjects of Gods and Goddesses as also portraits of famous personalities of the time.
All the paintings are from anonymous artists as mentioning the name of the painter on religious paintings was not a tradition in that period.
“Through this exhibition, one is able to observe and appreciate the art of the early oil paintings in India and the historical panorama of the Indian Art Movement,” says Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya, curator of the exhibition.
Very few paintings from that period are available without the existence of any records. I have curated this exhibition after reading up on the history of the period and adding my imagination and visualization to it,” he adds.
At Surrendra Paul Art Gallery till March 12