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National Art

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National Art - Lesson Summary

Ravi Varma belonged to the princely state of Travancore in Kerala. He was trained in the European techniques of oil painting and realistic life study. Raja Ravi Varma was amongst the first painters to fuse Indian tradition with European art. He painted scenes from Indian mythology, using western techniques of shading and realism.

By the 1880s, Raja Ravi Varma set up his own printing press and picture production team. Copies of his paintings were printed in large numbers and became easily affordable.

Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore, and other artists belonging to his group criticized and labeled Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings as too westernized and imitative. These artists drew inspiration from the ancient mural paintings of the Ajanta and the miniature paintings of medieval India.

The Banished Yaksha of Kalidas’s poem Meghaduta, painted by Abanindranath Tagore, is an example of the use of Japanese water colour landscapes in Indian art.

After the 1920s, many artists abandoned the painting style popularized by Abanindranath Tagore. The new artists started painting on real life themes rather than ancient art forms like tribal designs and folk art.


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