The Different Art Forms of India


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In the Indian evolution the new type of sculpture, pseudo-Indian or Indo-European it was, was making a journey through its own discovery. The sculptors were realizing their individuality and consciously launched themselves in search of identity through the individual exploration of reality. When this eventuality highlighted their individual style and identity character, the question of borrowing influence became insignificant. Thus the roots of modern Indian sculpture were finally gaining their ground and, paradoxically, the pursuit of Western academic models pressed towards modernism. And it was this influence and this pursuit of Western academic style that marked the historical value of Indian modern art and indian folk art.

The Modern Art

The period of modernization of India is contemporaneous with the two hundred years of colonial rule. In this sense the history of British colonialism is a part of the history of Indian modernism. The growing forces of modernism were what British imperialism fought in India. This period transformed the total personality of the nation and through the search for freedom and progress, led it to an extraordinary national awakening.

  • Modernism highlights the creative freedom of a human being, individuality and identity, the rational and objective aspect of life, and celebrates the successes and progress of individuals, as well as that of society and the nation. The colonial government provided Indians with an educational model of economic security and material comfort in their own interest. Education has transformed the traditional systems of life and culture and has destroyed the old “parochialism”.

The newly awakened, independent and self-assured personality guided the national consciousness of the country with the result of winning leadership in various fields. The non-violent movement of Mahatma Ghandi, the religious and social reforms initiated by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the scientific inventions of CV Raman and Jagadish Chandra Bose, the literary and artistic creation of Rabindranath Tagore and the guests of other creative personalities were a test significant of this transformation. But unfortunately his impact on the Indian sculpture scene in particular and Indian art in general was not felt before the 1930s.

The Sculpture

Early Indian sculptors admired academic style and were more concerned with technical skills than with expression. They were also easily compliant with the taste of the client as they were economically dependent on the commissions themselves. Some Indian sculptors adopted an English lifestyle because the patrons were more affected by that kind of life. Although some responded to the contemporary art scene, the academic idiom they adopted was inadequate to represent or express the reality of life in that historical period. Thus their sculptures lacked a modern meaning. The postures and gestures of a model of life based on Western antiquities and on smooth and cold surfaces were far from the reality of the authors.

Thus before 1930 Indian sculptors were either pleased or satisfied with themselves or completely confused. Only towards the end of the twenties did some try to cultivate individual styles and do personal experiments with various methods and materials. These “revolutionary” sculptors interacted with the styles of modern western sculpture and with its various “isms”: this can be seen between 1925 and 1950 in the works of Deviprasad Roy Chowdhury, S. Pansare, VP Karmakar and Ramkinkar Baji. The works of Prodosh Dasgupta, Dhanraj Bhagat, Sankho Chaudhuri, Amarnath Sehgal and Chintamani Kar followed, showing the greatest individuality and creativity towards the end of the forties and fifties. The first realistic style of the sculpture shows a strong adherence to the academic style and insists on technical virtuosity, skill and mastery.


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