India has always been regarded as a powerful commercial nation. It was well-known throughout antiquity and had a thriving cosmopolitan culture. Indian artists assimilated various influences from China, Greece, Persia, and other places throughout history.
The objective of the Indian artist has been to give spectators a glimpse of what is more important – the life of the soul, the life within – since ancient times. Indian paintings have long given a perspective of all of creation’s underlying harmony, drawing viewers away from the material world’s concerns.
Traditional Indian art has, without a doubt, changed continuously over the centuries. This continuity, however, was broken during the 18th and 19th centuries. Many art historians argue that there was a collapse in the permanency of ancient Indian art after the colonial conquest. There has been a fantastic balance between the social requirements of the paintings and individual expression in the last hundred years.
Since the colonial time, when the old ateliers were destroyed, this balance has been upset. The new forms that emerged lacked a historical context, leaving painters in a state of limbo. On the one hand, artists lacked a framework for formulating ideas and forms, and on the other hand, as an individual, despite a strong desire to express himself, he was uprooted since there was no precedent or tradition to follow.
British Artists, Indian Art: A British Curiosities
The political, economic, and social lives of Indians changed dramatically over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In every aspect of life, European domination was entrenched. From faraway lands, vastly different cultural and artistic influences arrived, setting new standards for the Indian people to follow.
The British desired an inexhaustible supply of drawings and Indian paintings to carry back to their homeland. They were eager to purchase Indian paintings. They were interested in learning about the culture and traditions of the people they were now in charge of.
Indian art Paintings and sketches have been discovered to be crucial tools for capturing the culture and ways of India’s wonderfully different people. European painters employed Indian apprentices and helpers to produce large numbers of sketches, paintings, and prints.
The Birth Of The Modern Indian Art School: The Merging Of Indian Traditions With Western Mannerism In Modern Indian Art
Art schools were established, along with other educational institutions, to teach Indian painters how to paint in the Western style. In India, the academic realism style of Western art became the norm to be admired and followed.
The J.J. School of Art, directed by John Griffiths, was the epicentre of artistic activity in Bombay (modern-day Mumbai). Over the course of 12 years, from 1872 to 1884, Griffiths and his students worked on a massive project of painting replicas of the Ajanta Murals. The exquisite legacy of old Indian art significantly influenced them.
The Bengal school, led by Abanindranath Tagore, tried to develop a new national aesthetic based on ancient and medieval Indian painting styles. This was a major divergence from the Western academic painting approach taught in modern art schools. The new art movement does not totally reject the academic past and simply describes it as derivative, colonial, and lacking in aesthetic worth in any way.
Abanindranath and his first group of pupils were attempting to resurrect a new nationalist art, but their main concern was how to break free from the Western academic style and develop what they considered as an idealistic spiritual art. Because Abanindranath wants to construct a school, there is an equal emphasis on building a creative collective with his movement.
He believed that a single person could not complete the mission of creating new national art. It required an entire movement as well as a following. It’s a bit of a paradox that the movement’s success was based so heavily on the dissemination of a specific stereotype of what was then widely seen as authentic Indian art, yet it also became the movement’s fundamental flaw in that it became repetitive and formulaic.