A birthday of the great master
142nd Birthday of Abanindranath Thakur
Our tribute to the Great Master
“Atmasanskritirbarb Shilpani..” (Art is to cultivate one’s own soul) — a Sloka (Sanskrit verse).
Wednesday (7th Aug, 2013) was the 142nd Birthday of Abanindranath Thakur (7th August, 1871 – 5th December, 1951), the great master of Bengal school of art. He was born in famous Tagore family at Jorasnako in Kolkata who played a master role as the pillar and pioneer artist in modern phase of Indian art. He was a nephew of the poet Rabindranath Tagore and known as Aban Thakur in short form. Rabindranath called him Obin.
He had contributed to establish the Bengal school of art after the emergence of Company School and Kalighat Painting and major writings on the literature and art such as Buro Angla (The old Angla), the “Bageshwaree Probondhabali” (Essays on Bageshwaree) is most, the famous series of lectures delivered by Abanindranath in Calcutta University in 1921-1929 as a “Bageshwaree Adhyapak” (Prof. of the Post Bageshwaree) that contained a critical and aesthetical discussions which partly based on “Sarongo” (Six Parts) and “Navarasa” – Nine-Rasa of ancient Indian art and aesthetics).
Besides, he was deeply familiar with the various kind of Asiatic regions and its culture, especially the Mughal and Rajput miniature paintings that inspired him to invent his well-known wash technique in water-color; at the same time probably this eclectic paradigm had also adopted the western water-color technique as because Aban Thakur studied in Calcutta School of Art to learn to use pastel under Italian artist O. Ghilardi, oil painting from Charles Palmer. Not only that, he devoted to create playfully so many miniature sculptures or toys that called Katum Kutum (actually pronounced as Kaatoom Kootoom) attracted viewers vigorously generation after generation. Also he collected to research so many short poems or rhymes on house hold rituals (Broto) for female and wrote stories for children.
Artist Nandalal Bose, Asit Kumar Haldar, Surendranath Ganguly, Mukul Dey, Kshitindranath Majumdar, Kalipada Ghoshal, Sarada Ukil, Samarendranath Gupta, K. Venkatappa and Ranada Ukil were his close students.
According to Wikipedia this is noted that “Abanindranath maintained throughout his life a long friendship with the London-based artist, author, and eventual president of London’s Royal College of Art William Rothenstein.” ……. ” With the success of Tagore’s ideas, he came into contact with other Asian cultural figures, such as the Japanese art historian Okakura Kakuzō and the Japanese painter Yokoyama Taikan, whose work was comparable to his own. In his later work, he began to incorporate elements of Chinese and Japanese calligraphic traditions into his art, seeking to construct a model for a modern pan-Asian artistic tradition which would merge the common aspects of Eastern spiritual and artistic culture.”
He was the favourite disciple of E. B. Havell who changed the course foundation of Calcutta school of art, from western style of painting to Indian style of painting and it is well-known in art history because Havell was so much keen interested in temple sculptures, wall paintings of Ajanta and Bagh caves of ancient India even the court art of Mughal period including the different kind of flowing traditional trends of marginal art in remote areas of Indian people that played an important role to influence not only the thinking of Aban Thakur’s mind also to build a nationalistic view-point to the mind of artists, intellectuals also to common people though Abanindranath was much aware before a meet with Havell. For that reason Aban Thakur painted his most significant iconic figure of Bharat Mata (Mother India) that is mentioned as reference to highlight the importance in art history with a special attention when the art historians discussed on this topic, the role of modern indian art of late 19th to early 20th century in context to the anti imperialistic political movements that was the national freedom fighting.
And that’s why the image of this vigorous genius artist Abanindranath Thakur is well appreciated still today from older age group to younger group of artists. If you need more about Aban Thakur please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abanindranath_Tagore
Photo credit: Collected from Wikipedia