Abanindranath Tagore - Profile of a Great Painter


Abanindranath Tagore was the man who sets up the platform for modern arts and paintings in Bengal. He was a painter of the era when there was renaissance in Bengal Paintings.

Abanindranath Tagore was born in 7th August, 1871 in the famous Tagore family of Jorashanko mansion in Kolkata. He is the youngest son of the late Gunendranath Tagore. Born in the era Bengal Renaissance, he grew up in an environment that fostered his creative talents. Rabindranath Tagore, famous poet and Nobel Laureate was his uncle. Girindranath Tagore, Abanindranath's grandfather was also had been a reputed painter in his times.
When Abanindranath was five years old, he was admitted to the Normal School, which was situated on the site of Mr. Haren Sil's house in Chitpore Road, Jorasanko. He studied there for about two or three years. Later, after his father's death, when he was 10 yrs old, he was admitted to Sanskrit college. But Abanindranath has already then tasted the flavour of painting. He learned the art of paintings while he was studying in Sanskrit College. Later he passed from this college and gets admitted to St. Xavier's college. He studied here just for one and a half year as a special student in English.
In 1897 when Abanindranath was about twenty-five years of age, he took private lessons on cast drawing, foliage drawing, pastel and life study from Signor Gilhardi, an Italian artist, (then Vice-Principal of the Calcutta Government School of Art) . He also began to attend the studio of Mr. Charles L. Palmer who had arrived from England. He had gone through a rigorous training under Mr. Palmer. During this period Abanindranath was so skilled and armed in portrait painting in oils that he could finish a picture within two hours. Later he also attained proficiency in water colour paintings. He made the environment, human beings and the regular society as his subjects. He could paint beautiful landscape and scenery with water colour. He also took keen interests in international style like Indo-Persian works, Chinese and Japanese calligraphic but the revival of Indian arts turned to be his main ambition. He played a huge role in revival of old Indian Art that he has set up the field for renaissance of Bengal Arts and paintings. With the touch of modernity he gives the new dimension to his paintings.
Some of his works are : "Avisarika" (1892), "Passing of Shah Jahan" (1900), "Buddha and Sujata" (1901), "Krishna Lila" series (1901 to 1903), "Banished Yaksha" (1904), "Summer" from Ritu Sanghar of Kalidasa (1905), "Moonlight Music Party" (1906), "The Feast of Lamps" (1907), "Kacha and Devajani" (1908), "Shah Jahan Dreaming of Taj" (1909), illustrations of "Omar Khayyam" (1909), "The Call of the Flute" (1910), "Asoka's Queen" (1910: painted for her Majesty Queen Mary), "Veena Player" (1911), "Aurangzeb examining the head of Dara" (1911), "Temple Dancer" (1912), "Pushpa-Radha" (1912), "Sri Radha by the River Jamuna" (1913), "Radhika gazing at the portrait of Sri Krishna" (1913), "Moonrise at Mussouri Hills" (1916), "Poet's Baul-dance in Falgurni" (1916), "Chaitanya with his followers on the sea beach of Puri" (1915), "Baba Ganesh" (1937), "End of Dalliance" (1939),"Birds and Animals" series (1915), "The Last Journey" (1914),Tales of Arabian Nights (1928)and many more. Another innovative works of Abanindranath Tagore was an imaginary map which he drawn in "Putur Boi". One of the great invention was his post-card paintings and sketches which he used to send his pupils to give encouragement.
Abanindranath Tagore was also a great writer. Some of his Books are: "Raj-Kahini", "Sakuntala", "Kshirer-Putul", "Bhutapatri", "Nalaka", "Nahush", "Buro-Angla".
This great painter, fine writer, sculptor and an encouraging teacher passed away on 5th December, 1951.


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