Close association with the west, spread of English education and Bengal Renaissance brought noticeable changes in the minds and attitudes of the the-then Bengalis. While some pursued noble causes, the majority simply aped the British and became the butt of social satires. This satirical gaze at the changing society, altering lifestyles and industrial progress finds expression in Kalighat paintings. A new typology of men and women were created. There are different views regarding the character and influence on Kalighat painting. While some opine that they have a distinctive British sway, others hold that local technique and social settings are entirely responsible for the Kalighat style.
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Kalighat painting, a school of art founded in the city during the 19th century, is among those rich legacies the country continues to bask in today.
Painted mostly on mill-made paper with flowing brushwork and bold dyes often homemade , Kalighat paintings are said to have originated in the vicinity of the iconic Kalighat Kali Temple in Kolkata.
At this time, the works were sold to visitors who sought souvenirs to take with them from the religious sanctuary. The art almost always depicted Hindu gods and mythological characters, or incidents, themes, and characters from everyday life. The artworks commented on social evils such as crime, or expressed support for the Indian independence movement through illustrations of the likes of Tipu Sultan or Rani Lakshmibai — both revered for having fought the British.
So while some members ground ingredients to create homemade dyes, others drew outlines of the figures, filled in the hues, or added the final touches in the form of motifs and background designs. These were then typically brought to be sold in the city. This type of painting continues to influence and charm artists and art lovers in contemporary India.
The late artist Jamini Roy is among some of the most acclaimed painters who have been influenced by the distinctive style. Today, Kalighat paintings appear in museums and galleries across the globe, from the Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata to the Naprstek Museum in Prague.
A Brief History of Kalighat Paintings in Kolkata, India
Ravana and Hanuman , Kalighat school of painting, c. These paintings were done on cloth or patas. The artists were villagers who travelled from place to place with their scroll paintings and sang the scenes from the epics depicted in the paintings during village gatherings and various festivals. The British: as patrons of this art[ edit ] Kalighat , Kolkata- shown with the Kalighat Temple and the river, Adi Ganga Meanwhile, the British, having established themselves in the country politically started to evince interest in art, literature, and music. They set up institutions that imparted a European style of academic training to Indian artists.
The Patuas introduced Kalighat Paintings in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Calcutta was then the capital of British India. Experts consider the brushwork on these paintings as one of the smoothest art forms in India. These paintings have flawless brushstrokes with simple but bold drawings.