Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Indian Art is best represented by its culture, its beliefs, and its traditions. A subset of these is art, which has given India a profound identity. Art forms have existed in India since time immemorial. Significantly over the past century, Indian Art has undergone vast and diverse changes in its present-day forms. The themes chosen by traditional painters, for instance, were societal. Much then, with the rise of modernists followed by contemporaries, the facets of Indian art were radically changed. India is home to the largest collections of different arts, such as music, theater, dance, performing arts, scriptures, paintings, folk traditions, and writing. These art forms are called the "Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)" of mankind.
Here's a brief overview of Indian art history and practice. This dates back to the 1900s, which underwent various transformations that contributed to the development of such forms of art. India is a vast country, so is its culture, and one of the world's ancient civilizations. Its antiquity depicts the richness of civilization and is in line with the vastness of its geographical scope. All of these factors have contributed to India's diverse, rich and diverse art forms. Diversity is well represented in selected works of art exhibited in the collection of the Museum of Sacred Art. The narratives of the epic Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Sri mat Bhagavatam, Harivamsa, etc., among others in Indian mythology, have found their place in Indian art forms. Shri Krishna's stories are portrayed in Indian art forms as a prankster, a god-child, a divine hero, a model lover, and supremacy. Indian museums displaying Indian art forms include works of art from Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala, etc., as well as from neighboring countries such as Tibet, Nepal, Indonesia, and Thailand. Although these works of art come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, they portray similarity in terms of message and ethnicity. The themes in pottery paintings depict the civilization of the Indus Valley, while the cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora speak of Buddhism in India. Despite tough weather and various invasions by different rulers, the paintings remain a masterpiece of Indian art and their originality. The painting then existed: West India, East India, Central, and Deccan India, with special works from Rajasthan paintings, Modern, Colonial and Mughal paintings. The Harappa civilization during 2000b.c is said to have been the golden age of Indian sculpture art. Most of the Indian sculptures were sculpted to depict different gods of different religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. The rulers were then the main contributors to such sculptures in India. Sculpture as a profession and techniques were transmitted generation by generation to the family members. The differences in sculpture forms existed in India are Indus Valley, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Colonial.
Indian Art Evolution: Pre-Independence (1900-1947)
At the beginning of the 1900s, there were three most common prominences about the art forms that existed at that time. They have been 1. Cross-examination of West's effect on artistic expression. 2. Having an intense need to create a unique idiom and identity for Indian Art. 3. Engaging with the work and role of typical Indian artists, such as interrogating the West and suppressing the cultural identity of India by the British, led to the Swadeshi movement. Many company painters and followers of Raja Ravi Varma had also stopped practicing artistic romanticization in the arts. The artists who carried out such mandates were referred to as the Bengal School of Painting. The artist's choice of media, source(s) of inspiration and artistic methods are the most striking attributes of this school's work. The themes of the arts of these schools of artists are based on Indian religions and mythology. These artists used watercolors, ink, tempera, and Japanese washing methods while avoiding the use of oil as a Western practice. Rabindranath Tagore, Kshitindranath Mazumdar, D.P. Roy Choudury, Nandalal Bose, Sarada Ukil, A.K.Haldar, and M.A.R. Chugtai were the major artists who expressed themselves through the form. Artists such as Gagnendranath Tagore and Rabindra Tagore have chosen to work and experiment on concepts such as personal idioms, cubism and the striking execution of modern art. The pioneering work of Benode Behari and Ramkinkar Balji at the Santiniketan Institute founded by Tagore explicitly shows their love for nature and its beauty. Artists like Jamini Roy preferred to work on the simplicity of Indian folk art. India was freed from the colonial rule of the British in 1947. Since then, the art form has undergone a remarkable change, with the theme of marking the significance of India's independence. Generally, Indian artists never prefer historical themes to their art form unless those moments have led to a major transition in India. Such artists have been known as "Artists of Transition" and to name a few such notable artists are: K.K. Hebbar, N.S. Bendre, Sailoz Mukherjee, Shivax Chavda. Their art forms portray vibrant colors and basic forms.
The Progressive Artist Group
The Progressive Artist Group was founded in Mumbai in 1947, where the artists of this group emphasized the need to bring about a change in the form of art; until then, Indian artists have been practicing. Their main objective was to fill the past with pre-emptive artistic and cultural constraints. The artists who brought about this transition were S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, M.F. Hussain, S. Bakre, K.H. Ara, and H.A. Gade. Gade. ⠀ Their art forms included the attributes listed above were heavily dependent on post-Impressionism in Paris and on conceptual expressionism. Artists such as V.S. Gaitonde, Mohan Samant, and Krishnan Khanna joined this progressive group of artists. Post-Independence (1970-1985) during the 1970s, the Indian Art Form underwent a major shift in focus on political and social issues, particularly through figuration. A series of unfortunate incidents, such as the Bengal famine, the Naxalite agitation, the Emergency of the late Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, contributed to this change of Indian Art. Notable artists such as Rameshwar Broota, Gieve Patel, Bikash Bhattacharjee, and Tyeb Mehta from Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi felt a sense of responsibility in leading their passion to a noble cause. These artists intertwined the subjective and the feminine in their theme of the art they practiced. Also, this era witnessed a series of women artists emerging from the Indian art scene. Some of the prominent female artists include Arpita Singh, Nalini Malini, Madhvi Parekh, and Navjot, among others. Such women artists addressed issues such as racism and victimhood, while at the same time incorporating a progressive and introspective theme in their art form.
Contemporary Indian Art (1985-present) Modernism is best portrayed in the form of contemporary Indian art that emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The preconceived notions in the forms of art were then abolished and replaced by modern young artists. In order to keep pace with changing times, hyperrealism and photos, digital art forms have become part of Indian art and public sentience. One of the prominent artists then came up with the concept of "Hybrid Mannerisms" which eventually turned out to be "hybrid signs." Paradoxically, these hybrid signs were perceived as normal and familiar. In the 1990s, fractured and pluralistic thought was prevalent in the context of contemporary art. This art form, in line with the technological advancement, began to raise its voice to the concerns of the "Globalized Indian." Artworks of artists like Surendra Nair, Shibu Natesan, Rekha Rodwittiya, Jayashree Chakravarthy, and Ravinder Reddy. G transmitted dual messages of both personal responses and a wealth of information on the nature of the question. Contemporary Indian Art has gone beyond Indian borders and has been recognized globally, thanks to a plethora of art galleries (both in India and abroad). With an increase in heterogeneity, Indian Art has become the most creative art and the ability to keep up with changing times. In today's Indian Art, artists have blended blurred designs with videos, digital spaces to bring a new dimension to Indian Art. Such a plural and heterogeneous nature of artists will make Indian Art ever-receptive to development and transformation.