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A History of Indian Paintings: The Modern Period

Krishna Chaitanya (Author)
Synopsis Despite the fact that Indian painting is among the most precious legacies inherited by mankind as a whole, literature about it is not as adequate as it should be and a comprehensive history was lacking. It was for amending this serious anomaly that Krishna Chaitanya and Abhinav took up the landmark project of a detailed history of Indian painting and, during the period 1976-1984, managed to bring out four volumes. This is the fifth and final volume. The fourth volume had closed with the exhaustion of the Rajput schools bringing the story up to the end of the eighteenth century. A stereotype of current art history is the assumption that the nineteenth century saw almost a total decline of the arts in India. The volume presents ample data to show that, at the level of folk culture, the visual arts continued to flourish with very little loss of vigour. It has many further paradoxes to reveal. The revival of classical art in the first decades of the twentieth century was in spite of its loud claims seriously flawed; but the even louder claims made by the many 'Progressive' groups in their manifestos at the time of independence were swiftly forgotten; art became formalist and took to imitating the fashions of the west. It is now the fashion to deride this, but the language of art had proliferated into many dialects and Indian artists would have remained illiterate if they had not learned to discourse in all of them. The volume has traced numerous fascinating ways in which genes in the gene pool of tradition have modulated and mutated to modernism. While, in order to be art, aesthetic and formal criteria have to be fulfilled, in order to be great art, some alliance to great human ends has to be forged. The evaluation of art kept this consistently in mind and it has revealed modern Indian art to be as spiritual, though in its own strange way, as the traditional.
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About the author

Krishna Chaitanya

Krishna Chaitanya whom Edward Goldsmith, leading international campaigner on environment and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize refers to in his book, The Way : An Ecological World View, as "possibly the greatest polymath of all time" and the national media have rated as "one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century" (Hindustan Times), "our nearest approximation to the Renaissance Man" (Indian Express), a writer who has made "singular contribution to the advancement of thought, art and science in our times" (Times of India) and as "one of the most prolific and luminous intellects of our times" (Economic Times), has written over forty books outline summaries of all of which are available in Krishna Chaitanya a Profile and Selected Papers edited by Suguna Ramachandran (Konark, 1991 ). The main categories are : A five-volume philosophy of freedom which critics have compared to the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, the French Encyclopedists, Herbert Spencer, Bergson, Whitehead and Teilhard de Chardin; a ten-volume history of world literature; Indological works including a book on Indian culture, a history of Sanskrit literature, a literary study of the Mahabharata the most comprehensive book so far on Sanskrit poetics and a translation and commentary of the Gita; and books on Indian art. He got the "Critic of Ideas" award of-the Institute of International Education, New York in 1964, the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1978, Honorary Membership of the International Cultural, society of Korea, Seoul in 1982, D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) of the Rabindrabharati University in 1986, the Padma Shri in 1992 and the Kalidasa award of the International Institute of Indian Studies, Ottawa in 1993.

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Bibliographic information

Title A History of Indian Paintings: The Modern Period
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1994
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170173108
length xx+330p., Plates; Bibliography; Index.