ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT
The credit of beginning the new style of school of painting i.e. the Bengal school goes to Mr. E.V.Hevell and Raja Ravi Verma. Mr.E.V.Hevell was the principal of madras school of arts deputed by British government from 1884 to 1886and then he was transferred at Calcutta.
After the establishment of east India company and first war of independence in 1857 a series of political changes ruptured our every walk of life including art and culture. The impact of west swept away everything in the field of traditional Indian art .to teach western art three art schools Bombay, Calcutta and Madras where either student was compelled to copy European art or to make painting as the mixture of Mughal and western art.
The first encouragement for revival of Indian art was led by famous European artist Mr.E.V.Hevell, principal of Madras and later on art school of Calcutta. He appreciated Indian art for its own values. Mr. Havell attract the attention of the world towards the Indian great artistic traditions by his three books namely “Indian sculpture and paintings” “Indian architecture” and the “Ideal of Indian art”.
He motivated and inspired Abanindra Nath to study the technique used in Mughal, Rajput Pahari and Ajanta painting to create a new style. After that Abnindra Nath painted a series of Radha Krishna paintings. He also synthesized traditional Indian art, western art Chinese and Japanese art which finally became the style of Bengal school and are known as wash painting.
E.V. Hevell and Anand Kumar swami enhanced the fame of Abnindra Nath by exhibition his paintings. After the foundation of archaeological survey of India in 1902 the beauty of Indian art spread all over the world. His main students Nand Lal Bose, A.K.Haldar, K. Venkatappa, Suren Ganguli, D.P.R. Chaudhary etc. . who exhibited their paintings on international stage and enhanced the reputation of Indian art which was being ruptured by the British.
Based on Indian tradition – The Bengal school of fully based on the Indian traditional style as the subject matter of this school is based on Indian culture. The paintings based on Indian themes like Mahakali, Shiva Parvati, Krishna and Gopis etc. proved the Bengal school’s Indian mentality.
Influence Ajanta Paintings – Bengal school is influenced from Ajanta art. The qualities of Ajanta art like rhythm, grace, harmony etc. are visible in Bengal school. The lines of Bengal school resemble the Ajanta paintings.
Softness and rhythm in figure – The figure of Bengal school gives soft effect and no hardness is there. they are graceful and have delicacy. They are rhythmic and provide pleasant experience to eyes.
Beautiful colour scheme – The colours of Bengal school are very attractive. Wash technique is used and colour are not bright and gaudy at all.
Influence of Mughal and Rajasthani school – Mughal and Rajasthani school’s influence can be seen at some places.
Light and shade – The softness in the paintings of Bengal school is due to its quality of brilliant light and shade.
Impressive and Indian subject matter – The subject matter of Bengal school is very impressive an Indian character. Themes used are historical, religious and literary.