Contemporary Paintings

  Raja Ravi Verma

Raja Ravi Verma is he most popular artist of Hindus because  the oleo graphs of is god and goddesses are worshiped in millions of homes. He is known as the introducer of new medium ‘ oil on canvas’  in India. He was born on april 29,1848  in a small village killamanoor of Kerala state in a royal family. The village killamanoor  was granted to his family in perpetuity  by Maharaj of Travancore in recognition of services rendered by his ancestors. He had inborn talent of art. At the age of 14, he was sent to Maharaj of Travancore Ayilyam Tirunal to present three miniatures paintings. He recognized his talent and gave him a room in a palace for learning traditional art of Thanjavour from the palace painter Rama swami Naidu. Later on, he learnt European art from Theodor Jonson, a British painter. He painted Indian themes in European style based on great Hindu epics  Ramayana and Mahabharata. His numerous portraits and composition are also highly realistic  and famous. He used beautiful south Indian women as his model for his paintings. In most of the paintings his elder daughter was his model. His famous works are ‘Ravana and Jatayu’ , ‘ ram vanquishing the pride of the ocean’ , Shri Krishna and Balram etc.  art historians and critics recognized his paintings  as imitation of European art for being too dramatic in nature. They also disliked his idea of using models for depicting deities because it has reduced their level to mortal human beings. 

Rama Vanquishing the pride of ocean

This is the famous mythological painting of Raja Ravi Verma, painted on an important episode of Valmiki Ramayana. He successfully seized this moment and paints its oil on canvas. This painting shows the Rama’s anger at the ocean for his noncooperation to give the way for Lanka. Rama wanted to construct a temporary bridge over the ocean to reach Lanka with his force for bringing back his wife Sita from Ravana custody. Rama threatened “Varuna” god of water that he was able to dry the ocean from his bow and arrow. Varuna along with his wife speedily came forward and requested Rama not to dry the ocean. Then he allowed angry Rama to build a bridge on the ocean. This is a realistic painting with western color treatment. The strong built of Rama is shown semi nude in his fluttering dhoti which depicts the strength of the wind blowing from the ocean. The sky is painted in dark color. The flow of sea wave is painted as they are striking back from heavy sea rocks. The rocks shown in the foreground in dark brown color brown blue yellow and peach color are prominent in this composition. now it is the collection of “chitrshala” Mysore.


Jaimini Roy

Jamini roy was the one of the painters of 20 century whose style of painting always remind us that modernity does not mean to go away from our great tradition of art and culture. Art was mission for him. He was born in 1887 at beliator  village in Bankura district of west Bengal in a middle class family. He enrolled himself in the government college of art and craft , Calcutta in 1903 under Abanindranath Tagore. After completing his education, he did not like to work either in traditional style of Bengal school or in European impressionist style. 

Finally his painting own international name and fame. Jamini roy’s style has unique novelty and modernity along with traditionism. Around mid 1930’s he left making paintings on canvas.he used cloth, woods, even mats coated with lime as painting surfaces and painted with natural colors. He painted themes from Ramayana, Radha-Krishna , Jesus Christ and daily life of rural Bengalis and Santhalis. The government of india awarded him ‘padmabhushan’ in 1955.

Mother And Child

 This Water color tempera of mother and child was done by famous artist Jamini Roy from Bengal in 1930.In this painting, a standing mother is holding her naked child with left hand on her left waist, both of them have fish shaped open eyes bold eyebrows. The shape of their face looks like a cup and has cool and calm expressions of love. They are decorated perfectly with white color. mother’s right-hand palm is red. She is wearing brown saree of green border decorated with black lines. On the left lower part of this vertical work, a flowering stem of the plant is shown. The final decoration done in bold lines is very sharp. Which makes whole composition very rhythmic and attractive. Perfect use of vermilion, yellow ocher brown green blue black and white closures is giving extra look to this folk type painting this work resembles with Kali ghat pat works now it is the collection of national gallery of modern art    at New Delhi.


Maqbool Fida Husain was a prolific painter of contemporary Indian art.he,born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra in 1915,had the brief stint at the Indore school of art though he had no formal education his works have been exhibited all over the world. He was an extraordinary genius and versatile artist who received ‘padmashree’ in 1968,”padmabhushan” in 1973 and ‘padmavibhushan’ in 1989.he has painted and sketched in oil , acrylic, water color, charcoal etc. he painted horses social life ,Ramayana and Mahabharata,  Buddha’s life,Bangladesh war, Madhuri Dixit, Madona etc. he painted women specially with a mixture of poetry and intensity of art. He started his career as a burner painter of cinema when he migrate to Mumbai in 1936. Their,  he joined as a member of ‘progressive artist group’ in 1947 an exhibited his painting first time in 1950. He had much creative energy to paint everything in his own style. He usually transformed something, he heard, anything he read, everything he saw in his painting. His burner painting experiences gave him confidence to handle huge spaces for painting. In a multifaceted approached, he had gone on from film to still photography, from architecture to “sculpted furniture , from poster to tapestry , from toy to jewellery. A golden era in modern Indian art ended on June 9, 2011 at the royal Brampton hospital in London but he will remain with us forever in his art work  to guide and inspire.       

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is the well-known personality of the world. She is famous for his care, devotion and love for the orphan and destitute. Husain painted this saintly woman in his style in oil on canvas in1988. Husain divided the whole painting in three vertical parts by two conical pillars of yellow and light brown colors.  The central portion is larger than the left and right ones.  in the left side, Mother Teresa is shown in sitting posture. a child completely nude is shown in her lap   in yellow ocher color. mother is wearing yellow Saree with blue border in a very special style of catholic churches. in this painting Husain painted her face featureless in dark tone.  In the middle portion, two sisters or devotees of mother also having featureless dark faces dressed up like mother are shown in white sarees   one has raised her hands in blessing modes. a reclining male figure in Indian red color is lying in sister’s lap cornering the whole space of canvas from left to right. His left leg is also in mother’s lap an attendant is touching his hand. The white veil of one of the sisters is shown extended toward the right portion. Most of the color look flat but the vibration of light and dark tone is magically visible. Lines are bold, sharp and full of expression.  Basically, this painting is Husain’s gratitude to her nonparallel motherhood. Now it is a collection of national gallery of modern art, new Delhi.

  Kamlesh Dutt     

Kamlesh Dutt is a scholar,educationist, writer and painter  of his time. He was the follower of “sameekhshabadi” art movement for which they gathered inspiration from Indian culture and philosophy. “sameekhshbad”is the first indigenous art movement in modern India started in 1974. This art movement was started by prof.Ramchandra Shukla (1925-2016) ,an eminent painter, art critic, educationist and writer.he was H.O.D Painting,faculty of visual arts , Bananas Hindu University, Varanasi. 
    These painters are motivated by day to day happenings and are sensitive to political and social scenario in which they’s basic purpose is to supervise the role of art so that it can inspire, educate and awaken people  for a better life and style. The social , political and economic problem of India so depressing. Life  is becoming insecure and helpless. Poverty, caste system, dowry system, gambling and drinking are at heights. They paint on such subjects in symbolic and satirical language. Never before satire is used as an important way of doing painting which awaken people to fight against the evils of the society. “sameekshabadi” artist are  R.N. Mishra, S.K. Singh, R.S. Dhir , V.P. Mishra, G.M. Chaturvedi and Bala Dutt Pandey etc. he was rewarded for his research work on “Bhartiya kala mein nari chitran”. 


  The vulture is an oil canvas, painted by “Samikshavad” painter Kamlesh Dutt in1980. The subject of the painting is the devil of dowry system and female persecution which is depicted in the sarcastic manner by the artist. Sense of insecurity, pain and helplessness in woman are depicted in a very effective manner. This painting shows how the dignity and decorum of a female is being crushed in a female dominating society. this shows the miserable scenario of our society where a female is Burt alive, killed or hanged for a dowry.

The background of a painting is of a dark room in which a young lady is seen hanging from the ceiling and burning cider is placed below her feet.  A vulture is seen sitting on arable with her jewelry box and trying to snatch his chain with his beak the vulture and background is painted in the shade of blue and lady is wearing pink color blouse and a white cloth draped on her body below waist till her knees. Her hands being behind her body are not seen. her naval is shown prominently niche is painted in the upper right portion of background. Her body appears lifeless with no expression on her face. On the left portion of the painting a part of a “kalash with amrapallava” and a swastika symbol in white color is also seen. vulture here symbolizes male dominated patriarchal society which always tries to suppress the female counter part. this painting gives message to our society.  This painting is collection of national gallery of modern art, new Delhi.

  Amrita Shergil      

Amrita Shergil was one of the most impressive and genius artist of pre independence era. She was born on January 30, 1913 in Budapest, Hungary. Her father  Sardar Umrao Singh was a Sikh scholar in Sanskrit and her mother a Hungarian singer.she studied art at afamous art school , the ecole nationale des beaux arts, Pairs under Lucien Simon . she was deeply influenced by European post impressionist painters Paul Cezanne , Paul gaugine etc. 

She returned to India in 1934 and traveled Indian art sites Ajanta, Ellora and far south for study purpose. She also studied Indian art miniatures. Her first show was in Shimla  in 1935 and then followed by at Delhi , Bombay , Hyderabad, Allahabad etc. her work reflect the strong union of western and Indian art. We do not find sharp lines in her paintings but lines are created by juxtaposition of colors. Her paintings reflect the charming idleness and dramatic  nature. The down faces, down caste eyes, simple appearance and helpless hand gesture mirror the uncertain future of Indians. She  also worked on nude masses . she made about forty paintings in oil till her death at the age of 29, December 5 1941 at Lahore. Her painting has been declared as national treasure by the government of India  and are in collection of national gallery of modern art New Delhi.

Haldi Grinders

  Haldi Grinders made by Amrita Shergill due to many reasons. The great artist has done this painting in the medium Acrylic/ oil Painting on canvas. The painting belongs to the time periods 1940 A.D. And was done in size 76.5 cm 102 cm. its courtesy is national Gallery of modern Art at new Delhi.  In this painting she has used her favorite colors like red yellow green brown etc. which fill a new visual reality in the painting. The painting has deep sense of melancholy that finds expressions in the pensive faces of the figure. in this painting a rural scene has been shown. the heads of these figure are covered with veils. The three ladies are grinding Haldi. If we see minutely, one more female figure other than the three  have been shown behind a dominating tree in the foreground  on the left side of the painting ,on the right side the second lady’s back has been shown only and her back is supported by another tree on right side of the painting. While the third lady’s face is visible and she is on the left side ahead the tree. Amrita Shergill has depicted the ladies with dark complexion. she has also shown the unhappy sad dejected poor and starving women in such an expressive way. So, this painting has many good qualities in it to be liked by everyone. 

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