Extra Questions The Changing World of Visual Arts


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Very Short Questions

1. What idea and which technique did European artists brought with them?

The idea of realism and the technique of Oil painting.

2. Who drew the picturesque of  Clive street in Calcutta and when?

Thomas and Williams Daniell in 1786

3. Which famous portrait artist came to visit India and which paintings he drew?

Johann Zoffany, he painted portraits of Governor-General Hastings with his wife in their Belvedere estate and The Aurial and Dashwood families of Calcutta.

4. Who painted the portrait of Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan of Arcot?

George Willison in 1775

5. What was local scroll painters of Bengal called?

Patuas and Kumors

Short Answer Type Questions

1. What was the difference between a portrait and the Portraiture?

Portrait – A picture of a person in which the face and its expression is prominent
Portraiture – The art of making portraits

2. What do you understand by Engravings?

The engraving was a picture printed onto paper from a piece of wood or metal into which the design or drawing has been cut.

3. What does the painters trying to depict through the Baboo on a chair painting of Kalighat?

In this painting the artist’s fear that the Baboos will imitate the West and give up all that is valuable within the local culture. The baboo here is shown as a clownish figure, wearing shoes with high heels and sitting on a chair with ridiculously pointed legs. It was a reflection of the fear of losing culture by the artists in the 19th century.

4. How did the architecture of buildings changed during the British rule in India and Why?

With British rule, architectural styles also changed. New styles were introduced as new cities were built, new buildings came up. The pointed arches in the buildings and the elongated structures are typical of a style known as Gothic. The new buildings that came up in the mid-nineteenth century in Bombay, were mostly in this style.

The rounded arches and the pillars were typical of another style that the British used in Calcutta. It was borrowed from the Classical style of Greece and Rome. The British wanted their buildings to express their power and glory, and their cultural achievements.

5. Why did the new national artists rejected the art of Raja Ravi Verma?

In Bengal, a new group of nationalist artists gathered around Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951), the nephew
of Rabindranath Tagore. They rejected the art of Ravi Varma as imitative and westernised, and declared that
such a style was unsuitable for depicting the nation’s ancient myths and legends. They felt that a genuine
Indian style of painting had to draw inspiration from non-Western art traditions, and try to capture the
spiritual essence of the East.

Long Answer Type Questions

1.How did the Japenese arts influenced Indian art?

In 1904, Okakura Kakuzo a Japenese author published a book in Japan called The Ideals of the East. This book is famous for its opening lines: “Asia is one.” Okakura argued that Asia had been humiliated by the West and Asian nations had to collectively resist Western domination.

Okakura researched on Japanese art and emphasised the need to save traditional techniques of traditional Japanese art at a time they were being replaced by Western-style painting. He tried to define what modern art could be and how tradition could be retained and modernised. He was the principal founder of the first Japanese art academy.

Okakura visited Santiniketan and had a powerful influence on Rabindranath Tagore and Abanindranath Tagore.

2. Describe how the new world of art emerged in India during the 19th century?

In the nineteenth century a new world of popular art developed in many of the cities of India. In Bengal, around the pilgrimage centre of the temple of Kalighat, local village scroll painters (called patuas) and potters (called kumors in eastern India and kumhars in north India) began developing a new style of art. They moved from the surrounding villages into Calcutta in the early nineteenth century. This was a time when the city was expanding as a commercial and administrative centre. Colonial offices were coming up, new buildings and roads were being built, markets were being established. The city appeared as a place of opportunity where people could come to make a new living.

Before the nineteenth century, the village patuas and kumors had worked on mythological themes and produced images of gods and goddesses. On shifting to Kalighat, they continued to paint these religious images. Traditionally, the figures in scroll paintings looked flat, not rounded. Now Kalighat painters began to use shading to give them a rounded form, to make the images look three-dimensional. Yet the images were not realistic and lifelike. In fact, what is specially to be noted in these early Kalighat paintings is the use of a bold, deliberately non-realistic style, where the figures emerge large and powerful, with a minimum of lines, detail and colours.

After the 1840s, we see a new trend within the Kalighat artists. Living in a society where values, tastes, social norms and customs were undergoing rapid changes, Kalighat artists responded to the world around, and produced paintings on social and political themes. Many of the late-nineteenth-century Kalighat paintings depict social life under British rule. Often the artists mocked at the changes they saw around, ridiculing the new tastes of those who spoke in English and adopted Western habits, dressed like sahibs, smoked cigarettes, or sat on chairs.

With the spread of nationalism, popular prints of the early twentieth century began carrying nationalist messages. In many of them you see Bharat Mata appearing as a goddess carrying the national flag, or nationalist heroes sacrificing their head to the Mata, and gods and goddesses slaughtering the British.

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