Bengal was a pioneer of painting in Asia under the Pala Empire. Miniature and scroll painting flourished during the Mughal Empire. Kalighat painting or Kalighat Pat also originated in the 19th century Bengal.
19th century Bengal was a unique blend of social – religious reformers, scholars, literary giants, journalists, patriotic orators and scientists – all merging to form images of a renaissance which marked the transition from the ‘medieval’ to the ‘modern’ during the period of the British Indian Empire, from the 19th century to the early 20th century.
As the former capital of India, Calcutta—was the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought and is referred to as the “cultural capital of India”. The Kalighat paintings developed to reflect a variety of themes. Modern painting emerged in Calcutta with the Bengal school
The Bengal School of Art originated in Bengal, (primarily in Calcutta and Shantiniketan) flourished through out India during the British Raj in the early 20th century. It was led by E. B. Havell, the principal of the Government College of Art, Calcutta from 1896; which, eventually, led to the development of the modern Indian painting.
Later, a group of prominent modern artists formed “The Calcutta Group” in 1943 in Calcutta. It had the distinction of being the first artistic movement of its kind in both Bengal and all of India. Though short-lived – the group disbanded in 1953 – the Calcutta Group was instrumental in the transformation of contemporary Indian art and brought this genre onto the world stage. The Group’s general goals preferred more personal idioms, experimenting with concepts like cubism and executing paintings in strikingly modernist terms, besides their expressed love for nature and simplicity of
Indian folk art. This Group held a joint exhibition in Bombay with the Progressive Artists Group in 1950, but its influence in India started declining with the spread of modernist ideas, over the decades.
Indian art has yielded a picture of a vital and vigorous creative practice over the last century & Bengal School has surely been a pillar of creativity & torchbearer of leadership for not only India but also Asia.
In the recent years, there has again been a strong surge of interest in the Bengal School of art among scholars and Art connoisseurs.
This exhibition of paintings & sculptures by Gallery Art & Soul Mumbai & Jagriti Art Initiative Kolkata, aims to showcase works of some of the latent and emerging talent in the contemporary art space of Bengal now.