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Nandalal Bose

Nandalal Bose was one of the pioneers of modern Indian art’s anarchy figure of contextual modernism. He was a pupil of Abanindranath Tagore and was known for his Indian style of painting. He became the principal of Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in 1922. He was influenced by the Tagore family and the murals of Ajanta his classic works include paintings of scenes from Indian mythology, women and village life.

Today many critics consider his paintings among India’s most important modern paintings. In 1976 the archaeological survey of India, Department of culture and the  Government of India declared his works among the “nine artists” whose work “not being antiquities”, were “to be henceforth considered to be art treasures, having regard to their artistic and aesthetic value”.

He was also given the work of illustrating the constitution of India. Nandalal Bose was born on 3rd December 1882 in a middle-class Bengali family at Haveli Kharagpur in Munger district of Bihar State. In 1898 at the age of 15, Nandalal moved to Calcutta for his High School studies in the Central Collegiate School. He also contributed to his college studies at the same institution.

After repeated failures, he persuaded his family to let him study at Calcutta’s School of art. As a young artist, Nandalal Bose was deeply influenced by the murals of the Ajanta caves. He had become part of an international circle of artists and writers seeking to receive classical Indian culture.

To mark the 1930 occasion of Mahatma Gandhi is arrest for protesting the British tax on salt, Bose had created a black on white linocut print of Gandhi walking with a staff. It had become the iconic image for the non-violence movement.

His genius and original style were recognised by famous artists and art critics like Gaganendranath Tagore, Ananda Coomaraswamy and O.C Ganguli.

These lovers of art felt that objective criticism was necessary for the development of painting and founded the Indian society of Oriental art. He had become the principal of the Kala Bhavana, College of arts, at Tagore’s international University Shantiniketan in 1922.

He was also famously asked by Jawaharlal Nehru to sketch the emblems for the Government of India’s awards including the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Shri. Along with his disciple Rammanohar, Nandalal Bose took up the historic task of beautifying the original manuscript of the Constitution of India.

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