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Lithograph
  • Lithograph
    Tagore, Rabindranath, born 1861 - died 1941
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Lithograph

  • Place of origin:

    Bengal (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1928-30 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tagore, Rabindranath, born 1861 - died 1941 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Reproduced, printed in ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by B. Baer Esq., 1961.

  • Museum number:

    IS.89-1961

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali polymath, being a poet, playwright, novelist, composer and visual artist. His work reshaped Bengali literature and music during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

Rabindranath's earliest visual work appeared in his manuscripts of poems (eg. Purabi) and comprised of doodles, scribbles and erasures made out of unwanted words and lines. Towards the end of his career, Tagore aged 67, striving to create a universally accessible art, took up painting more consistently. Around 1928, the artist made thousands of sketches and drawings using brush, pencil and pen. The artist developed a style characterised by simple bold forms and a rhythmic quality. The subjects depicted often involved animals, figures and statuesque women.

In this painting we see the artist explore his interest in movement and semi-abstract compositions. He has used hard and angular lines to draw the figure of a prehistoric looking creature. The grotesque concern with the 'unbeautiful', a constant characteristic throughout the artist's work, may also be as a result of contact with primitive art. The artist is the first Indian painter to have been aware of the qualities of primitive art and to have absorbed some of them in his imagery. In this case, the artist conveys the creature's agony by giving it a wide-open mouth and by bending its neck backwards. The artist has applied paint in an expressionist style characteristic of his mature work.

Physical description

Reproduction of a watercolour painting, printed in coloured inks on paper, in this painting we see the artist explores his interest in movement and semi-abstract compositions. He has used hard and angular lines to draw the figure of a prehistoric looking creature (rather like a camel). In this case, the artist conveys the creature's agony by giving it a wide-open mouth and by bending its neck backwards. The artist has applied paint in an expressionist style characteristic of his mature work.

Place of Origin

Bengal (made)

Date

ca. 1928-30 (made)

Artist/maker

Tagore, Rabindranath, born 1861 - died 1941 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Reproduced, printed in ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

[artist's signature]

Dimensions

Height: 62.1 cm, Width: 49.8 cm, Height: 67.1 cm Conservation paper upon which card is printed, Width: 53.7 cm Conservation paper upon which card is printed

Object history note

RF No: 61/1768. Given by B. Baer. The reproduction made by Ganymed Press, was commissioned by the Government of India for the 'Poet's Pictures: The Drawings of Rabindranath Tagore' exhibition held at the Commonwealth Institute from 5-28 May 1961 in connection with the centenary celebration of Tagore's birth in May 1861.
This is one of a set of 40 reproductions given to the V&A by the Ganymed Press in return for mouting and framing them for the above exhibition. The catalogue for the exhibition is held in the RFs. The last page of the catalogue gives a list of the owners of the original paintings from which the reproductions were made. Reproduced, Rabindranath Tagore, 'Chitralpi' (Calcutta, 1940), Plate 9, with accompanying Bengali poem and the English comment: 'Life chained to an imperfect mind sends its agonised cry.'

Historical context note

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali polymath, being a poet, visual artist, playwright, novelist and composer. His work reshaped Bengali literature and music during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1913, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature and was knighted by the British Crown in 1915.

Rabindranath was born in Calcutta and grew up into a family whose exceptional creativity spearheaded the city's cultural scene. In 1901, he set up the Santiniketan School (later known as Visva Bharati University) on the Birbhum family countryside lands (outside Calcutta). The institution, conceived as an alternative to the educational system set up by the British, was modelled after the forest schools of ancient India. In 1919, Rabindranath founded the art wing Kala Bhavan at Santiniketan and invited the artist Nandalal Bose to paint frescos on the walls.

Rabindranath was involved with the Indian independence movement for independence but maintained throughout, the role of the enlightened poet who champions the universality of artistic expression. His earliest visual work appeared in his manuscripts of poems (eg. Purabi) and comprised of doodles, scribbles and erasures made out of unwanted words and lines.

Towards the end of his career, aged 67, striving to create a universally accessible art, Rabindranath took up painting more consistently. In 1924 he travelled to China and Japan with Nandalal Bose and experimented with brush and wash techniques.
The artist developed a style characterised by simple bold forms and a rhythmic quality. The subjects depicted often involved animals, figures and statuesque women.Around 1928, Rabindranath made thousands of sketches and drawings using brush, pencil and pen. The artist’s work has been exhibited in India and internationally.

Descriptive line

Lithograph, reproduction of watercolour, agonised cry, by Rabindranath Tagore, inks on paper, Bengal, ca. 1930-1940

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Dr Ratan Parimoo, The paintings of the three great Tagores: Abanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore and Rabindranath Tagore. Chronology and comparative studies, 1973.

Exhibition History

Poet's Pictures: The Drawings of Rabindranath Tagore (The Commonwealth Institute 05/05/1961-28/05/1961)

Materials

Paper; Ink

Techniques

Printed

Subjects depicted

Animal

Categories

Prints; Drawings; Paintings; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection code

SSEA

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Qr_O193095
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