Topic outline

    • The Changing World of Visual Arts

      Q19. Give an account of photography in India.

      Ans. Photography

                              i.        By the nineteenth century photographers from Europe began travelling to India, taking pictures, setting up studios, and establishing photographic societies to promote the art of photography.

                             ii.        Some began taking photographs of imperial official; while others began searching for ancient buildings and monuments.

                            iii.        Yet, others recorded moments of triumph for the British. There were also people who recorded the cultural diversity of India in ways that tried to show  India as a primitive country.

      Q20. Why did some artists produce cheap popular prints? What influence would such prints have had on the minds of people who looked at them?

      Ans. By the late-nineteenth century, mechanical printing presses were set up in different parts of India, which allowed prints to be produced in even larger numbers. These prints could therefore be sold cheap in the market. Even the poor could buy them. With the spread of nationalism, popular prints of the early twentieth century began carrying nationalist messages. For example, 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.


      Q21. Describe the paintings of Raja Ravi Verma.

      Ans. Paintings of Raja Ravi Verma

                               i.        He was one of the first artists who tried to create a style that was both modern and national.

                              ii.        He mastered the western art of oil painting and realistic life study, but painted themes from Indian mythology.

                             iii.        His mythological painting became a rage among Indian princes and art collectors, who filled their palace galleries with their work.

                             iv.        He dramatised the scenes of Ramayana and Mahabharata on the canvas.

                              v.        He set up a printing press on the outskirts of Bombay.

      Q22. Why did the scroll painters and potters come to Kalighat? Why did they begin to paint new themes?

      Ans. In the nineteenth century, Calcutta 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. Village artists including scroll painters too came and settled in the city in the hope of new patrons and new buyers of their art.

      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.


      Q23. Describe in your own words one painting from this chapter which suggests that the British were more powerful than Indians. How does the artist depict this?


      Image from NCERT

      The discovery of the body of Sultan Tipu by General Sir David Baird, 4 May 1799, painted by David Wilkie (oil, 1839).

      This painting shows the superiority and dominance of British over the Indians. In this painting, General Baird, who led the British army that stormed Tipu’s fort, is shown standing triumphantly in the middle. The lantern lights up Baird, making him visible to the spectator. Tipu lies dead (left corner), his body hidden in semi-darkness. His forces are defeated, his royal clothes torn and stripped off. The painting seems to announce: this is the fate of those who dare to oppose the British.

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