Changing World of Visual Arts
Q19. Give an account of photography in India.
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.
Some began taking photographs of imperial
official; while others began searching for ancient buildings and monuments.
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
He was one of the first artists who tried
to create a style that was both modern and national.
He mastered the western art of oil painting
and realistic life study, but painted themes from Indian mythology.
His mythological painting became a rage
among Indian princes and art collectors, who filled their palace galleries with
He dramatised the scenes of Ramayana and Mahabharata
on the canvas.
He set up a printing press on the outskirts
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.
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
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
discovery of the body of Sultan Tipu by General Sir David Baird, 4 May 1799,
painted by David Wilkie (oil, 1839).
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.