NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 10: Changing World of Visual Arts YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 10: Changing World of Visual Arts
  • New art forms were brought – paintings and print making
  • New styles and conventions (accepted norms) of paintings
  • Oil painting were introduced by Europeans – gave real feel
  • Key issues in paintings – culture, power & people

Picturesque Painting Style

  • India as quaint land explored by Britishers
  • Thomas Daniell & William Daniell (nephew of Thomas) – came to India in 1785 and toured for 7 years from Calcutta to South – drew Britain՚s newly conquered territories & ruins of ancient civilization or past glory – oil paintings exhibited in Britain & drew engravings (by wood or metal)
  • What was the theme? New cities (Calcutta) , with wide avenues, majestic European-style buildings, and new modes of transport
  • Traditional life of India as pre-modern, changeless and motionless, typified by faqirs, cows, and boats sailing on the river – emphasized dramatic change under Britishers

Portraits of Authority

  • Portrait (person with facial expression)
  • Portraiture – Art of making portraits
  • Rich & powerful wanted to see themselves on canvas
  • Indian portraits – miniature
  • English portraits – life-size and real (size projected the importance of patrons)
  • European painters came to India for profitable commissions (do work against payment for profit)
  • Paintings for Indian nawabs as well – some against it while others accepted it
  • Muhammad Ali Khan (nawab) had war with British in 1770՚s & became a dependent pensioner of the East India Company - commissioned two visiting European artists, Tilly Kettle and George Willison, to paint his portraits – later gifted it to King of England and the Directors of the East India Company. Despite losing political power, his portraits were in a royal figure

Johann Zoffany

  • Portrait painter
  • Born in Germany, migrated to England
  • Came to India in mid-1780՚s for five years
  • Indians as submissive and inferior & with shadowy background
  • Britishers as superior and imperious, arrogant with luxury life

Painting History

  • Dramatise and recreate episodes of British imperial history
  • Explain their prestige and popularity
  • First hand sketches and accounts of travelers
  • Explain power, victory and supremacy
  • By Francis Hayman in 1762 and placed on public display in the Vauxhall Gardens in London (Lord Clive meeting with Mir Jafar after Battle of Plassey – won by conspiracy) – painting depicts only welcome by Mir Jafar to Lord Clive
  • Rober Kerr Porter – painted storming at Seringapatnam & defeat of Tipu Sultan in 1799
  • David Wilkie – painted Sir David Baird standing triumphantly & Tipu Sultan dead on floor (fate of those who oppose Britishers)

Court Artists

Tipu Sultan opposed British in battlefield and culturally - His palace walls had mural paintings by local artists – explained battle of Polilur in 1780 when Tipu Sultan and Haider Ali defeated British troops

In Murshidabad, British installed puppet nawabs as Mir Jafar and then Mir Qasim – local miniatures to absorb styles of British – local artists created perspective (far objects as smaller and near objects as bigger) and use of light and shade to create real life like figure – Britishers could not support and pay them

Company paintings – collection of local painters producing a vast number of images of local plants and animals, historical buildings and monuments, festivals and processions, trades and crafts, castes and communities

Besides court artists others painted people on empty spaces – plants, birds, animals

New Popular Indian Art

  • In Bengal temples of Kalighat, Scroll Painting (pataus) – painting on long roll of paper
  • Called kumors in eastern India and kumhars in north India
  • People moved to Calcutta in early 19th century – city was expanding as commercial and administrative center – with offices, buildings, roads, markets
  • Previously these producing gods and goddesses images – traditionally with flat pictures and now in rounded 3-D form (bold, large and powerful style) – in society where changes were very drastic – late 19th century depicted social life under British rule – ridiculed those who spoke English, adopted western habits, sat on chairs and westernized baboos (as clowns) & anger of common man against the British rule
  • These were engraved in wooden blocks & later mechanical printing press were established to print in large numbers & could be sold in cheap
  • Middle class artists set up printing press – new method of life study, oil painting, print making – major was Calcutta Art Studio (lifelike images of prominent Bengali personalities)
  • Early 20th century – popular prints carried nationalist messages – Bharat Mata (goddess with national flag – slaughtering the British)


  • Recorded cultural diversity
  • Victory of Britishers
  • Showed India as primitive land
  • Samuel Bourne came to India in the early 1860՚s & set up one of the most famous photographic studios in Calcutta, known as Bourne and Shephard.
  • Pointed arches with Gothic buildings in mid 19th century – borrowed from classical style of Greece and Rome

Search for National Art

Connection b/w art and nationalism

Raja Ravi Varma

  • Modern and national style
  • Belonged to family of maharajas of Travancore in Kerala (addressed as Raja)
  • Mastered oil painting and life study
  • Dramatized scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana (on theoretical performance of mythological stories)
  • He established picture production team and printing press on the outskirts of Bombay
  • Color printings of religious paintings were mass produced

Abanindranath Tagore

  • Nephew of Rabindranath Tagore
  • Different vision for national art
  • Rejected Ravi Varma as westernized & his style as unsuitable
  • Inspirations from Non-Western art traditions and capture essence of east
  • Turned to miniature and mural paintings in Ajanata caves
  • Influenced by Japanese artists
  • Witnessed new Indian style of paintings
  • Painted Banished Yaksha of Kalidas՚s poem Meghaduta

Nandalal Bose

  • Painted Jatugriha Daha (The Burning of the House of Lac during Pandava՚s exile in the forest)
  • Student of Abanindranath Tagore
  • Used 3-D effects not found in Abanindranath Tagore paintings
  • Lyrical flow of lines, elongated limbs and postures of figures
  • New Art Form - Inspiration from living folk art and tribal designs

Okakura Kakuzo

  • In 1904 published book - The Ideals of the East
  • Opening lines of Book – Asia is One
  • Asia is humiliated by west and Asians must collectively resist Western domination
  • Save traditional techniques of Japanese art
  • Principal founder of 1st Japanese Art Academy
  • Visited Shantiniketan and was influenced by Rabindranath and Abanindranath Tagore

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