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

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  • 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 1770s & 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-1780s 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

  • 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 1860s & 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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