Jamini Roy: Remembering the artist’s six best works on his 130th birth anniversary

Jamini Roy, a Bengali painter and Padma Bhushan awardee, is one of the ‘Nine Masters’ whose works have been recognised by the Indian Government as art treasures due to their artistic and aesthetic value.

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He was born in 11 April 1887 in the Beliatore village of West Bengal and went on to enroll in the Government School of Arts and Craft in Kolkata, where he mastered academic painting and portraiture. He stuck to the British style of post-Impressionist landscape and portrait painting at the start of his career. In 1925, he began experimenting with a style similar to that of the bazaar painters outside the Kalighat Temple of Kolkata.

By the 1930s, he changed over completely to an indigenous style, even ditching the canvas for woven mats, cloth and wood. His works are characterised by flat colour application, an emphasis on lines and subjects enclosed in a decorative border or motifs.

Jamini Roy’s subjects of choice ranged from the Santhal tribe of Bengal, to Jesus Christ, and even the mother-child duo and animals. His work marked a new beginning in Indian modern art because he rejected the then modern style, preferring to paint in the Bengali folk style. Roy received accolades such as the Viceroy’s gold medal in 1934 and the Padma Bhushan in 1954.

This year, Google created a doodle for Jamini Roy on his birth anniversary. It is a doodled version of his famous painting Black Horse, which features a dark horse with yellow and red motifs against a red background and eyes painted in the style characteristic of Roy.

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