A towering figure in the field of Art and Literature in the sub-continent of India, Rabindranath Tagore needs no introduction. From having the distinction of being the composer and writer of the National anthems of India and Bangladesh (he wrote the words and composed music of more than two thousands songs) to his Nobel Prize for Literature (one thousand poems; nearly two dozen plays and play-lets; eight novels; eight or more volumes of short stories), his achievements are enough to overawe most personalities. However true connoisseurs of art would want to point out that his exploits in the field of Art was no less path breaking.
Rabindranath Tagore was the seventh born in a family of fourteen children, his family was a rich and a well known one. The Tagores were considered to be one of the most important and culturally inclined families of Bengal. His early life was regaled with a confluence of art, Literature and culture. He learnt the Hindu scriptures at a very early age, and many say that these very scriptures colored his imagination. Rabindranath learnt drawing too in his childhood and he was fascinated with the sketches drawn by his elder brother Jyotirindranath Tagore.
Long before the Paris exhibition in 1930, which catapulted him amongst the top painters of modern times, the artist in Rabindranath Tagore was awakened. In fact the development of a sensitive artist is not an overnight one, he or she is first sensitized to his or her surroundings and only after assimilating what they see, do they begin to give shape to their understanding. Same was the case with Rabindranath Tagore - the artist. His early brush with painting provided him with a unfulfilled desire for the craft: now it was only a matter of time before he started expressing himself through this medium, and many will say that his use of the canvas was as eloquent as his use of words.
In 1924, while writing "Purabi" he started doodling on the pages of his manuscript. The world had to wait for six more years to see his expressions in color, and after that there was no looking back.
Rabindranath Tagore’s Style
Rabindranath Tagore’s lack of Formal training was a blessing in disguise, or he transformed this handicap to an asset. He experimented with the form and colors and his innovative use of lines redefined Indian Paintings to a great extent. He was a prolific painter, producing over 2500 of these within a decade. He used his paintings to express his darker side. Dark and mysterious they have an overwhelming feel of puzzlement and awe with the universe. His paintings were haunted by dark ghostly figures from the primordial world.
Tagore in his essay “My Paintings” describes his paintings as follows:
“The world of sound is a tiny bubble in the silence of the infinite. The Universe has its only language of gesture; it talks in the voice of pictures and dance. Every object in this world proclaims in the dumb signal of lines and colors, the fact that it is not a mere logical abstraction or a mere thing of use, but it is unique in itself, it carries the miracle of its existence. In a picture the artist creates the language of undoubted reality, and we are satisfied that we see. It may not be the representation of a beautiful woman but that of a commonplace donkey or of something that has no external credential of truth in nature but only in its own inner artistic significance.”
After all nobody can describe his work better than the great Bard himself.
Modern Art lovers proclaim Tagore’s Paintings more profound and modern than all his other expressions.