Monday 12 February 2018

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India – 30

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Nivedita on Art -

Mrs. Herringham, an artist, once came to India with the idea of copying the frescoes in the caves of Ajanta. She was in search of Indian artists for the act of copying. Nivedita arranged the services of Nandalal Bose and Asit Kumar Haldar for the task, through the mediation of Abanindranath. She was eager because the student-artists would get the chance to see the real forms of Indian art if they went to Ajanta. She personally met their entire expenses of board and lodging, and travelling. Thereafter, as the artists were still working at Ajanta, she reached there along with the Bose family. Her presence greatly increased the enthusiasm of the student-artists. In Nivedita's articles, the Ajanta frescoes celebrated the unity of India. Later in their professional careers, the artists were immensely benefited by this experience. Their experiences at Ajanta gave them the clear idea of what the true forms and contents of Indian national art should be.

Her tremendous strength lay in her pen. Therefore, she was not content by providing encouragement only; she contributed several essays to different magazines and periodicals on these artists and their art works. Sri Ramananda Chattopadhyaya, the editor of 'The Modern Review', became the chief exponent of the art movement that developed the Indian traditions. Nivedita first instilled in the mind of Sri Ramananda Chatoopadhyaya a respect for the national art. Sri Chattopadhyay himself acknowledged it.

Nivedita placed such importance on the regeneration of the national art movement that she wrote to Mrs. Ole Bull that her fondest dream was the regeneration of the national arts and crafts. She thought that when there would be regeneration of the ancient arts and crafts in India then only would India emerge as a powerful nation. The great historian Jadunath Sarkar also reminisced: 'Nivedita was a great champion of Indian art. She always appreciated and encouraged any original contribution (in this regard) of any Indian. She would criticize the art works of the young artists and make them aware of their lapses. An excellent art connoisseur, she had extensively studied the Western arts. Bengali artists who followed the national traditions, were greatly benefited by her expert counseling. The frescoes of Ajanta would overwhelm her. She also said that she had found the finest expression of true Indian art in the frescoes of Ajanta, and the philosophy of integration of the Hindu religion in the carved image of Trimurti in the Elephanta caves. The students inspired by her and moulded by her later founded the Indian Society of Oriental Art.

​ To be Continued...​

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