Elizabeth Prendiville shares a note about the Delhi Art Gallery’s exhibition featuring 250 years of Indian portraiture.
New York: This fall the Delhi Art Gallery will explore the art historical narrative of portrait work in Indian art. The birth of this particular stylistic approach was telling of the environment of cosmopolitan India nearly three centuries ago. European artists incorporated this presence of realistic portraiture into Indian culture in the 18th Century while looking for commissioned art opportunities in major cities such as Calcutta and Bombay. The relationship between the sitter, the artist and the creative work it produced was also influenced by the budding increase in photography at this time. Rather than photographic practices being directly induced by portraiture, they were mutually beneficial and the two mediums overlapped immensely at this time. Portraiture can be seen as a deep look into the most prevelent members of society at this time. Upper class and elite individuals and families are represented including a great number of women. In addition to presenting a beautiful illustration of the royal and privileged at the time of inception, many works also showed the most important relationships in the artist’s life. This intimate look into each individual sitter makes the exhibition’s name “The Face Of A People” very appropriate.
The Delhi Art Gallery’s exhibition documents this rich history of creative integration and the ebb and flow of stylistic changes that brought upon modernism and contemporary art. It will document the subtle evolution of modern portrait work in Indian art and feature many well-known masters of this medium. These include Raja Ravi Varma, R. Sardesai, J.P. Gangooly and contemporaries such as M.F. Husain. The exhibition will illustrate each artist’s individual approach to portraiture. Some artists focused specifically on the minute physical attributes of their subject, while others took a more philosophical and thematic approach.
The exhibition will be on display September 24th through October 26th. While in Delhi this fall, be sure to take in this beautiful expression of Indian portraiture through the ages.
To learn more about “Indian Portraits The Face Of A People” visit the Delhi Art Gallery’s website here.