Most of us knows about Tagore, the poet, the novelist, the song writer. But did you know that this Nobel Laureate was also a painter! Sampurna Majumder acquaints us with Tagore, the painter.
We all are aware of the great literary figure Rabindranath Tagore. Yes, he was the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and his composed verse ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was adopted as the country’s national anthem.
Though known to the world as renowned poet, versatility was his middle name. He was a poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher, social reformer, musician and also an artist. Egged by an insatiable urge for creativity, Tagore took up the brush when he was around 65. In his own words, “Now in the evening of my life, my mind is filled with forms and colours.” He often perceived this passion as an affair in the evening of his life.
Tagore delved into this passion in 1926 and such a prolific painter he turned out to be, that within four years he held nine painting exhibition across Europe, and also in Boston and New York.
What sets him apart as a painter is the sheer forms within vast canvases of formlessness. His paintings transcend all known canons of art and some of his early compositions comprise doodles of thoughts. Some of these tend to resemble birds, faces and sometimes monsters.
In his subsequent compositions, human figures usually vertically positioned can be spotted. The main focus happened to be human faces upholding various facial expressions such as anger, disgust, laughter and so on. In his series titled ‘Heads’ female figures appear more often.
Pen-and-ink constituted many of his works. Some of best paintings are but doodles in pen-and-ink exhibiting his mastery over pen and ink.
Tagore later shifted focus to landscape and colours became an important constituent of them. Silhouetted trees placed against the bright sky and absence of human figures became some of the major highlights of landscape paintings. Reddish, yellowish and brownish hues are prominent and the absence of human figures adds an element of mysteriousness to the paintings. He never made preparatory sketches; the images simply flowed through on canvas or paper.
The total oeuvre of 3000 paintings, composed between 1926 and 1940 trace the extraordinary talent of the genius Rabindranath Tagore.
- Handwriting Analysis: Rabindranath Tagore (manhardeep.com)
- Gold coin to commemorate Tagore released (thehindu.com)
- Digital version of Rabindranath Tagore’s work launched (gulfnews.com)
- An exhibition of Rabindranatha Tagore’s paintings in Mumbai (riddhi09.wordpress.com)