Amrita Sher-Gil flashed through the Indian artistic horizon like an incandescent meteor. Her place in the trajectory of Indian modern art is unquestionably pre eminent. Her aesthetic sensibility shows not surprisingly a blend of European and Indian elements. Sher-Gil’s Sikh father, Umrao Singh Sher-Gil was an owner of landed estates and among other things, he was also a skilled photographer. Her mother, Marie Antoinette was Hungarian. Sher-Gil’s art education was completed in Paris where she was influenced by the post impressionists like Gauguin. While her childhood years were spent travelling between India and Europe, she returned to India in the mid 30s of the 20th century with a wish to make India her home.
It was after her return to India finally, that her perception changed radically. Sher-Gil looked at the Indian art traditions with a fresh eye and she gazed at the sad-eyed people around her with empathy. She became excited by the Indian miniature traditions and as a consequence of her travels to the rock cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora and through South India, her visual language underwent a dramatic transformation. Both the palette, which became saturated with intense reds, ochres, browns, yellows and greens, and her figuration expressed a new visual reality. The painting, ‘Brahmacharis’ is a part of the South Indian trilogy.