Rabindranath Tagore was primarily known as a writer, poet, playwright, philosopher and aesthetician, founder of a unique educational institution, Visva- Bharati, music composer and choreographer. Tagore’s emergence as a painter began in 1928 when he was 67 years old. Beginning with scratchings and erasures on the pages of his manuscripts during the mid-20s of the 20th Century, he slowly moved towards drawing and painting independent images. Between 1928 and 1940, Rabindranath painted more than 2000 images. He never, gave any title to his paintings however, in the collection of the NGMA they have been titled by the institution. Fed by memories and the subconscious, Rabindranath’s art was spontaneous and dramatic. His images did not represent the phenomenal world but an interior reality. Rabindranath veered towards abstraction in his figuration. Expressionism in European art and the primitive art of ancient cultures inspired him. Fantasy, wild imagination and an innate feel for the absurd gave a distinctive character to his visual language.
Rabindranath also nurtured a fantastic imagination. This is often observed in the poetry and stories that he wrote for children and is evident in some his paintings. One is overwhelmed by the fantastic figures of birds and humans and semi-abstract forms. The exuberance of these works is counterbalanced by the cool precision and lyricism.
Rabindranath felt that dance and music were the best expressions of the human body. In this painting one can see a composite creature, half human and half bird swaying intensely, the movement of her body captured by rhythmic lines emotes a sense of ecstasy.