The most significant of artist Abanindranath Tagore’s students, Nandalal Bose moved to Santiniketan to teach at Kala Bhavana in 1920 at the invitation of Rabindranth Tagore. At Kala Bhavana, Bose experimented with a new visual language in which artists drew from life and the relationship between man and nature. This theme played a crucial role in his images. Bose, in evolving his own style of expression, gathered inspiration from other visual cultures.
‘Sabari in Her Youth’ is a striking painting in Bose’s oeuvre.
It is a subtly layered work which, on the one hand alludes to an episode in Ramayana, where a young tribal girl waits for Rama to come and redeem her, and on the other, it is a scene from life that evokes the spirit of Santiniketan, where Rabindranath Tagore dreamed that man would share a symbiotic relationship with nature.
The strong landscape stretching to the distant horizon is effectively painted in a clear palette, and the bold figuration of the young tribal woman introduces a robust, sculptural quality to the two dimensional image.