8 Facts About Jamini Roy

Discover the Indian painter who turned to contemporary indigenous art for inspiration

By Google Arts & Culture

Offering to Krishna by Jamini Roy (1887-1972)National Gallery of Modern Art

East meets West

Jamini Roy's artistic education began at 16 when he studied at the Government College of Art, Kolkata. There he was taught to paint in the Western academic tradition, drawing classical nudes and painting with oils on canvas. He received his diploma in Fine Art in 1908.

Portrait by Jamini Roy (1887-1972)National Gallery of Modern Art

A new path

Roy began his career as a commissioned portrait painter. But in the early 1920s he suddenly gave up this line of work in order to discover his own style. He rejected western academic training and began looking to historic and contemporary Bengali folk art.

Santhal Dance by Jamini Roy (1887-1972)National Gallery of Modern Art

Back to the future

He found great inspiration in the Kalighat Pa, a style of art with bold sweeping brush-strokes. He moved away from his earlier impressionist landscapes and portraits and between 1921 and 1924 began his first period of experimentation painting Santhal dancers.

The Traditional Santhal Dance

Gopini (20th century) by Jamini RoyNational Gallery of Modern Art

International acclaim

His first exhibition was held in 1938 in the city of Kolkata, then called Calcutta. This was followed soon by exhibitions at the Burlington Gallery in London in 1946, and New York in 1953. Throughout this time, he was selling his works to international clients.

Krishna Jasoda (Undated) by Jamini RoyMuseum of Art & Photography

He preferred to be called Patua, rather than artist

Patua are an artisan community found in parts of India and Bangladesh. They are painters of scrolls or 'pats' telling the popular religious stories. Patua may be any religion, but have adopted a blend of both Hindu and Muslim practices.

Crucifixion by Jamini Roy (1887-1972)National Gallery of Modern Art

He still painted christian imagery

His own pats incorporated Christian imagery, such as this image of the crucifixion, and others depicting the mother and child - a reflection of his British-style education, but also of the long history of Christianity in India.

Untitled by Jamini RoyKerala Museum

From the Ancient to the Modern

Despite the ancient subject matter, he is considered one of the first and greatest modernist artists in India, incorporating traditional South Asian iconography into the flat, clean, bold lines and shapes of 20th-Century modernist art.

Cat and Lobster (20th century) by Jamini RoyNational Gallery of Modern Art

A National Treasure

In 1976, the Archaeological Survey of India declared his works among the Nine Masters whose works are "art treasures, having regard to their artistic and aesthetic value".

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps