Nandalal Bose

Nandalal Bose (1882 – 1966) was a disciple of Abanindranath Tagore. He became the principal of Kala Bhavan, Shanti Niketan in 1922. His paintings show the scenes from Indian mythologies, women, and village life. Here are some notable trivia on his contribution to Indian art.

  • As a young artist, he was deeply influenced by the murals of the Ajanta Caves and joined the band of artists who wished to revive classical Indian culture.
  • To mark the 1930 occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s arrest for protesting the British tax on salt, Bose created a black on white linocut print of Gandhi walking with a staff. It became the iconic image for the non-violence movement.
  • Nandalal Bose also originally painted the Indian flag, slightly different from its present form, and it was inspired by the freedom struggle.
  • He became principal of the Kala Bhavan at Tagore’s International University Santiniketan in 1922.
  • He was also asked by Jawaharlal Nehru to sketch the emblems for the Government of India’s awards, including the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Shri.
  • He is also known to have taken up the task of beautifying the original manuscript of the Constitution of India.
  • Most of his paintings have scenes from Indian mythologies, women, and village life. Due to influence of Rabindranath Tagore, he was invited to decorate the Congress sessions at Lucknow, Faizpur and Haripura. In the Faizpur session, the visual impact of his decorations pleased Gandhi very much and he remarked in his opening address” If Gandhi was the redeemer of the village and Rabindranath its poet…no artist of India has revealed the soul of the village people as Nanda babu..”.

Indian Society of Oriental Art
Gaganendranath Tagore, along with his brother Abanindranath, is known for founding the Indian Society of Oriental Art in 1907. This ISOA, sponsored by Europeans, much popularized Tagore’s Bengal School, as well as art and crafts of other Asian nations. It held regular exhibitions in India and abroad, and came out with exquisite color reproductions of original paintings by Abanindranath Tagore, Surendranath Ganguly, Nandalal Bose and other old masters of Mughal and Rajput art. This society later brought out a journal called Rupam.

Nandalal Bose was awarded a prize of Rs. 500 for his painting ‘Shiva-Sati’ in 1908. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1954. He became the second artist to be elected as Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s National Academy of Art in the year 1956. He was conferred the title of ‘Deshikottama’ by the Vishvabharati University. He was honoured with the Silver Jubilee Medal by the Academy of Fine Arts in Calcutta. In 1965, he was awarded the Tagore Birth Centenary Medal by the Asiatic Society of Bengal. His works have been kept in the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi which includes Gandhiji’s Dandi March and the seven posters made for the Indian National Congress for the Haripura Session in 1938. He expired in the year 1996.

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