Ancient Arts

Jamini Roy – Facts, Life History, and Family

There have been a lot of people who were quite gifted with several special qualities. One of the many skillsets that we see today is that of an artist. There are a lot of artists who were famously known for several kinds of paintings. One of the great paintings that are still seen as a masterpiece is the Mona Lisa. It is one of the earliest masterpieces of an amazing artist. Over the years many artists drew paintings and many of them are known to be one of the many masterpieces. During the 19th century, an Indian was born with exceptional artistic qualities. He was Jamini Roy. He was born on April 11, 1887 in Beliatore, India. His family was rich, quite interested in artistic capabilities and it was one of the major reasons for his attractions to the art of painting. As he developed a keen interest in painting, after finishing the initial 12 years of schooling, at the age of 16 years he joined the Government College of Art, Kolkata. During those days, schools were not a lot. After the accomplishment of several years as a teacher, he worked as the vice principal of Government College of Arts, Kolkata, West Bengal. He is famously known for creating the society named ‘Indian Society of Oriental Art’. Jamini Roy had five kids, four sons, and a daughter.

In the Government College of Arts, Jamini Roy was taught to paint the Classical nudes as well as painting in oils which was quite famous and the most difficult topics to learn in the field of artistic painting. Jamini Roy was said to be a fast learner and within few months, he was able to acquire the needed skillset to paint the classical nudes as well as painting in oils which is stated as exceptional for any upcoming artists. In the year 1908, Jamini Roy received a Diploma in Fine Art. Who knew that someday, he will be known for being one of the best artistic greats that India has ever had? Even today, we see a lot of references made to his paintings by the lecturers teaching painting to the current generation. 

Jamini Roy's Paintings

Soon after receiving the Diploma in Arts, Jamini Roy understood that he needed to draw paintings that represented inspirations, predominantly based on the Indian culture. So upon traveling across the villages in West Bengal, he primarily concentrated on the tribal and folk art. One of the paintings that attracted his attention was the Kalighat Painting, a style of art completely made from sweeping brush strokes. It inspired him a lot.

Before this, he was more into landscapes and portrait paintings. After finishing the diploma, he briefly spent his time drawing different landscapes and portrait paintings. After viewing the Kalighat painting, he understood that painting from a real-life inspiration is what brings it alive. Soon after this, he concentrated more on painting pictures using the bold sweep brush strokes. He initially started the experimentation through the Santhal Dance representation. It can be considered as his starting point. During the period from 1921 to 1924, he traveled to different places and painted different impersonating pictures. It brought his paintings to life. 

Jamini Roy Painting Style:

Jamini Roy was one of those painters who brought life through his paintings. After trying the portrait and landscape paintings for the first few years, as specified earlier, he diverted towards real-life pictorial representations. Jamini Roy started observing the Bengal folk art and started representing them through his works. Those paintings were magnificent and it is said that he was able to sell those at 350 Indian rupees which might seem to be a mediocre price today. Through the folk-art representation in his paintings, he was able to achieve three major things. 

The first one was the portrayal of the lives of the common lives, the second one being able to make it accessible to everybody, i.e. the common population. Lastly, the third one brought the actual glory to Indian Art. By the year, 1930, Jamini Roy was well versed with the Kalighat folk art representation of Bengal and produced several outstanding paintings. He also drew paintings representing famous Indian mythological stories like Ramayana, Radha Krishna, as well as Jesus Christ. Jamini Roy painting style got his first breakthrough in the year 1938 when the paintings were sold in the Calcutta market, alongside the streets that were ruled by the British Government. Over the years, his several works gained attraction from the European community who were very well interested in buying his paintings.

Jamini Roy Paintings

Over time, his paintings were seen to be sold on the streets as well as in front of the Bishnupur temple. Several years passed by and slowly, works of Jamini Roy were represented in several prestigious shows in places like New York City and London. One can simply state that Jamini Roy was able to accomplish a feat that was quite difficult to reach during those times. The lives of Santhals were represented through his paintings. In the last half of his life, he moved away from the conventional method of painting on canvases and instead, started doing it in wood, clothes, mats and not to forget wood coated with lime.  Jamini Roy painting style is also known for different kinds of ingredients or pigments as he uses chalk powder, mud, as well as flowers. It made him realize that there can be an alternative other than the regular European paints. This also made Jamini Roy painting become very popular.

Educational Reforms

It can be said that Jamini Roy played a great role in reforming the Indian educational system. He established various English schools in order to modernize the education system. Roy also believed in the power of subjects like Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.

Jamini Roy Facts:

During his entire life, Jamini Roy was awarded three honors. He received his first medal in the year 1934 which was termed as the Viceroy’s gold medal. In the year 1954, he received Padma Bhushan for his amazing artwork as well as a contribution towards Indian art. Additionally, he received the fellowship of the Lalit Academy in the year 1955. 

Jamini Roy

He marched to his death bed in the year 1972. Jamini Roy did achieve a lot that the artists of today strive to reach. It does take a lot of pride to mention that Jamini Roy was one of the greatest painters to have ever lived in India.

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