Abanindranath Tagore

Abanindranath's paintings were as nationalist as that of his Swadeshi mentors as well as cultural and political. He invoked the past like a true cultural nationalist but the style he evolved under the sign of 'Indian' did not correspond to any one past style of Indian painting. While setting out to develop an Indian style he did not actually discard the realist grounding he had acquired through his early Western artistic training. He modified it first by adapting the miniature format of illuminated texts and then by picture to perspective visualization. The encounter with Japanese painting that came on its heels taught him how untouched surfaces could be given spatial definition through a discreet use of details and at the same time how a figure-ground interplay could be achieved by breaking the linear or tonal contours of figure and object representations. The wash technique and the style that emerged through this selective assimilation from different traditions were a new eclectic whole and a personal idiom carefully fashioned to express his intimate sensibility.;