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Bengal Art

Bengal Art (Colonial Period, 1757-1947) Art in Bengal developed in varied and diverse ways during the nearly two hundred years of British colonial rule. This development was greatly influenced by the tastes and attitudes of the ruling English, but various trends and styles can be identified.

Foreign artists After the establishment of British rule a host of artists from England and other countries of Europe travelled to India in the hope of becoming rich overnight, of whom at least 60 names can be traced. These artists worked primarily in three techniques: a) oil on canvas, b) miniature paintings in water colour on ivory, and c) water colour on paper and prints made from them by engraving process. Prominent among the oil painters were Tilly Kettle, John Zoffany, Arther Davies, Thomas Hicky Francesco Ronaldi, Robert Home, William Beechy, Marshal Clakson, Vereschagin. Ozies Humphrey, George Chinnery and Sir Charles D'Oely were notable miniature painters on ivory. Notable engravers and printmakers were William Hodges, Balt Solvyns, James Mofat, Colsworthy Grant, William Simpson, and the uncle-nephew duo of Thomas and William Daniel. Apart from them, a number of untrained artists painted in their pastime or out of curiosity. Prominent among them were James b Frazer, William Princep, Emily Eden, Madam Belson, and G F Atkinson. Apart from John Zoffany and a few others, most of these artists were of moderate merit and fame. Though their art do not have much aesthetic significance, they, however, contributed greatly in preserving the life and nature of 18th and 19th century Bengal in a most vivid and naturalistic way and in a manner which has had profound historical significance.

Company art After the disintegration of the Mughal Empire in the early 18th century, artists of the Mughal court started to take refuge in provincial states like Ayodhya, Patna and Murshidabad. They continued to paint in their traditional style under the new patrons and their paintings were...


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