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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Bengal and Modernity: Early 20th Century Art in India

(from 3rd Mar until 31st May 2015)

Explore themes of nationalism and modernism in early 20th-century India.

Detail of 'Lady in sari', by Jamini Roy, Bengal, c. 1940s (Museum no: LI2199.17)

Introduction

In the early 20th century, nationalist fervour swept the Indian subcontinent. In Bengal, several artists focused on revitalizing Indian cultural history and spirituality, deliberately turning away from academic expressions of realism practiced in the various British art schools in India. United by mutual artistic interests, these artists found new ways of expressing anti-colonial resistance. Some of them were inspired by the spirit of Asian universalism and looked for inspiration in the arts of East Asia expressed through the revival of indigenous techniques and materials. While yet others celebrated creative freedom drawing on various European art movements. In 1922, an exhibition in the city of Calcutta displayed works of several Indians alongside works by Bauhaus artists. The deep interest in emerging idioms of 'Modernity' shown by artists in Bengal had a significant impact on art in 20th century India. The Museum is grateful to the Lahiri Collection for lending most works on display in this show.

Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, panel and east wall. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, panel and east wall. Eastern Art Paintings Gallery -  Bengal and Modernity exhibition, east wall. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, east wall. Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, east wall 2. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, east wall 2.
Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, north wall. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, north wall. Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, vitrine. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, vitrine. Eastern Art Paintings Gallery -  Bengal and Modernity exhibition, west wall. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford Eastern Art Paintings Gallery - Bengal and Modernity exhibition, west wall.
Notice

Objects from past exhibitions may have now returned to our stores or a lender. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so please contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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