'This book deals with the revival in the visual arts which was initiated at the beginning of the 20th century, and which led to the breaking away from traditionalism towards a new phase of modernity during the third and fourth decade of the century... The three Tagores, through their extraordinary creative work in their respective mediums, ushered in era of freedom for experimentation, a sense of confidence and independence, from which the subsequent generations have benefited tremendously. They established the fact that modern art had established deep roots by the time of India's independence in 1947... The book is the first such exhaustive coverage and comparative interpretation of the creative work by the three Tagores, with wide ranging documentation, factual information and critical analysis, together with as many as 800 illustrations (many of them published for the first time) of the works of the three great artists along-with other paintings relevant in their context.' 

(Foreword by Dr. Karan Singh) 

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Chapter headings

CHAPTER 1: Introduction: From Revival to Modernity in Indian Art

The Break in the Tradition and the Rise of Individualism in Modern Indian Art

The Need for Scholarly Appraisal of Twentieth Century Art Activity

Hermeneutics, Cultural Studies and New Art History

Abanindranath and the Misunderstood 'Revivalism'

Gaganendranath More Than a Dilettante

The 'Modern' Sources of Rabindranath

End Notes

CHAPTER 2: Nineteenth Century Colonial India

Western Impact and Indian Response in Political, Social and Cultural Spheres

Some Aspects of British Domination of India

Rise of Urban Centres: Calcutta

Printing, English Language, Education

Middle Class and the Bhadralok

Nationalist Thought, Intellectuals and Activists

Socio-political Manifestations in Western India (Maharashtra and Gujarat)

Thematising the Debate Concerning Tradition

Orthodoxy, Unreflective Conformism

Assimilation and Mimeticism

Syncretism and Alienation

Rammohan Roy and Brahmo Samaj

Dayanand Saraswati and Arya Samaj

Western India: Ranade and Prarthana Samaj

Gandhiji and Tradition: Anasaktivada

Literature: Mirror of Indian Renaissance

End Notes

CHAPTER 3: Western Impact on the Indian Arts

Living Tradition and Manifestations of Revivals During the Nineteenth Century

Indian Painting in the Nineteenth Century

British Travellers in India

British Painters in India

Indian Painters Encounter European Techniques

Calcutta: Natural History Painting, Techniques of Naturalism

Early Indigenous Oil Paintings from Bengal

Phenomenon of Aping British Manners

Indian Collections of European object d'art

Positioning Raja Ravi Varma

Enters Photography and Its Repercussions

Archaeological Excavations, Discovery of the Ancient Arts and Their Interpretation

Surveys and Revival of Indian Handicrafts

Establishment of Art Schools

Revival of Indian Architecture

The Debate For/Against the So-called 'Indo-Saracenic'

End Notes

CHAPTER 4: Prominent Personalities, Their Roles and Interactions

The Tagore Clan

Jyotirindranath and His Faces

Multifarious Genius of Rabindranath and His Literature

Gaganendranath's Branch of the Tagore Family

Abanindranath and Gaganendranath the Brothers in Tandem

The Famed South Verandah

The Bichitra Club

E. B. Havell: Relentless Campaigner and Interpreter of Indigenism

Sister Nivedita, Catalyst and Inspirer

Kakuzo Okakura: The Spirit of Asia

Ananda Coomaraswamy's Brief Convergence

The Indian Society of Oriental Art

End Notes

CHAPTER 5: Aesthetic Ideas, Controversies and Birth of Art Criticism

Havell Begins the Battle

Rajendralal Mitra's Bold and Prophetic Arguments

Shyamancharan Shrimani, the Patriotic Supporter of Indian Art

Impact of Okakura's 'Ideals': Notion of a Broader Asian Reawakening

The Grooming of Revivalism by Sister Nivedita

Coomaraswamy Joins the Campaign

Aurobindo Ghosh's Stand Point

Assessing Abanindranath's Writings on Art

James Cousins and the Theosophist Viewpoint

Inherent Weakness of the Revivalists' Arguments

Agastya's Defence / O. C. Ganguly's Art Criticism

Opinions in Favour of Naturalism

B. K. Sarkar's Questioning of the Revivalist Ideology

Rabindranath's Concepts, Breaking the Deadlock

End Notes

CHAPTER 6: Abanindranath Tagore: Tradition, Assimilation, Change

Methodology for Assessing Abanindranath's Paintings

Early Training

First Indian Style Paintings

'Mughal' Series

Wash Phase

Phalguni Phase


Second Phase of Wash Style (1920s) and Historic Portraits

Masks, Portraits and Relation with Rabindranath's Theatre

Last Phase 1930s

End Notes

CHAPTER 7: Regional Responses to The Spirit of Revival


South India Waking Up: Venkatappa in Karnataka

Voices from Punjab and the Achievements of Abdul Rechman Chughtai

Emissaries in North India

Bombay Revival and Its Hero: Jagannath Ahiwasi

Wilderness Transformed Into a Flower Garden: Ravishankar Raval Initiates Renaissance of Art in Gujarat

Revivalist Sculptors

Wembley and Burlington Galleries Exhibitions in London

End Notes

CHAPTER 8: The Pictorial World of Gaganendranath Tagore

Early Accounts of Gaganendranath's Painting Activity

Early Sketches

Maturity Through Landscapes

Satirical Drawings and Caricatures

Confrontation with Cubism and Stage Designing

The Complexity of His Post-Cubist Paintings

Portraying His Mentor, the Poet, and His Own Self-Portraits

End Notes

CHAPTER 9: The Sources and the Development of Rabindranath Tagore's Paintings

Initiation and Growth


Bursting of the Volcano

Relationship Between Paintings and Poetry: Marriage or Divorce

Implications of Rabindranath's Colour Blindness


End Notes

CHAPTER 10: Conclusion




End Notes

Art of Three Tagores: From Revival to Modernity
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Art of Three Tagores: From Revival to Modernity


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