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Abanindranath Tagore – Artist, writer and orator par excellence
Abanindra did not only painting, but also did illustrations to stories. His first illustrations were for Poet Tagore’s famous story ‘Chitrangada’, and several of the poet’s stories carried Abanindra’s illustrations. In 1905, Abanindra became the vice-principal of the Calcutta School of Painting. It was the principal of the school, E.B. Havel who found that the young painter had the genius of modernizing Indian scene of paintings and he encouraged him further. He got trained in the Mughal - Rajaput style, the Japanese style and developed his own Indian style. Under his leadership, there started in Calcutta a new Indian School of Oriental Arts and this played a decisive role in the configuration and development of modern Indian Painting.
His paintings were exhibited in London (1911), Paris, Belgium, Netherlands (1914), and in Japan (1919) and in various cities of India. During the days of the national struggle for freedom, he ventured out in to a fund-raising tour of India, singing songs, carrying his painting of ‘Bharat Maata’ (Mother India) on the national flag.
Most of Abanindra’s paintings are collected in the Rabindra Bharati Society in Jorashankor. Ananda Coomaraswami based Abanindra’s paintings to write his famous book ‘Indian Drawing’. Abanindra was a prolific writer, mostly art criticism. He was a powerful orator too. His books include Bharat Silpa, Bharat Silpamurti, Bharat Shilper, Sahaja Shiksha, Shadangam, all his studies in the art of painting. Pathe Vipathe and Banglar Vrata are collections of his stories and essays. In children’s literature also he has done some classic contributions. There a couple of works of autobiographical veins too.
He was elected the chancellor of the Viswabharati, when poet Tagore died (1941). Till his death in 1951, he lived in the Shantiniketan.