From the Collection

 

“To be drunk and sober, not in different moments, but at once in the same moment—this is the secret of true poetry…” – Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
“And what is true of poetry is also true of art.” – Mulk Raj Anand
“Through the presentation of his feelings and ideas there emerges a style in the drawings which is almost the cumulative attitude of Gaganendranath towards art. In spite of the variety of moods and the changes of attitude, there arises a total attitude towards drawing which absorbs the didactic element of his content into a coherent technique. And although the artist was to change his style in his various experiments in colour later on, the cartoons did not show any ambivalence in the whole process by which Gagan Babu took the world into himself and then spat it out. Therefore the style of cartooning associated with Gaganendranath occupies a uniquely individual position in the history of caricature in our country.” – Mulk Raj Anand
Lithographs from “The Realm of the Absurd” by Gaganendranath Tagore | 1917 | Swaraj Collection

From the Collection

11
The Abduction | R Regunatha Naidu | Oil on paper | c. 1893 | Swaraj Collection
R.Regunatha Naidu was active in the late 19th Century in Trivandrum. He was probably related to the court painter Ramaswamy Naidu and influenced by the work of Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906).
The technique of oil painting was adopted by Indian artists soon after it was introduced into the country through their British counterparts in the late 18th Century. Several so-called “Company School” artists began experimenting in oil, producing pictures in a hybrid style that bridged the gap between traditional watercolour techniques and later academic oil painting. This trend was extended in the course of the 19th Century, resulting in a distinct indigenous style of painting. Not much is known about these early oil painters but it is likely that the following four pictures were painted by a member of the Naidu clan of court artists based in Travancore, now Kerala.

From the Collection

 

In the Hindu religion, Varaha is the third avatar of Vishnu, the preserver god in the Hindu Trimurti (trinity). He appeared in the form of a boar during the Satya Yuga. A variety of legends concerning the avatar centre upon the submergence of the Earth in water due to the action of the demon Hiranyaksha. Varaha dove deep into these waters to slay the demon, carrying the Earth from below the depths to safety.
Hinduism teaches that whenever humanity is threatened by extreme social disorder and wickedness, God will descend into the world as an avatar to restore righteousness, establish cosmic order, and redeem humanity from danger. The avatar doctrine presents a view of divinity that is compatible with evolutionary thinking since it suggests a gradual progression of avatars from amphibian through mammal to later human and godly forms. Most importantly, the concept of avatar presents the theological view of a deeply personal and loving God who cares about the fate of humanity rather than ignores it. Time and time again, the various avatars are willing to intervene on humanity’s behalf to protect its overall cosmic well-being (loka-samgraha).