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Vision and Creation

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Item Code: NAY480
Author: Nandalal Bose
Publisher: Visva-Bharati, Kolkata
Language: English
Edition: 1999
ISBN: 8175222204
Pages: 304 (6 Color and Throughout b/w Illustrations)
Other Details 10.00 X 7.50 inch
Weight 810 gm
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Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description
Two histories, spanning a period of nearly half a century, became so closely entwined that neither can any longer be fully comprehended without a reference to the other. The history of Acharya Nandalal Bose's creative work and that of Rabindranath's Santiniketan can only be understood in terms of their intimate interrelationship.

This idea needs some further explanation. Just as music and dance mix and mingle in a composite harmony, so do poetry and songs and the visual arts in the great festival of life. There is a rhythm in nature, a cosmic harmony, which seeks expression as much through words and sounds as through pictures and physical images, sometimes as static as statues, at other times as liquid and flowing as fountains. In the Kala Bhavana (or the Hall of Arts) in Santiniketan's early years, music and painting were not compartmentalized and divided in separate departments. The spirit of Santiniketan could not be fully expressed without a painter to sit beside and complement the poet. It is from this inner feeling, this conviction, that Rabindranath picked out Nandalal from Abanindranath's company in Calcutta and found a special place for him at Santiniketan.

Nandalal needed Santiniketan, its life and environment for his own development just as much as Santiniketan needed him. In the early phase of his evolution as an artist, ancient Indian tradition and the epics had a dominant influence on his consciousness and shaped his vision. This was the time when Abanindranath played a significant role in the renaissance of Indian art, a movement which also attracted Nandalal among others. Santiniketan opened up other horizons. The very landscape was so different as also were the common people who nested there. Not that Nandalal lost interest in the gods and goddesses, but he came closer to nature, rude and simple, and the common people. Santiniketan as well as Gandhi's influence added new dimensions to Nandalal's creative vision. The distinctive humanism of Rabindranath's institution was an enriching experience for Nandalal and the master artist in turn enriched that institution by his life's work. Here was a notable example of creative interaction. In his heart of hearts, Nandalal was imbued with the spirit of Swadeshi, where the basic idea was to develop self-reliance by drawing on the resources of the immediate neighbourhood as far as possible for creative purposes.

I am not a writer; I do not know the art of literary expression. So I do not have the ability to write a discourse on things.

The crisis in today's world is due to the preponderance of materialism and selfishness. Economic and political measures offer for it only temporary redress. A more fundamental and enduring remedy will lie in the pursuit of such aspirations as go beyond man's urge for survival and service of self. Literature and arts are of that kind. They refine man's mental processes; they bring the lives of both the individual and society into tune, balance and harmony.

So we need to give special attention to literature and arts today. Many may doubt whether this is timely and appropriate in a country steeped in misery, a world burdened with evil. But they are making a mistake there. The pursuit of literature and arts is not a luxury, an excursion into a dreamland of fantasy. Nor is it escapist in nature. That is, if we conceive of and pursue them for a vision of truth.

Literature and arts are the outer glow of the inner light that we see within, under the heavy cover of darkness born of ego and ignorance. They can dispel this cover of darkness, and remove the causes of suffering, if not the suffering itself. But for this we need the earnest and alert minds of seekers of truth, their sincerity and concentration, for a writer or artist can fulfill his responsibility to society only if he follows closely his inner calling.

Although it is over a hundred years since there has been a decisive change in the Indian art scene, only a handful of artists have tried to spell out the nature of this change or reformulate, in its light, their ideas about art practice, its purposes and function, form and content or relationship with the past and the present. Those who have made any basic statements in this regard are even smaller in number. Really speaking, only three of them have written or spoken on art and its problems with noticeable originality and width of perspective and they are Abanindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Benodebehari Mukhopadhyay, belonging, one could say, to the same thought stream but representing three generations of its growth) This may be because these three, apart from being involved participants in a new art movement, were teachers as well and, so, were driven by the need to explain the premises and objectives of the movement to their students and followers.

Abanindranath's views on art are outlined in his inimitable Vagisvari Lectures delivered at the Calcutta University between 1921 and 1929 and published by the University in 1941.2 Although he had started writing on art much earlier, this is the most elaborate and connected statement there is of his thoughts on the various questions faced by the creative artists of that time regarding the nature of the creative impulse, the characteristics of art experience or art activity, purposes of art or issues relating to freedom and discipline, tradition and individuality, language and message, taste and connoisseurship and the like. A highly accomplished and sensitive writer and raconteur, he communicates his ideas and insights with great ease and informality, in a colorful prose that coruscates with poetry, wit, puns and turns of phrase and overpowers one with its rhythmic cadence and flow. And he comes out of these as a very perceptive artist with a distinctly modern vision, who attached greater importance to the creativity of the individual, and his need to commune with his environment to find his real voice, than conformities to rule and styles or technical virtuosity.

Nandalal was a worthy successor to Abanindranath as artist and teacher but he had no claims to comparable literary felicity. In fact, amidst the illustrious literati of the Tagore circle, he felt unduly apologetic when asked to write or speak, and whenever he acceded, had his texts scrutinized by some close literary friend.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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