Jamini Roy

Artist Profile

An iconic artist and one of the most famous pupils of Abanindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy (1887-1972) is internationally recognised for his endeavours in the world of Bengali folk paintings, that ushered in a new beginning in the history of Indian modern art. 

Having studied at the Government School of Art in Calcutta, Jamini Roy’s initial work reflected the Post-Impressionism genre of landscapes and portraits in line with the western tradition taught there. Not satisfied with the outcome, he soon found his own voice, developing a style that drew inspiration mainly from traditional Indian folk and village arts, especially those of Bengal.

Apart from portraying the beauty in the simplicity of folk life, the artist zealously worked towards making art accessible to all and giving Indian art its distinct individuality.

Jamini Roy replaced costly canvas and oil paints with indigenous pigments and other inexpensive materials and mediums. Working with a palette that mostly consisted of earthy and mineral colours, he illustrated religious themes as well as the life of regular village people, sans the narrative.

The artist was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1954. In 1955, he was made the first Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi, which was the highest honour conferred by the Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s National Academy of Art. In 1976, Jamini Roy’s works were declared to be among the "Nine Masters" works by the Ministry of Culture within the Government of India, to be heralded as "art treasures, having regard to their artistic and aesthetic value".

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