Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850-1922: Occidental Orientations

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Cambridge University Press, 1994 - 475 pages
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Partha Mitter's book is a pioneering study of the history of modern art on the Indian subcontinent from 1850 to 1922. The author tells the story of Indian art during the Raj, set against the interplay of colonialism and nationalism. The work addresses the tensions and contradictions that attended the advent of European naturalism in India, as part of the imperial design for the westernisation of the elite, and traces the artistic evolution from unquestioning westernisation to the construction of Hindu national identity. Through a wide range of literary and pictorial sources, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India balances the study of colonial cultural institutions and networks with the ideologies of the nationalist and intellectual movements which followed. The result is a book of immense significance, both in the context of South Asian history and in the wider context of art history.
 

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Contents

2
29
Salon artists and the rise of the Indian public
63
The power of the printed image
120
Raja Ravi Varma
179
Bengali patriots and art for the nation
221
Ideology of swadeshi art
234
How the past was salvaged by swadeshi artists
267
public battle of styles
340
EPILOGUE
375
Bibliography
436
Index
451
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