Sarkar especially Hindu art, had been described

Sarkar in his essay ‘The Beginning of Hindu Culture as a World Power’ retraces the expand of Indian trade and culture in Asia and beyond. He infers, like Cousins, that Indian culture
had spread to Chiana and Japan and other countries of Asia in its vast
history. With this he tries to draw a parallel with the expand of
European influence in the modern history. He takes this point further in
his review of Vincent Smith’s book ‘Oxford History of India’ by
pointing out various empires of India through out history which were
mightier than Roman and other empires of Europe. He also points out that
the book, although encyclopedic n nature, presents the European point
of view and is an attempt to hide flaws of the British empire. Instead
of presenting a true picture the book is written to show British
governance in a positive light alone. It is clearly visible from these
two articles that Sarkar was a patriot with in-depth knowledge of Indian
history despite his Western education. He was very observant of human
nature as well which is displayed in many of his essays on society and
culture. Sarkar is celebrated as a sociologist, but his interest in
art led him to write on the topic. In his book the ‘Hindu Art: It’s
Humanism and Modernism’ Sarkar has translated a scene from Kalidas’s
‘Shakoontala’ in which king Doosyanta is talking about a painting of his
wife Shakoontala, whom he missing. Through this example Sarkar brings
to notice that there is no pessimism, idealism, spiritual or theological
subject matter described in the painting. Instead he finds that the
description of the painting suggests it to be realistic with a humanist
theme. The subject of the painting described is of the king’s lover, a
theme which denotes a common human emotion around the world. Indian art,
especially Hindu art, had been described as demonstrating ‘Oriental
pessimism’ by the critics of Europe America and some of the Indian
critics as well. on the other hand the revivalist critics saw Indian art
imbibed with spirituality, symbolism and idealism. Sarkar challenges
theories of both revivalist and western critics regarding Indian art. He
believes that the art critics of the time based their opinion regarding
Indian art on a single line of thought instead of looking at a broader
picture. He did  not believe that Indian art was an outcome of deep meditation part of the
artist, instead he felt it is an honest representation of humane
actions and emotions. While other critics were trying to divide art
based on geographical distance reflected in the approach of the artists,
Sarkar stressed on the similarity between the art of East and West. He compared humanism in Indian art to that of the West. He saw themes of history, legends, traditions and myths made in the works of both European and Indian art. Secular themes were a part of Indian art and it cannot be ignored under the guise of spirituality. In fact he mentions that according to Dhananjaya’s Dasa-roopa (the medieval treatise on Hindu dramaturgy) the
theme could be ‘anything and everything’, so it is hard to believed
that theology alone occupied the mind of the artist during creation of
his work. Indian art, during the ages, have presented various themes
including still life, genre, animals, historical, mythological and
religious. Sarkar saw modern elements in the Hindu art. The elongation
of limbs, unity in movement of limbs, elimination of details and
exaggeration of features were some of the elements he found common between Hindu and Modern art. Quoting Rodin, Sarkar points out the
that the artist has mentioned visualising a sculpture as a whole rather
than concentrating on every detail to be realistic. For this where
Rodin is considered innovator, in Indian art it is seen as a defect.
Taking another example of Van Gogh’s admiration on changing proportions
of a figure by Michaelangelo to achieve perfection. Instead of finding
 flows in the figures Van Gogh expressed a desire to learn the art of
transfiguration. Modern artists took liberty to change anatomy of a
figure to suite their aesthetic demand, this practice can also be seen
in Indian art. Modern artists of the west revolted against the Academic
style and started taking interest in unique features in art from the
world outside of Europe. Sarkar suggests, that the Modern artist should
also look eastward to take inspiration for their art as Indian art is
full of such elements. Future of Indian art, Sarkar says, is not in
demeaning Western art or re-discovering traditional art although it may
appear so to a casual observer. This is just the first stage of a new
beginning. Sarkar shows hope that the future holds great promises for
Indian art as it enters the modern phase.


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