Present-Day Art Criticism [Editorial]
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 2-5
The relationship between art and its critics is reviewed through generations of artists. Art and philosophy are marked by their own times, and criticism is analytical, and therefore the opposite of the creative process. The "conquest" over new means of expression (in the industrial age) prevented the artist from developing beyond the experimental and theoretical stage. The failure of the art critic is attributed to his failure to change with the times as the artist has, and his inability to realize that the artist already expressed the cultural crisis of the industrial civilization. Later, when young people from all over the world streamed into Paris, and interest in "isms" became widespread, a generation of art critics advocated modern principles and a "modern tradition" was established. Following World War I, there was an uncritical acceptance of the "new" in place of the "old". Now, it is necessary to arrive at a critical attitude to contemporary criticism. The need is for a subjective criticism with elements of objectivity, and to find our way back from an analytical and specialized point of view to a spiritual one. The elements of good criticism are a description of the work, formal and stylistic analysis in the perspective of art history, and valuation.
The Problems of Bikaner Paintings
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 8-16
The Bikaner Rasikapriya is confirmed, after Karl Khandalavala, as a product of Mewar school. It is dated to 1670 CE on the basis of the similarity in colour and sensitivity with the Poona Bhagavata Purana. Dr Goetz's view of 1594 CE as the inspection date is rejected as an incorrect reading for 1694 CE. It is concluded that the inspection date was a temporary device for listing outside pictures, particularly in case of unknown artists, but can be authentic terminus ante quem in case of pictures free from dealer's marks or subsequent tamperings. A list is given of the pictures on which these conclusions are based.
A Controversy: Letters From Dr. H. Goetz and Mr. K. J. Khandalavala
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 17-21
These are two letters to the editor -- the first by Dr H. Goetz who reiterates his theory of a Rajput painting school of the early 16th century, and the other by Karl Khandalavala who refutes the theory. Goetz counters the criticisms of Khandalavala and W.G. Archer, and argues that the history of Rajput painting should not be dissociated from political events. Bundelkhand and Bikaner flourished between circa 1530-1630 and 1573-1620 respectively, and these phases saw cultural activity in Rajasthan, while Mewar's devastation between 1567-1614 and 1678-83 does not suggest any art tradition in these periods. On the other hand, Khandalavala emphasizes the importance of dated examples in the study of changing styles and chronology of Rajput painting.
Portraits of Ibrahim Adil Shah II
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 22-28
Ibrahim, ruler of Bijapur and composer of the Kitab-i-Nauras, like his contemporary Akbar in the north, strove hard to achieve a distinctive Deccani culture. Under his patronage the Bijapur school of painting reached its zenith. Two phases in this school are identified during the time of Ibrahim: 1590-1605 which exhibits a mixture of Persian, European, and indigenous styles, and 1605-27 which shows Mughal influence. Several portraits of Ibrahim are analyzed, along with other paintings, to trace the evolution of the Bijapur school. The treatment of costumes of women shows that some Gita Govinda series of Rajasthani origin had reached Bijapur by 1610 CE. The ragamala paintings in the collection of the Maharaja of Bikaner are also attributed to the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah II.
Action Drawings by Shiavax Chavda at Recent Dance Recitals
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 29-33
The poses depict the Kathakali, ballet, and dancers Uday Shankar and Amala, Kumari Kamala, Shanta Rao, and Baby Saroj.
Seven Contemporary Artists
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 34-47
The contribution of three leading sculptors (Pradosh Das Gupta, Sudhir Khastgir, and Ramkinkar Baij); three prominent painters (Manishi Dey, H. A. Gade, and Sailoz Mookherjea); and the drawings of Gopal Ghose to contemporary art are highlighted.
Colonel Tod on the Achalghar Sculpture of a Pramara King
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 48-49
Colonel Tod's description of the sculpture of Dharavarsha Deva, the first Paramara king in the act of slaying three buffalo-demons is quoted from his "Travels in Western India". He visited Achalghar in 1822.
The Sun Temple at Modhera
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 50-56
The elaborate plans of the temple, erected in 1026-27 CE, indicate that the Solanki king Bhima I directed its construction. It is conjectured that Bhima I may have built the temple to commemorate a possible triumph over Ghazni ranks. The nritya sabha, kirtistambha, sacred tank, and ornamented sculpture -- including images of Surya and abstract decorative motifs -- amply show the lavish scale of Gujarati temple architecture.
In My Bad Books
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 57-60
The low printing standard in India is attributed to the authors, printers, and, most of all, publishers. The problem is two faceted: choice of material, and production in Indian languages. The private printing press in England helped modernize standards, and in India too, the people with means need to come to the aid of craftsmen and artists, and bring in experimentation in printing techniques. The standard of school books needs to be raised, and book exhibitions can help as advertising avenues.
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 61-63
Sadath Ali Khan's note draws attention to the monumental book on Bidar by G. Yazdani published under the authority of the Nizam's government; a note on a Brahmanical mural at Aihole by H. Goetz.
Vol. 5 No. 1, July 1951, pp. 65-67
1951. Bombay: Bombay Art Society's annual exhibition, the works of Bakre, Chavda, Gade, R.V. Pathkar, Indonesian artist Affandi, the passing of Magda Nachmann, by S.B.; in Delhi Shankar's Weekly has an international exhibition of children's art, one-man shows, paintings from the Jammu school, by A.S.