Question 1: Fill in the blanks:
- The art form which observed carefully and tried to capture exactly what the eye saw is called _________.
- The style of painting which showed Indian landscape as a quaint, unexplored land is called _________.
Answer: picturesque landscape
- Paintings which showed the social lives of Europeans in India are called _________.
- Paintings which depicted scenes from British imperial history and their victories are called _________.
Answer: History painting
Question 2: Point out which of the following were brought in with British art: (a) oil painting (b) miniatures (c) life-size portrait painting (d) use of perspective (e) mural art
Answer: Oil painting, life-size portrait painting and use of perspective
Question 3: Describe in your own words one painting from this chapter which suggests that the British were more powerful than Indians. How does the artist depict this?
Answer: The painting which depicts the discovery of the body of Tipu Sultan shows the British as more powerful than Indians. In this painting, the British General is shown as if standing on a high pedestal and exuding all the confidence. On the other hand, Tipu Sultan is shown half naked and lifeless; lying in the dark recess. The painting appears to announce that those who dare to challenge the British authority would meet the same fate.
Question 4: Why did the scroll painters and potters come to Kalighat? Why did they begin to paint new themes?
Answer: The city of Calcutta was emerging as an administrative and commercial centre. It promised opportunities and bright future. The scroll painters and potters came to Kalighat in the hope of finding new patrons and buyers. They closely observed the changes in the society around them and began to paint new themes.
Question 5: Why can we think of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings as national?
Answer: Raja Ravi Varma painted from Indian mythology. The characters from these mythologies had a pan-India appeal. Hence, Ravi Varma’s paintings can be seen as national.
Question 6: In what way did the British history paintings in India reflect the attitudes of imperial conquerors?
Answer: Imperial history paintings were an attempt to create a public memory of imperial triumphs. Victory was a thing which should be implanted in public memory; both Indian and British. Such paintings were used as tools to showcase the British as invincible and all powerful. The scenes were highly dramatized in such paintings and British soldiers were shown as destroying everything which represented India.
Question 7: Why do you think some artists wanted to develop a national style of art?
Answer: Some artists thought that Ravi Varma’s style of imitative of the west. They wanted to develop a style which could truly capture the essence of the East. They wanted to use the traditional painting styles from India. Hence, they wanted to develop a national style of art.
Question 8: Why did some artists produce cheap popular prints? What influence would such prints have had on the minds of people who looked at them?
Answer: Some artists wanted their depiction of certain themes to reach the wider public. Hence, they wanted to produce cheap popular prints. Such prints must have helped in spreading certain ideas among the masses. For example; paintings depicting the Bharat Mata must have helped in instilling a sense of nationhood among the Indians.