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Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850–1922
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  • 200 b/w illus. 30 colour illus.
  • Page extent: 505 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 1.685 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 709/.54/09034
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: N7303 .M58 1994
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Art, Indic--19th century
    • Art, Indic--20th century

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521443548 | ISBN-10: 0521443547)

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.

• An original history of Indian art throughout colonial period, covering the establishment of academic art in India • A highly illustrated book presenting pictures that have never been seen before in the West • A book which crosses the disciplines, well written and accessible to general readers


Part I. Prologue: 1. The phenomenon: occidental orientations; Part II. The Age of Optimism: 2. Art education and Raj patronage; 3. Salon artists and the rise of the Indian public; 4. The power of the printed image; 5. The artist as charismatic individual: Raja Ravi Varma; Part III. The Great Wave of Cultural Nationalism: 6. Bengali patriots and art for the nation; 7. Ideology of Swadeshi art; 8. How the past was salvaged by Swadeshi artists; 9. Westernisers and Orientalists : public battle of styles; Part IV. Epilogue: l0. The passing of the age of oriental art.


'This book will stand as a major contribution to art history. It provides the first comprehensive analysis of the development of modern art in India after the decline of the traditional schools of miniature painting … (the) text is closely related to the 200 photographs, many in colour, which illustrate this handsome volume.' The Times Literary Supplement

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