Tagore's Painting- Versification in Line
|95 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Rabindranath Tagore, in the prefatory note in his Birmingham exhibition had commented: 'My pictures are my versification in lines. If by any chance, they are entitled to claim recognition, it must be primarily for some rhythmic significance of form, which is ultimate and not for any interpretation of an idea or representation of fact.' Breaking away from his image as the philosopher-poet of Gitanjali, that permeated an aura of mysticism, an ambience of peace and sublime harmony, Tagore set forth on this adventurous journey in the wonderful domain of art at a time when both health and words were failing him. Painting was seen by him as the epilogue to his life, a means to recollect memories and refurbish certain images that haunted him.
Sovon Som, born in 1932 at Silchar, Assam, studied art under the tutelage of Nandalal Bose in Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan. He was professor of History of Art and Dean of Visual Arts at Rabindra Bharati University. He was the visiting professor at Havana University in Cuba and Comenius University in Slovakia in 1984 and 1987, respectively. Besides being an internationally acclaimed art critic, he was a painter, poet, essayist, curator, musicologist, scriptwriter, and the first critic to study Tagore's paintings meticulously. His demise in 2010 has left a void in the realm of art.
It is both with sadness and pleasure that I write these few lines in introducing an extremely valuable work of a highly esteemed colleague, who is no longer with us. Professor Sovon Som was Dean, Faculty of Visual Art, Rabindra-Bharati University (Kolkata), and, being the senior most professor at the University (when I was there), he also had to officiate as Vice Chancellor when the undersigned had been away from the University on some mission. He was a very trusted colleague, an eminent art critic and art historian, who had visited countries abroad to lecture on Indian art.
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