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Modern & Contemporary Indian Art II Modern & Contemporary Indian Art II KSHITINDRANATH MAZUMDAR (1891 - 1975)
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Property of a Jaipur based collector
Kshitindranath Majumdar was among the first batch of Abanindranath Tagore's students. He was strongly influenced by Sri Chaitanya's Vaishnavism and was a follower of the Bhakti movement; it suited his sensibilities to pursue the revivalist ideals of representing Indian literary and mythological lore in paintings, rather than doing portraits and genre scenes in the Academic realist mode. He had humble beginnings as a stage and curtain designer for a drama troupe in Bihar, and went on to train in Krishna-Leela hymn singing.
Majumdar was Art Teacher and Principal at the Indian Society of Oriental Art between 1912 and 1930. Through the exhibitions organized by the Society, his work was shown in Paris, London, Belgium, Holland and several Indian cities. From 1942-64, he was Principal, Art Department at Allahabad University.
Majumdar's paintings are distinctive in the slender elongated figures, flowing garments and pastoral settings. While most of his work contained not more than three figures neatly composed within a frame, he sometimes painted groups when the narrative required it, like in the painting presented here. A Vaishnavite theme, the painting depicts a central female ascetic figure prostrate in a swoon, possibly death, and eight women around her in various exaggerated gestures of despair and sorrow. The painting in all probability represents the death of Mirabai, the sixteenth century saint. The shallow treatment of the space is typical to Majumdar's style, as are the luminous well defined colours in a limited palette.