Achievements: Developed a personal painting style inspired
largely by traditional Indian folk and village arts, particularly those
of Bengal. Through his paintings he gave expression to the scenes of
everyday life of the people of rural Bengal
Jamini Roy was one of the most significant and influential painters of
the 20th century. He was born in a middle-class family in 1887 at
Beliator village in Bankura district of Bengal. His father Ramataran Roy
was an amateur artist who, after resignation from government service,
spent the rest of his life in his village amidst the potters.
In 1903, at the age of sixteen, Jamini Roy came to Calcutta and studied at
the Government School of Art. He learnt academic methods then in vogue
in the West, and achieved his early fame as a portrait painter in the
European tradition. However, soon Jamini Roy cultivated a personal
painting style inspired largely by traditional Indian folk and village
arts, particularly those of Bengal. Jamini Roy, through his oil
paintings, gave expression to the scenes of every-day life of the people
of rural Bengal.
For his paintings, Jamini Roy selected themes from joys and sorrows of
everyday life of rural Bengal, religious theme like-Ramayana, Sri
Chaitanya, Radha-Krishna and Jesus Christ, but he depicted them without
narratives. Apart from this he painted scenes form the lives of the
aboriginal Santhals, such as 'Santhals engaged in drum-beating' 'Santhal
Mother and Child' 'Dancing Santhals' etc.
In his career as an artist Jamini Roy earned fame by evolving his own
language of painting which he termed as 'Flat Technique'. Jamini Roy used
cheap indigenous pigments for his art to make them within the reach of
the affluent as well as the poor. Like the pata-painters of Bengal he
proposed his own paintings from indigenous materials like lampblack, chalk-powder,
leaves and creepers.
The exposition of Jamini Roy's works were first held in British India
Street (Calcutta) in 1938. Jamini Roy's pictures become very popular
during the 1940s and clientele included both the Bengali middle class
and European community. In 1946, his work was exhibited in London and in
1953 in New York.
Jamini Roy was honored with the Padma Bhushan in 1955. He died in 1972
Some of his famous paintings are: