Hauz Khas Village, 1 September – 26 October 2013
A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression are predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography, a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer
The exhibition Indian Portraits: The Face of a People features 118 artists and eight different anonymous schools, offering a historical perspective on the art of portraiture in India and how it has changed over the centuries. Following similar projects on landscape art, Indian Landscapes: The Changing Horizon, and nudes, The Naked and the Nude: The Body in Indian Modern Art, the third exhibition in the series focuses on portraiture in the subcontinent. While we knew that the tradition of portraiture would allow the gallery the opportunity to mine the very rich history of its practice, the wealth of the DAG archives became a crucial accommodating crux in the search.
The exhibition brings together anonymous artworks produced by the different early modern schools including lithograph prints from Bengal, artists who followed the Raja Ravi Varma form of painting, studio photographs and even portraits of royal personages by unnamed painters. Moving to artists from recent memory, the exhibition features the likes of Bikash Bhattacharjee, Chittaprosad, George Keyt, Jamini Roy and other eminent personalities credited with developing modern art in India.
Complementing the exhibition of paintings, DAG has published a 517-page publication that delves into the historicity of portrait making within the country, tracing the historical development of the art from the early British colonial era to the modern period.