Jamini Roy (1887 – 1972) is one of the most famous Indian painters, he was born in Beliatore in West Bengal. He was student of the famous painter Abanindranath Tagore (nephew of Rabindranath Tagore). Jamini Roy began his career with classical oil painting making portraits, but later he found his own style, at the base of which there were folk Bengali traditions.
When I first saw the works of Jamini Roy, I tried to understand why I like it so much. In painting I like most of all landscapes and realistic works. What seemed to me so close in the paintings of this artist? First of all plenty of bright colors and very harmonic color combinations. Jamini Roy uses in a fantastic way a color palette. Using a special program, I made samples of color palettes (for sure, program was not able to identify all the colors, but at least we have the possibility to see the visual presentation of colors in the work of a painter). Jamini Roy used natural pigments and though it seems that they are many, the set was quite limited. Have a look at these palettes:
Through accurate, strict forms, shine beauty and spirit of art works. Images of women are so feminine! Oval face, round forms of a saree, big hands, rounded eyebrows hold the shape, but they do it in a playful manner, while patterns and color combinations express the beauty of a woman. Look at this light saree: how beautiful it looks on the swarthy skin of the lady. White jewelry looks like a pearl. The whole image is very tender.
And this lady in dark saree… Many bright patterns make the image playful. And surprisingly yellow skin colors turns out very pleasant.
I like that works of this painter are original. This is India, colorful and bright, this mysterious India that we imagine. Roy shows Hindu Gods, dancers, women, life of simple people. First motives were motives of kalighat. This is a very interesting class of painting that started to develop in the neighborhood of the famous Kali temple at Kalighat dedicated to the Goddess Kali Maa. In his art Jamini Roy showed different local traditions (“Santhal dance”, “Gopini” etc).
I tried for long to understand what seems to me so close and so comprehensible in his paintings. Heroes of Roy’s paintings remind me Hindu murti (statues of Hindu Gods) and not just simple murti but stones with depictions of Gods that I used to see often in Himalayan temples. Gods on these stones are also depicted in simple forms, but they have the same big power as the power of beauty and life of heroes of Roy’s paintings.
Heroes have become so popular that we can find nowadays their images on clothes (saree, shawls etc):