Human civilization started by the Valley of Indus about 27,000 years ago and lasted till 17,000 B.C. Aryan arrived here shortly after that time. Next history is the history of collision and unification of Aryan and Austric ( Kol, Shobor, Chondal) culture, from which Indian culture adopted it’s character. The oldest mark of Indian Art is found in ‘Pandurajar Dhibi’ with different kinds of motifs done on earthenware. Besides, oriented earthenware also found in Chalcolethic (i.e; Bronze Age) village areas. This represents the ‘Pottery Craft’ established that time.
|Ivory Fertility Ringstone, Shunga period|
In the reign of second Chandragupta, overall Indian culture (literature, drama, astronomy, art etc) accomplished ‘Classical’ (Dhrupodi in local language) character (320A.D-575A.D). There is seen two art-ideologies in Classical style. Firstly, Ornamental style, where shape-oriented painting was core objective, with using color of different intensity and lines. This method was known as ‘Margoriti’. The second one was the ‘Moddhojugiyo’ style, avoiding orientation, using sharp and clear lines.
|Vikramaditya, Chandragupta II|
In the middle of 8th century, Paul Dynasty was established and they ruled over 400 year. Paul Dynasty supported Buddhist religion, and education, culture and architecture started flourishing centering this religion back that time. Painting art-style was established in Bengal in this period, proof of which was found in miniature art in ‘Talpatar puthi’ and the ‘wooden-cover’ of this. This was called ‘East-Indian Art-way’ or ‘Paul Art’. Miniature art era in Bangla started from ‘Paul period’. Paul ‘Puthi’ art, and sculpture were inspired by ‘Classical’ style followed back in Gupta dynasty. Starting from the last stage of 10th century, the ‘Moddhojugiyo’ style was followed over the next 150 years. In 14th century this ‘Moddhojugiyo’ style was also followed to paint manuscript in Gujrat, situated in west India.
|Puhtichitra inspired from Jagannath (Lord of Universe, also considered as a form of Vishnu) culture|
After Paul reign, Bangarajja (south-east Bengal and the southern part of West-Bengal), ruling power shifted to Hinduism followers ‘Sen’ king. So during their reign culture and art was flourished basing ‘Hindu’ religion.
|Indo-Islamic Architecture, Gol Gumbaz Mosque, Bijapur, India|
Then the whole Bengal was conquered by Turkey’s Muslim warriors, which added different taste in Indian art and culture. In Sultan Dynasty, ‘Safavi’ painting-style of Persian art-style was followed in Darbar in manuscript painting. This art-way was a balanced blending of Persian, Baigentain and Chinese art. Muslim art was paper-based, which vertically characterized it, and also geometric, motifs derived from nature based because of religious reason. Calligraphy was another way of art invented by Muslims. These influenced the Indian art of that time and during Sultan Iliash Shah, there was a unique architectural art style called ‘Indo-Islamic’ method. Glaze-tile orientation started first in India in architecture in Sultan Jalal Uddin Shah’s period. In 15th and 16th century there was seen a unification of Persian Hirat and Shiraj ghorana, and Bangladeshi ghorana.
During sultan Allauddin Shah, the appearance of Srichoitonno Deb influenced the culture and art of that time. In 16th century paper was started making locally in Bengal, where paintings were about the story of Ram and Krishna, influenced from Vishnu religion. One of the most important aspect of this time was Patachitro and Potchitro. The reflection of Rajasthani art was seen in 16th and 17th century Bengali art. 18th and 19th century Patachintro was somewhat influenced by ‘Moddhojugiyo’ style. Patachitro of the last stage of 18th century was inspired by Bengali local Potchitro.
|Akbar and the Elephant Muni, Mughal miniature art|
|Bhabaneshwari Temple, Baronagar,(Murshidabadi Style Terrocota)|
After Palashi war, defeating Nabab Shiraj-ud-doula, company ruling starts in Bengal. Art directly intervened by European especially English is called Company painting style. There are some different ways can be seen in Murshidabad in Company painting-style. Firstly, miniature painted on foreign paper; secondly, portrait of Indian Nababs and Feudal-lords; thirdly, a unique style called ‘mica-art’, with scratching talc/mica, and then printing it in glass.
After 1857 Shipahi-revolt, company ruling in India came to an end and British colonial ruling started, with which Calcutta became the administrative capital of Bengal. The personal stage of art work becomes institutional in this period which gives birth to Modern Era ending Middle Age. Chasing luck some European artists came in the country. They used to follow three medium, oil-painting on canvas, water color on elephant teeth and finally water-color on paper and printing it from that in engraving method. They started teach drawing technique to local artist.
Starting from the last stage of 18th century and throughout the 19th century, the Art movement started based on Kalighat temple, Calcutta, was renowned as Kalighat Potchitro.
At the last stage of 19th century, Bengali people started establishing press in their own accord. Booklets were largely printed from there to entertain less educated people, with containing pleasing picture in it. Presses here started becoming renowned as ‘Bot-tola Publication’ and the printing art started being called as ‘Bot-tola Printing Art’. Lithography and Oleograph also became famous as printing method then.
British artist started Oil-painting in this subcontinent, but through the decades after Company ruling, and before establishing art school, these was seen a mixed style of oil-painting. It was the symbol of transition period in changing of taste.
In 1854, ‘Government school of Art’ was established in Calcutta, and some other similar to this in Mumbai, Madras, Lahore, Jaypur. Vocational training, creative drawing, sculpture etc various kinds of education were exercised in these institutions, and middling these institution there evolved a artist community educated in Practical Western art style. Someone named Shoshivushon Paul educated in Practical Western method, started an art school named ‘Maheshwarpara School of Fine Art’ in Maheshwarpara, Khulna which is considered to be the first fine arts school in east Bengal, and first village-based art school in whole India.
At the starting of 20th century, under Abanindranath Tagor’s apprenticeship and lead another new art movement established named ‘Bengal School’ or ‘Nobbo-bongiyo trend’. This style was synthesis of Ajanta, Mughal, Practical Western style and Japanese Wash style.
In 1920, Rabindranath Tagor’s attempted to start a Kolabhobon in Shanti-niketon. Under Nondolal’s lead, here started a new style of art unifying Western and Eastern art. In 1930, paintings started being inspired by the atrocity of 2nd World war and the-than global recession due to the war.
After Division of subcontinent in 1947, Muslim artists came in east Bengal and started institutional practice of art. Jaynul Abedin lead to establish ‘Government Institute of Art’ in Dhaka, and that is how unique history of art in Bangladesh evolved. At the starting this art practice was European academic and Calcutta-centric art styled.
|Femine-4, Zainul Abedin|
In 1950, exploitation in economic, social and cultural aspects by West Pakistan made the artist to carry out work subjecting their very own heritage art, and the scenario of the misery of the people of Bangladesh. In 50’s people trained from Dhaka art institute, also started practicing the most famous style of art in Europe- ‘Abstract Expressionism’. ‘Cubism’ and ‘Surrealism’ were also noticed to be practiced. This decade was the transition of evolving international art impact in Bangladeshi art.
|Fish Catching Net, Shafiuddin Ahmed|
In 60’s the main stream painting was ‘post abstract-expressionism and ‘oil-painting’ became the only medium of creative drawing. Focusing on 1969 mass uprising, oodles of poster, banner, festoon, magazine cover and drama evolved.
|Farmers in confrontation-2, S M Sultan, 1986|
In 70’s the most signifying incident was the Liberation War of Bangladesh, which largely influenced the cultural arena. The cultural sectors were highly influenced by patriotism. The main stream ‘Abstract Art’ of 60’s was replaced by ‘Realisism’ in art and sculpture. There started spreading a life in cultural sectors. Constructing Art-institutes, sending a lot if students to study abroad started bringing new style and innovation in our culture. “Bangladesh Shilpokola Academy’ was built then, with which exhibition and competition on art started taking place with government grant. This decade is the decade of newly birth of art in Bangladesh.
|Bangladesh 1967, Murtaza Bashir|
|An Allegory of Self-exploration, Nazlee Laila Monsur|
Now what it is expressed in art-form, considered as an ‘Art-piece’.