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Indian Philosophy in EnglishFrom Renaissance to Independence$
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Nalini Bhushan and Jay L. Garfield

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769261

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769261.001.0001

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An Indian in Paris

An Indian in Paris

Cosmopolitan Aesthetics in Colonial India

Chapter:
(p.231) 8 An Indian in Paris
Source:
Indian Philosophy in English
Author(s):

Nalini Bhushan

Jay L. Garfield

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769261.003.0015

This chapter examines the question of authenticity concerning Indian aesthetics during the colonial period, with particular emphasis on some of the complex ways in which race and aesthetics intertwined in the British-Indian colonial encounter. It considers what makes Indian art authentically Indian and how one can remain authentically Indian while being creative, modern, and relevant to the art world as a whole. More specifically, it looks at Indian artists who were able to transcend the dichotomy to become cosmopolitan. That is, they came to be viewed both by Western critics and Indian rasikas as universal: producing art beyond the parochial boundaries of nation, race, ethnicity, and religion. Discourse invoking the trope of the authentic placed aesthetic and even political demands on artists and their artwork and defined the emerging aesthetic sensibility in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The chapter explores how these demands were met and how they were sometimes simply sidestepped by focusing on three cosmopolitan artists of colonial India: Ravi Varma, Abanindranath Tagore, and Amrita Sher-Gil.

Keywords:   authenticity, India, aesthetics, colonial period, race, Indian art, cosmopolitan, Ravi Varma, Abanindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil

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