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Kalighat Paintings and Art Collection

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Buy Babu Biwi Kalighat Painting by Bhaskar Chitrakar
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Shop Babu and the Tram in Kalighat by Bhaskar Chitrakar
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Shop Musicians in Kalighat by Uttam Chitrakar

Musicians in Kalighat by Uttam Chitrakar

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Uttam Chitrakar blue-tick

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Shop Serene Ramayana (Rama, Sita and Laxman) in Kalighat by Hasir Chitrakar
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Shop Shiva and Parvati with Ganesha (Shiv Parivaar) in Kalighat by Hasir Chitrakar
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Shop Goddess Lakshmi seated on owl in Kalighat by Hasir Chitrakar
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Shop Krishna and Radha in Kalighat by Hasir Chitrakar
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Shop  Romantic embrace In Kalighat by Uttam Chitrakar
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About Kalighat

Kalighat painting is a traditional art form that flourished in the vicinity of the Kalighat Kali Temple in Kolkata, India, during the 19th century. It is characterized by its bold lines, vibrant colors, minimal background details, and distinctive style. Jamini Roy was one of the artists greatly influenced by this style. Moreover, the themes of the Kalighat painting range from religious stories to social satires. Goddess Kali, Babu & Bibi, and Cat with the Fish are some of the well-known illustrations in this craft.

History and Legend

Kalighat painting began as a form of devotional art inspired by the pilgrimage to the Kalighat Temple. Pilgrims sought souvenirs to reminisce about their visits, leading to the creation of budget-friendly, portable artworks. Over time, these paintings evolved into a distinct style, reflecting the cultural and religious ethos of the region.

Methods and Techniques

Kalighat paintings are known for their simplicity and spontaneity, created using natural pigments on paper or cloth. The artists, known as 'patuas' or 'kalighat painters,' often worked in groups with shared responsibilities of mixing dyes, drawing lines, or filing up the colors. In the search for income, these craftsmen catered to British patrons at one point, incorporating elements of European realism and secular subjects into their craft. The secular subjects like English sahibs riding elephants, wealthy Calcutta babus (liberalists), and fraud sadhus (holy men) succumbing to base desires reflect the social concerns of that period.

Decline and Revival

The art form of Kalighat declined due to the advent of cheaper wood prints and machine-printed alternatives by the early 20th century. However, in recent decades, efforts have been made to revive the Kalighat painting tradition by artists, government, and art connoisseurs. The combined efforts through exhibitions, and workshops have helped in showcasing the unique identity of Kalighat painting and regain its lost legacy. More here on our blog.

 

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