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5000 Years of Indian Art

Sushma K. Bahl, Roli Books, 2012, 239 p, 206 colour photos, maps, ISBN : 9788174368539, $135.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Preface. 1. Ancient Indian Art: the Vedic and Buddhist traditions 1500 BC onwards. 2. Pre historic roots of Indian Art 30000 BC-1500 BC. 3. Art in medieval India: 7-13 century AD. 4. Contemporary art 1947 to present. 5. Art in later medieval India: 14-Mid 18 century. 6. Colonial and modern Indian art: Mid 18-Mid 20 century. 7. Timeline: politics culture and art. Bibliography.

5000 Years of Indian Art demystifies the story of India art spread over the millennia. This visually stunning book is a rare example of a volume that offers a panoramic view of Indian art from the pre-historic times to contemporary period. The absorbing narrative woven around the wide ambit of the creative continuum links different predominant artistic genres like pre- historic art, ancient Indian art of Vedic and Buddhist traditions, temple art, Mughal miniature painting, colonial art, modern Indian art, and contemporary art that were prevalent in different eras instead of formally demarcated historical periods. The illustrated tale encompasses the entire gamut ranging from the earliest primitive markings on stones, caves, and frescos to exquisite paintings, sculptures, modern photography, and finally crafted artefacts to media-inspired work, popular installations, and other forms of contemporary art.

The significant works discussed in this book include Bhimbetka cave paintings, notable figures and sculptures from the Indus Valley Civilization, Ajanta and Ellora cave paintings, Khajuraho and Konark temple art, Mughal miniature paintings from key texts like Akbarnama, portraiture, among others. There is also a critical appreciation of select works created by renowned artists like Mazhar Ali Khan, Raja Ravi Varma, Lala Deen Dayal, Nandalal Bose, F.N. Souza, Raghu Rai, K.G. Subramanyam, M. F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Tyeb Mehta, Thukral and Tagra, Anish Kapoor, Subodh Gupta, Mithu Sen, et al.

The book displays around 200 select masterpieces of art sourced from museums, galleries, and private collections around India and the world that celebrate Indian art. The essays; art historical map; timeline delineating developments in politics, culture, and art in different eras; images with lucid elucidations; box stories make the book both informative and interesting to scholars, students, and anyone with an interest in Indian art.

The history of Indian art is as old as the civilization itself and every major period of history has given it newer modes of expression and forms of art. This book successfully captures all the myriad influences that have enriched Indian art over the years. (jacket)

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