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Devi Durga is the most popular goddess of Bengal. And thus no other goddess has been portrayed as much as Devi Durga in paintings by Bengali artists.

  Bikash Bhattacharya

  A a painting form Bikash Bhattacharya's Durga series shows a regular woman personified as the devi

Bikash Bhattacharya had paninted an entire series dedicated to the Durga that according to him was present in ever woman.

Ganesh Pyne also had painted Durga in many forms. Nirode Majumdar had for sometime painted nothing else but Durga.

  Ganesh Paine

 Ganesh Pyne's Durga is simple and shows the popular image of the goddess

The enigma of Durga puja, the most important festival of Bengal seems to have spared none. Even younger generation painters who seem to be more international in their outlook have not escaped the influence of this cultural feature of Bengal. Below is a painting by Devajyoti Ray which shows the drummers of a Durga puja.

Devajyoti Ray

 Devajyoti Ray is more interested in putting Durga in a pseudo-real colour scheme with her drummers and devotees.





        Ganesh Pyne, along with Sunil Das and Bikash Bhattacharya one of the founders of the prestigious Society of Contemporary Artists of Kolkata was for a very time the most expensive artist of India. He was born in 1937. Even though Paine had a very a difficult childhood spent mostly in poor conditions, he had taken up art as his profession at a time when artists were not paid much.  In 1955, Ganesh Pyne joined the Government College of Art & Craft , Kolkata. Though admission was tough, Paine not only secured entry into the college, but also his paintings so impressed the authorities that he was admitted straight away into the second year. It was probably the first feather in his cap; a sign of what the man was to offer to the art world in future.



        Initially Pyne was influenced rather heavily by the paintings of Abanindranath Tagore , which showed their mark in Pyne’s early paintings. Amongst the western painters Pyne was particularly influenced by Remrandt’s shadow and light fusions. Even today Paine can be seen to create imagery where shadow and light seem to create dreamy illusions.

        Pyne in his initial days had drawn illustrations for children’s books, painted posters for Jatra (a local theatre form of Bengal). But it was much later in the late 1960s that Ganesh Paine had started emerging into the Fine Art scene as an important artist.

        Pyne has influenced artists of newer generations and one can see his influence in the works of Shyamal Duttaroy, Sanjay Bhattacharya and most young artists of Calcutta.


                  Paine's work

Ganesh Pyne's works show imagination and are often difficult to understand. But like many Bengal painters Pyne too uses Bengali Mythology quite often in his paintings.

                  Paine's work in Tempera


Medium and technique of work 

        Though Ganesh Paine has experimented with almost all types of medium, it is temprera paintings that have remained till date his best. In later days, Paine also made many paintings in gouache. Today however a large variety of works in various media including drawings of diary pages, pastel, oil and water colour are available in the market.   But nothing ever came as close to his tempera paintings.  

        Ganesh Pyne’s paintings are often multi-layered. One can see the lowest layer through the top layers.

Major themes

        Ganesh Pyne is probably the most imaginative painter alive today. His paintings tell stories and make the viewer ponder for a long time. Death has come multiple times in his works as also the idea of demons, and myths. His paintings are more surreal than real.




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