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        Before the invention of photography, the primary commissions for the European artists used to be for portrait making. But with the coming of photography, the art of portrait making have taken a back seat. Yet artists are known to make portraits of their associates, and themselves often to reveal their own impressions of the persons. Nandalal Bose had tried to show his deep respect for his guru Abanindranath Tagore in the later's portrait.  

Nandalal Bose's painting: My Guru


 Nandalal Bose's portrait of his Guru Abanindranath Tagore

        Similar portraits have also been made by Ramkinkar Baij for his Guru  Nandalal Bose . while none of these portarist have been the true image of the subjects, they had been hailed for their expression of true feelings of the artist Bikash Bhattacharya had been another artist who had many portraits but in colours and postures of his own imaginings. Thus portrait making in the modern times is not so much concerned with perfection but more with what the painting conveys about the subject.

Self Portrait of Tagore


Self Portrait of Ravindranath Tagore

        Other artists in Bengal like Ganesh Paine, Sunil Das and modern day artists like Paresh Maity have however refrained from making much of self-portraits. Thus except for a few self portraits of Rabindranath Tagore , we see only Paritosh Sen and Shakti Burman among the modern painters who use self portrait so often in his works. 



         Paritosh Sen one of the surviving greats of the prestigious Calcutta Group of yesteryear, was born in 1918 in Dhaka, now in Bangladesh , in 1918. From childhood itself Sen was drawn towards art so much so that he ran away from home against family wishes to join the Madras Art School. There he met some of the future stalwarts of Indian Art including K.C.S. Panicker and Prodosh Dasgupta . Later for some time he taught art at Indore.



        Sen was the founder of the Calcutta Group in the 1940s. This was in those days more successful as a group than the Progressive Artists Group of Bombay and in a way it showed the way to younger artists to form their own Artistsí groups in Calcutta.  In 1949, Sen left for Europe. In Paris, he studied at Andre Lhote's school, Academie Grand Chaumier, Ecole des Beaux Arts and Ecole des Louvre. During this time he had the opportunity to meet Pablo Picasso who had left an indelible impression on the young artist.


 by Paritosh Sen

Two very different works of Paritosh Sen. It is not easy to identify Sen's works except those where a self portrayed is present (as in the right).

 of Paritosh Sen

        But even though he had impressive degrees, and recognition life had never been easy for Sen. He had to work in schools as art teacher, in a college as professor of designing, then was commissioned by the French government to design Bengali typography based on the script of Rabindranath Tagore .  Tagoreís work has also shown great mark on the artist.

        Because of the changes in life and the shifting positions he held, Paritosh Senís style never remained the same and it is not possible to categorise his works into any specific art genre .

Medium and techniques of Work

        Sen has experimented in various media from oil and water-colour to etching, to even acrylic which is quite rare for an artist of his generation.

 Major Themes

         Though it is difficult to identify the major themes in Senís works, as over a span of more than sixty years he has painted on variety of subjects, certain images have found some recurrence. These are his own self image and  Picassoís paintings modified to suit his own works








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