After publishing five monographs in bigger format the Lalit Kala Akademi has decided to go back to the smaller size. This series dealing with contemporary Indian Artists is being undertaken by the Akedemi with the intention of popularizing the work of India’s leading artists in conformity with the general policy of the Akademi these pocket books will be sold on a no profit no loss basis. Each publication will contain a short note introducing the artist and his work to be public at large.
Old age and complacence have consigned many a celebrity to oblivion. But Ram Gopal Vijaiwargia is an exception. At 82 this doyen of the realm of Indian painting is as energetic and active as one would expect of young artist to be. In a chequered career spanning over six decades, he earned enviable fame and fortunes.
In the radiation of the style of painting of Bengal revival to the various region of India, shailendra nath De was the person who took it to Rajasthan. Ram Gopal vijaiwargiya is one of his illustrious pupils . For more than half a century, he has dominated the Rajasthan painting scenes.
Born at Baler, a tiny village in Sawai Madhopur district in 1905m, vijaiwargiya had dev eloped a keen interest in the art of painting at very early age. The man who first initiated him to the world of brush very early age. The man who first initiated him to the world of Brush and colours was a wandering Sadhu of Ram Snehi sect. This saintly man was having a rare obsession for painting. He used to draw the figures of rural folk by blue or red pencils which caught the imagination of the young child. It was he who taught him to basic principles of drawing. This was the initial training in painting for principles of drawing. This was the initial training in painting for Ramgopal who imbibed it with great gusto.
Ramgopal’s father, Bhanwar Lal Vijaiwargiya was then serving as a ‘Keemdar’ with the Baler Thikana, a jagir under the erstwhile princely State of jaipur. Though his father tried his best to educate his only son Ram Gopal by appointing private tutos to coach Hindi, English and Persian languages but was totally dissatisfied with the indifferent attitude of his son in picking up his lessons. At last, Bhanwar Lal had to ask his son what he really wanted to be? And the son confided to his father that if he could get him admission to the Art school he would be the happiest lot.
Having come to know about the Sons’s passion for painting Bhanwar Lal managed to get his son’s admission in the Maharaja School of Arts and Crafts. The school, set up by the late Maharaja this time earned distinct reputation for the high standards of art objects produced at school especially amongst the European guests of the Maharaja.
Ram Gopal started taking his lessons in painting at the School under the guidance of his teacher, Shailendra Nath De. Young Ram Gopal who was then barely 18 years of age started to show his prowess in such a promising manner that he was given a direct entry into the final year and finished the five year’s course within 8 month’s duration
By now, Ram Gopal had developed an insatiable thirst to express his emotional and aesthetic urges in colours. From early morning to late night he was engrossed in painting. He had hardly been in the school for six months but by this time people had started praising his works, a virtual outcome of the inherent urge and persistence of the pupil and able guidance of his mentor, Mr. De.
Incidently, when vijaiwargiya was still a student, Mr Ramanand Chatterjee the editor of ‘Modern Review’, the well-known English monthly published from Calcutta happened to visit Jaipur. During his visit to the School, which had by then become a must for the outside visitors coming to the town, he was shown a painting depicting three watermaids carrying pitchers over their heads prepared by Ram Gopal. Chatterjee was so much impressed by painting that he sought the Principal’s permission to take away the painting for publication in his magazine and paid a sum of rs50.00 to Ram Gopal as the painter’s remuneration. This gave tremendous encouragement to the young artist of 25.
Recollecting the memories of his art school days, ram gopal narrates an interesting episode. Soon after he finished a painting on ‘Meghdoot’, He showed it to Mr. Shailendra nath De, his principal, After seeing the painting Mr. De asked him about the period when cloud-messenger took Yaksha’s message to his consot. Pat came the reply in the month of Ashadh. Mr De ;inquired again what happens in the months of Ashadha. The pupil again replied that it was time for rains.Mr. De again questioned as to what was the colour of rain water pouring in the ponds to which Ram gopal said that it was naturally full of dirt. then does the colour of water shown in your painting look that much dusty? Just look at it, Ram Gopal admits that this little conversation made him realise that keen observations and complete knowledge of the subject matter were essential ingredients the subject matter were essential ingredients for an artist before he attempted his hand at any job of paiting. At least in painting this was a prerequisite.
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