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Reverse Glass Painting in India Hardcover – 6 Mar 2017
Hardcover, 6 Mar 2017
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About the Author
Professor Anna L. Dallapiccola has a Ph.D in Indian Art History and a Habilitation (D.Litt.) from University of Heidelberg, Germany. She was Professor of Indian Art at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University from 1971 to 1995 and then appointed as Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University in 1991. She lectures at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. From 2000 to 2004 she was Visiting Professor at De Montfort University Leicester.
Among her latest publications are Catalogue of South Indian Paintings in the Collection of the British Museum (2010), The Great Platform at Vijayanagara (2010), Indian Painting: The Lesser Known Traditions (2011) and Kalamkari Temple Hangings, a study of the collection in the V&A (2015).
She has at present two concurrent research programmes in India, the first on the art of the Vijayanagara successor states and the second on the Virabhadra temple at Lepakshi.
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The book turns out an interesting book for understanding a history of reverse glass painting in South Asia during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Narratives of Dallapiccola appear appropriate for the readers keen to know the socio-cultural fabrics appreciating this form of modern visual art.
I came back home and googled reverse glass paintings and immediately came across this book on the Niyogi website. Needless to say I had to have it immediately and I am so glad I was luck enough to get it. The book is a treasure trove of knowledge, information and pictures of precious paintings that are a must see if you love art, Indian or otherwise.
The book itself is divided into parts, starting with the history of reverse glass painting and moving on to some of the most popular painting subjects, gods and goddesses, dandies and courtesans and kings and leaders. Modern Reverse Glass Painting (RGP from here on) isn’t as beautiful since it most commonly has a lot of ordinary scenes but the older ones, oh my!
The book also has as many pictures as the author could get her hands on. I was really pleased with the explanations an descriptions the author gave with each picture. Sometimes comparing styles and offering her thoughts on which artist might have done which painting based on a previous style. It is really refreshing to see someone provide an open view of the style and how it came to be influenced by various factors in society, fashion and style at the time. It has given me a newfound respect for the style of painting given how hard it must have been to achieve certain aspects, especially the shading.
My favourites were the Rama Pattabishekam, The dandies (the mixture of western styles with Indian were really interesting to look at) and from the last section the Madurai Veeran painting(though I am not too keen on the legend itself).
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who has the remotest interest in art, Indian, European or anything else. Or even if you aren’t an artist but a historian, this is definitely worth reading. If nothing else, if you like Tanjavur paintings and want a good coffee table book that you enjoy flipping through since getting these paintings into your house will be impossible unless you’re Ambani rich, this is a perfect book to get.
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