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ARTIST - SOLVYNS

 

Solvyns and Company School

 

 

Solyvn's India is not the idealized antiquity of the Orientalists but the daily life of India as he observed and experienced it. The task he sets for himself is to provide an accurate and “faithful” portrayal of a people who have been inadequately represented in European descriptions of India.

Solvyns and the Company School

In the late eighteenth century, Indian artists began to paint for Europeans in India, combining European and Indian styles in what came to be known as the “Company School.”

Indian artists were employed by the East India Company as draftsmen and instructed in European techniques; others worked as assistants to European artists, like Solvyns; and many had the opportunity to see, study, and copy European prints that were sold in the shops and bazaars of Calcutta and other urban centres. Of the European artists in India, Hodges and Solvyns exercised the greatest influence on the character of Company painting in Bengal.

Hodge’s influence is evident in the work of several Calcutta and Murshidabad artists, but they had only his prints to study. Solvyns provided some artists “a more direct association.”

The subjects favored by patrons were costumes; occupations and trades (each shown with its identifying attributes-a weaver at his loom; a potter at his wheel); domestic servants; ascetics; modes of transport; and festivals. Distinctive of Solvyns’s work – “ tall brooding figures, sombre colors and heavy black borders.”

The paintings, c. 1798-1804, are by an unknown Calcutta artist, perhaps from Murshidabad. Among them is a watercolor portraying the worship at a Kali temple at Titaghar, near Calcutta. Solvyns’s influence on the artist is clearly evident...

(The paintings, c. 1798-1804, are by an unknown Calcutta artist, perhaps from Murshidabad. Among them is a watercolor portraying the worship at a Kali temple at Titaghar, near Calcutta. Solvyns’s influence on the artist is clearly evident...)

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