Portraying the Master of Unbroken Lines – Jogen Chowdhury

By | Published on Apr 8, 2024 | in ,



Success is not the objective of an artist, but a thirst for expression is. Honoree of distinguished awards, like Kalidas Samman and Banga Bibhushan, Jogen Chowdhury was elevated to the pinnacle of prominence with his unshakable devotion to art. However, his association with esteemed organizations like Ecole des Beaux-Arts, as a student, and Kala Bhavan cannot remotely accentuate those unnoticed aspects of his life that have risen him to a decorous stature today.

Even the finest Indian art gallery, today, recognizes exhibiting artwork by Jogen Chowdhury as an honor. His excellence has surpassed international borders and has earned him recognition from renowned global destinations for artists. Journeying through his life and its uncertainties, education, and inspirations of his artwork can be a long commute and beyond the extent of literature. However, in this blog, we will sail on an excursion to identify some peculiarities of artwork by the artist.

More than just Unbroken Lines

Artwork by Jogen Chowdhury acts as a gravitational force for an observer. Regardless of the objects that one’s eyes meet scanning in a different direction, the work of lines is strong enough to draw back the attention of an observer. A perusing gaze of a viewer takes over his entire painting to scan the extent of each distinct line. Dominant usage of continuous lines reinforces the strength of an artist invoking emotions in an aesthete. In terms of the modern era, they create a FOMO (fear of mission out), and the viewer is nudged not to leave out a single spot for reaching the crux of the artwork.
The concept of unbroken lines can be understood by the profundity of his art. Presumably, it established him as a ‘master’ of this art that gained wide acknowledgment for him.

The portrayal of the Central Figure

A nude or undraped figure has remained central to many of Jogen Chowdhury’paintings. There is no attempt made to elaborate on the backgrounds, in these paintings, his chief characters apparently describe his thoughts, the idea, or the concept. However, an ungarbed personage sometimes stresses the mental faculties of an aesthete to establish a connection between nudity and the absence of phenomenal background. Such association in itself is sufficient to underscore the importance of the main subject of the painting.

The portrayal of undressed figures was common during a transitory period of the 15th to 16th century marked by Renaissance. When classical antiquity was put down and the domain of art witnessed a new dawn, bare characters by artists remained under controversy for a protruding time. Work by the artists of that time, being prophetic of the succeeding era, represented the equality of women and men. Jogen’s selection of a woman and projecting her in a similar disposition might have been his attempt to justify the necessity of shattering the walls of inequality between females and males.
A predominant idea, that interpreted the artwork of Renaissance in Europe, was women had to observe themselves just the way men do. Jogen’s painting that highlighted a nude female perceiving herself in the mirror is a subtle confirmation of drawn inspiration from the Renaissance. An alert witness of the partition of Bengal, Jogen Chowdhury’s artwork symbolizes vulnerability as a principal aspect.

Role of Hues

Hues in Jogen Chowdhury’s work have not been dominant rather they add volume to the image. He has remarkably used the technique of shading for furthering the depth of his characters. Even not being central, they have vigorously incorporated by the artist justifying the presence of both, the technique and his artwork.

However, he has shattered this monotony with some of his work integrating empowering blend of colors and seamless brushstrokes. ‘From My Window in Paris of 1966’ is a picture-perfect amalgamation of energetic brushstrokes and handpicked colors. Some of the masterpieces have displayed an accurate and fascinating usage of white on a black background that is somewhat reflective of a blend of two contradicting ideas.

Influence of Partition

As someone who witnessed the agonizing era of partition, of Bengal, Jogen Chowdhury outlines dislocation and isolation with a spark. The portraits or figures, directly, do not throw the ideas of division and torment, which an individual goes through, right away on an observer instead, stimulate their minds for finding the hidden truths in those figures.

Individuals reflecting themselves in their solitude draw the distinction that one experiences in the busy world. His paintings throw light on an escape where a human being withdraws from external commotion and reflects on internal discomfort as well as suffering. Somehow they underscore the struggle an individual tackles for not exposing their vulnerable side to the world.

Visual Juxtaposition

Jogen Chowdhury’s paintings have projected contradictory elements in a single artwork, frequently. It draws opposing emotions closer that, to some extent, identifies the coexistence of countless people in the world and the intermingling of their thoughts. Furthermore, it projects that it is impossible to eradicate the presence of one to highlight the other.

Visual contradiction compares the internal status of a human and the outer environment that pervades everything else. It brings closer the known to the unknown that separates individuals from society. Moreover, it connects what is real with something that is imaginary. It would not be justified to say whether what is showcased is achievable or not, but the contradiction leaves it to the aesthetes for coming up with their personal interpretations.

Connecting the Dots

Call it an exclusive right or the instinct of an art lover, but their elucidation of artworks by distinguished artists is nothing extraordinary. Over the years, admirers have rolled out their opinions and explanations for the work of Jogen Chowdhury. But certain aspects have been pulled out of his paintings, frequently and imprints of partition and visual juxtaposition have been noticed, regularly.

Every Indian art gallery takes pride in exhibiting the finest artwork made by this dignified artist. Jogen Chowdhury’s peregrination has been a long one, and the impact of the bumpy paths as well as calm tracks that he has traveled is apparent in his paintings. From local scenarios to some non-regional landscapes, variety, although not predominant, has maintained its presence in his artwork.

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