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8 Books on Indian Art for Every Art Lover

If art fascinates you, this article is for you! Here is a curated compilation of 8 books that every art lover should get their hands on.

The richness of Indian Art beholds the chronicle of Indian history and development.

The emergence of art marks its origin back to the period when humans were still in process of understanding their existence.

From making cave paintings to their get-up perception, everything a man has learnt over time gives art a direction to its beauty.

The tradition of Indian art includes music, sculptures, textile, pottery and everything else which paves the way for the splendid heritage of India.

Begun as a mere means of communication through the wall paintings, art has now unfolded into the layers of expressions and ushered our way to understand Indian culture and traditions.

The affluent world of Indian art has become a mesmerizing part of our daily lives.

From diverse sorts of paintings to modern art, India excels in providing artists with a wide range of knowledge and exposure to the exceptional heritage of art.

Every artist needs a push to begin embracing their interest in art and reading books is the best way to gain an understanding of the artsy world.

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Here is a list of ‘must read’ books for the aesthete in you –

1) Ebrahim Alkazi Directing Art- The Making of A Modern Indian Art World

By Parul Dave Mukherjee

Ebrahim Alkazi Directing Art- The Making of A Modern Indian Art World

Ebrahim Alkazi was doubtlessly India’s maestro of Indian art who excelled in bringing forward the virtue of it.

An exploration of the work and life of Alkazi, this book is a perfect read to recognize his way of locating art in different frameworks.

The book also contains an attractive visual of 400 coloured paintings by various artists to hold your attention and an essay written by his daughter Amal Allana to touch your heart.

Winner of three prestigious civilian awards like the Padma Vibhushan, Ebrahim Alkazi had a profound engagement with arts, primarily theater and paintings.

He also established the Art Heritage Gallery and an Art Journal in New Delhi.

Staging and successfully directing more than fifty plays in his lifetime along with being an art connoisseur got him into association with names like MF Hussain, SH Raza, Anish Kapoor, etc.

He had also mentored today’s well-known artists like Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri.

Directing Art digs deep into the marvelous work of Alkazi in both contemporary and modern art as well as his life stories.

2) A Brush with Indian Art- From Cave to Contemporary Paintings

By Mamta Nainy

A Brush with Indian Art- From Cave to Contemporary Paintings

A Brush with Indian Art will take you on a joyous ride to explore how Indian art has evolved over ages through a different perspective.

From the first pictures ever made to the modern contemporary art, from the beautiful Buddhist cave paintings at Ajanta to the majestic Mughal miniature art, A Brush with Indian Art is the best read to gain knowledge about the inception and evolution of art in our country.

The book enlivens art from discrete eras in the form of phenomenal photographs and black and white sketches.

The interesting framing of historical events and writing style will grab your attention and give you a push to start exploring your interest in various forms of Indian art.

3) The Artful Life of R. Vijay

By Annapurna Garimella

The Artful Life of R. Vijay

The book unwrap an inspiring story of collaboration between an Indian artist and an American photographer who explore art together.

Stunning and contemporary, The Artful Life of R Vijay perfectly shares the tale of different culture and visions coming together to originate an internationally acclaimed form of Rajasthani miniature painting.

On their way to finding and fulfilling their purpose, photographer Waswo X. Waswo and artist Rakesh Vijay converge to explore each other’s passion for art.

The intersection of western and Indian itself gives their art a unique blend.

What makes the book even more gripping apart from the mention of eccentric miniature paintings is the beauty of Waswo finding his way out by making way for a talented artist through his vision.

Even though the book is conceptualized by Waswo, it is written from the perspective of R. Vijay sharing his outlook of a huge part of his life and artsy career.

The artful life of R. Vijay can be your coffee table read to learn both about a unique art and encouraging anecdotes of Rakesh and Waswo’s life.

4) Finding My Way

By Venkat Raman Singh Shyam and S. Anand

Finding My Way

Finding My Way portrays the journey of Venkat Raman from being a rickshaw puller to becoming a prominent Gond artist of India.

The book is an autobiography that will take you back to your childhood through the eyes of the author and his collection of lovely pictures.

Artist Singh Shyam has splendidly represented his story of achieving his destination of art by sharing attractive visuals and the text by S. Anand adds expression of it.

Apart from being a fascinating admix of art and text, Finding My Way also excels in rendering homage to Indian traditions and history of art through the perspective of the author.

The tone is both playful and ironic and the graphics of the book keeps you enticed.

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5) Indian Art and Culture

By Nitin Singhania

Indian Art and Culture

Indian Art and Culture is a very generic book designed for competitive examination aspirants but provides comprehensive knowledge for everybody interested in arts.

The book includes brief content about diversified forms of Indian art like music, paintings, architecture, sculpture, performing, etc.

Nitin Singhania has not only perfectly curated different art forms but has also authored the history and evolution of the same.

This academic read can be worth it for people seeking knowledge about Indian art, culture, and heritage.

6) Indian Art

By Partha Mitter

Indian Art

Indian Art concisely guides its readers about history throughout the last 5000 years of Indian art and architecture.

The book explores the vibrant artistic traditions of different eras and periods of Indian history. It also acknowledges everything from the rich culture of tribal artists to modern art.

Mitter has efficiently framed the content and has brought to life the diversity of Indian heritage and culture.

Other than covering details of various influences on Indian folk art, Partha Mitter has also discussed the global and nationalist concerns of contemporary art.

Indian art is one amongst the most influential and revolutionary books on Indian art.

7) Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde- Sonata of Solitude

By Meera Menezes

Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde- Sonata of Solitude

Alternatively known by the title of ‘When I don’t paint, I’m not a painter; I am just an ordinary human being’,the book helps you step into the life of one of India’s best modern art master, VS Gaitonde.

Sonata of Solitude is the first amongst the series of three titles that brilliantly captures the remarkable journey of Gaitonde.

From growing up in the alleyways of Nagpur to having his art showcased on the walls of the country’s finest galleries.

Eminent art scholar and author, Meera Menezes has beautifully narrated the childhood and success of Vasudeo to inspire you of his art and story.

Overall, Sonata of Solitude can be your delightful read to learn the history of an illustrious artist over a general story along with mesmerizing pictures.

8) Dictionary of Indian Art and Artists

By Pratima Sheth

Dictionary of Indian Art and Artists

Dictionary of Indian Art and Artists presents to its readers, a comprehensive guide to various forms of Indian art like embroidery, music, sculptures, paintings, weaving, etc.

The book contains 1,300 entries and more than 300 coloured illustrations to awe-inspire you.

From the history, context and evolution of Indian art, to that of different famed Indian artists, Pratima Sheth has collected, curated, and compiled different aspects of art into the form of this book.

Dictionary of Indian Art and Artists is a one for all and all for one.

As it not only provides enthralling knowledge and exquisite graphics to artists, students or art professionals but is also a fun read for art-lovers and aesthetes.

Which one are you picking first or which one is your favourite?

Let us know in the comments below!

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