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Tagore’s Landscape Paintings

Cultivating a Taste for Nature

Rabindranath Tagore began to paint independent paintings, freed from an origin in text, only in 1928. Many of these were landscapes and painterly engagements with seasons. Earlier however, in 1923, Tagore began his experiments in rural regeneration with an elaborate “Masque” performance in Surul, a small rural settlement close to the fledgling Visva-Bharati University project, to bring “hill tribes” into the ambit of agricultural work and reshape the land which until then had “never known the scratch of a ploughshare.” This paper attempts to offer a reading of the ideological drive through which a public attitude towards the surrounding landscape was shaped by Tagore’s performances and how his shift to landscape painting was one way of registering the continuity of human experiences across space and time.

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