(Last Updated on : 18/06/2013)
Benode Behari Mukherjee (7 February 1904 - 11 November 1980) was a painter and a celebrated muralist. He was one of the artists who took up mural as a mode of artistic expression. His murals depict a delicate understanding of environmental and architectural tones.
He was born in Kolkata
in Behala. He taught at Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan
. Despite having serious eye problems he continued to paint and do murals. In the year 1919, he took admission in Kala-Bhavan which is the art faculty of Visva Bharati University. He was also a student of a well known Indian artist Nandlal Bose. He became a member of teaching staff of Kala Bhavan in 1925. He left Kala Bhavan in 1949 and joined as a curator at the Nepal Government Museum in Kathmandu. Thereafter he taught at the Banasthali Vidyapith in Rajasthan
from 1951-52. He returned to Kala Bhavan in 1958. Later on he became the principal of Kala Bhavan. A collectionof his writings known as Chitrakar was published in 1979.
Style of Benode Behari Mukherjee
He used complex fusion of idioms that was inspired from Western modern art and the spirituality of oriental traditions. Some of his creations show an influence of Far eastern traditions especially calligraphy and wash techniques. He had undertaken calligraphy lessons form artists in Japan. He had spent one year in Japan with artist like as Toba Sojo. Idioms of Western modern had also influenced his style. He often blends Cubist techniques to solve space related problems. He has achieved a harmonious blend in his creations. This is visible from his grand murals inside the Visva-Bharati campus. Later on he went to Doon valley in Mussoorie
where he started an art school. However he could not run it due to financial crunch.
He had the ability to break away from the turn of the century. He created a dynamic modern vocabulary. This paved the way for next generation of artists in the 1940s. He depicted literary subjects and mythology to a form that gave importance to pictorial elements like color, line and texture.
He has experimented with several mediums, ranging from murals to collage, from woodcuts to calligraphy, from watercolors, oil paint, ink and crayons to graphics as an artist. His paintings were based on observations, on eternal patterns, on intrinsic feel and texture of things. The development in his style showed his fondness for simplicity. Later he also created wax sculptures.
Awards and honors
He received Padma Vibhushan award in 1974. He was also conferred with Deshikottama by the Visva Bharati University in 1977. He has also been conferred the Rabindra Puraskar in 1980.
He died in the year 1980 in November.