Christian Themes in Indian Art: From the Mogul Times till Today

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Christian Themes in Indian Art: From the Mogul Times till Today | Anand Amaladass SJ and Gudrun Löwner

Christian Themes in Indian Art: From the Mogul Times till Today

Anand Amaladass SJ
Gudrun Löwner

Manohar Publishers



428 pages

This book is a pioneering work presenting Christian themes in Indian art from the beginnings of Christianity in India till today. The authors have, in the main, dealt with paintings and sculptures, but have supplemented this with one chapter on architecture, particularly that of church buildings, and one on popular art, including stamps. More than 1,100 rare coloured illustrations make this publication a unique reference book. It is the first complex treatment of the theme done in the last 25 years. Special emphasis is given to artists who as Hindus, Muslims and Parsees have chosen to paint Biblical themes. Already in the 16th century the encouraging and surprising encounter between European Christian prints and Indian miniature paintings took place. The Muslim Emperor Akbar invited three Jesuit missions from Goa to the Mogul court. Fascinated by European Madonnas and engravings, especially with Christian themes, he ordered his paintings to copy them in various ways. This was the start of a revolutionary fusion in Indian miniatures.

Most of the Bengali artists who were attracted by the human God Jesus and his agony are Hindus like Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Nikhal Biswas, Arup Das, Suhas Roy, Suman Roy, Sudip Roy etc. The authors always give a short biography and then highlight his/her works connected with the theme. The late Muslim M.F. Husain, whose faceless Mother Teresa pictures became icons, is presented side by side with his close friends, the Hindu Krishnen Khanna, the Parsee Jehangir Sabavala, the Hindu artists Satish Gujral, V. Nageshkar, Anjolie Menon, Ramchandran and the Sikh sisters Amrita and Rabindra Kaur Singh. The Who is Who of Indian art history is presented from a new angle. Christian artists include the late F.N. Souza, who simultaneously hated and loved his Christian childhood God, and artists like A.D. Thomas, Angela Trindade, A. Fonesca, V. Masoji, F. Wesley (both by Naomi Wray), C.J. Anthony Doss, Alphonso Doss, S. Raj, J. Sahi, L. D’Souza-Krone, Sister Clair etc., all who stand for the attempt to incorporate the Christian gospel into the Indian culture. This original research includes many young talents too. An extensive Bibliography, Glossary and Index make this book an indispensable reference source for many years to come. Every library and individuals interested in intercultural encounter between India and the West in art, intercultural theology, dialogue and history must have this book.

Anand Amaldass SJ studied Philosophy and Catholic Theology. He took a Master’s degree in Sanskrit and a Ph. D. from the University of Madras in 1981. Since 1984, he is teaching at Satya Nilayam Jesuit Faculty of Philosophy in Chennai, now part of the Loyola (Autonomous) College, Chennai. He was Dean of the Faculty and Director of the Research Institute for Philosophy and Sanskrit. His area of research includes Indian philosophy and religion, aesthetics and interfaith dialogue.

Gudrun Lowner studied Protestant Theology and comparitive religion in Bochum, Wuppertal, Geneva and Heidelberg. Her Ph. D. was from Heildelberg University in 1997. Her thesis was on Religion and Development in Sri Lanka.

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