Portrait of a Nobleman
by Laxman Narayan Taskar (1870-1937)
Oil on canvas
19.5 x 15.5 in. (49.5 x 39.5 cm.)
L. N. Taskar born in Bombay was educated at Sir J. J. School of Arts, Bombay where he took up teaching in 1898. He was the most respected and highly regarded teacher and taught there until his death in 1937. Through the second half of the nineteenth century, a shift from the decorative to academic art in schools facilitated the creation of a new social and professional category of ‘Artists’ in India. A growing preference for naturalism, for solid drawing and three dimensional representation, oil painting and watercolours and for effects of light and shade, became the reigning symbols for high art. Taskar’s paintings mirror the ideals of academic neo- classical realism introduced by the British in their art education system. As an art teacher in the same school, he received several prizes, and his paintings are in many museums and art societies in India. There is a strong sense of local aesthetic in Taskar’s paintings, and in spite of the rigid academic discipline inherent in the art schools, the artist made several departures from his training in some of his paintings.
In this portrait, Taskar has used bright and neutral tones against a misty background, and negotiating drapery, colour and poses in accordance to the needs of the picture, thereby making his own little discoveries within the academic aesthetic.