Nainsukh Of Guler
A great Indian painter from small hill-state By BN Goswamy
At Haridwar, where the Ganga descends from the mountains into the plains and begins its magestic journey towards the sea a long, long way off, every evening devotees light simple earthen lamps, place them on small platters of leaves along with some flowers and standing on the long brick steps on the bank, release them gently on the surface of the scred waters.
The lamps float steadily at first and then, when the current takes them over and sweeps them along towards the middle of the river, they begin to dip and toss as they join countless others, similary released by other hands from those very banks. It is a magnificent sight. The night becomes filled with sounds and silences and the stars of lamp-light. But, in sense, one cane take in the scene only as a wholea: to follow the course of a single lamp on those waters is almost impossible, for every thing shifts, eddies form; objects become obscured from view and merge with others, and then they disappear.
To trace the life and career of a painter in India is somewhat akin to following the course of an earthen lamp on swift waters. The glow is bright and warm, and one can keep it within sight for a while, but quickly things turn and uncharted vastness takes over. If then, knowing this and going against the prevailing (perhaps even confortable) state of caonymity that is almost a defining condition of thearts of India, this book concerns itself with one individual painter, Nainsukh, it is because the glow that comes from him is remarkably…
BN Goswamy, distinguished art historian, is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Panjab University, Chandigarh. His work covers a wide range and is regarded, especially in the area of Pahari painting, as having influenced much thinking. He has received the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, the Rietberg Award for Outstanding Research in Art History, the Padma Shri (1998) and the Padma Bhushan (2008) from the President of India.
Among his publications are: Pahari Painting: The Family as the Basis of Style (Marg, Bombay,1968); Essence of Indian Art (San Francisco, 1986); Wonders of a Golden Age (with E. Fischer, Zurich, 1987); Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India (with E. Fischer; Zurich, 1992); Indian Costumes in the Collection of the Calico Museum of Textiles (Ahmedabad, 1993); Nainsukh of Guler: A great Indian Painter from a small Hill State (Zurich, 1997); Painted Visions (New Delhi, 1999); Piety and Splendour: Sikh Heritage in Art (New Delhi, 2000); Domains of Wonder (with Caron Smith; San Diego, 2005), and I See No Stranger: Early Sikh Art and Devotion (with Caron Smith; New York, 2006).