Why do you think some artists wanted to develop a national style of art?

Many painters, towards the end of nineteenth century, wanted to establish a stronger connection between art and nationalism. To do so, they tried to develop a style of art that could be considered both modern and Indian. This attempt to create a national style of art can be seen in the works produced by Raja Ravi Varma. He used the Western art of oil painting and realistic life study to portray scene after scene from the Indian mythology. However, there never was a clear consensus as to what defined an authentic Indian style of art. Nationalist artists like Abanindranath Tagore rejected the art of Ravi Varma and felt that a genuine Indian style of painting needed to draw inspiration from non-Western art traditions, and try to capture the spiritual essence of the East. So, they turned to medieval Indian traditions of miniature painting and the ancient Indian art of mural painting. They were also influenced by the Japanese art tradition.

There were others who felt that an authentic Indian style of art would be one which explored the real life instead of illustrating ancient books; one which looked for inspiration from living folk art and tribal designs rather than ancient art forms. Ultimately, what all these artists aimed at representing was a certain national consciousness with which each Indian could relate.

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