(1861 - 1941)
Born into a wealthy land-owning family of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore was initiated into art fairly late in his life, at the age of 63. He is thus better known for his literary achievements for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1914. He founded the Santiniketan School in 1901, and later the Vishva Bharati, a university promoting holistic learning, in 1981. Santiniketan is one of the most famous and important centres of learning in India which helped mould many talented Indian artists. He had painted close to 2,500 paintings during the few years he was an artist. Over 1500 of these are preserved at the Vishva Bharati University, Santiniketan. In 1930, through a series of exhibitions in Paris, London, Berlin, Moscow and New York, the world discovered the poet Rabindranath as an important modern painter. Subsequently, his works continued to be exhibited both in India and internationally. He is known to have commented that Indians were not ready to accept him as a painter, and thus he exhibited more of his works abroad. His reputation as an artist has continued to grow even after his death in 941. Tagore’s contribution to the art of India remains one of the most important to date.