About the Book:
India has a great tradition in aesthetic theorization but surprisingly it has
totally ignored the possibilities of critiquing a specific aesthetic manifestation.
Indian aesthetic tradition does not reveal a single occurrence of any theoretical
or critical analysis of a particular creation: literary, performative or visual.
Since value judgment was never an agenda of the aesthetic contextualization
in this tradition, it never attempted to identify the peaks of creativity and
It is ironical that the very maker of sculptural history in
ancient India is cursed with anonymity. For various reasons, the sculptural
tradition of this country is tight-lipped regarding its creative geniuses. This
anonymity was further romanticised by many, identifying it as the selfless gesture
of the Indian master artists. A few stray names of artists surface from some
myths, texts or inscriptions but they cannot be associated with any of the known
sculptural manifestations. Despite a long inventory of publications on Indian
sculpture, the sculptors in ancient India are lost in collective oblivion, either
because of the social hierarchy in which they were not placed in an enviable
strata or because of the a-aesthetical perspective of Indian art historians
who did not find it necessary to give a thought to the artistic component of
The proposed publication gives a brief introduction of the
artists’ community and art activity in ancient India and the most significant
masterpieces of the past. In the core chapter, employing the methods of intrinsic
studies, mainly focusing on the stylistic typologies and morphological developments,
we have tried to identify a number of masters of Indian sculpture from different
eras and sculptural lineages. We presume that it has not been attempted earlier
in Indian art historical writing. The text also attempts to draw attention to
the glyptic aesthetics of the spatial creations in India.
The volume follows the methodology of intrinsic i.e. formal
and stylistic studies of Indian sculpture. Heinrich Wolfflin is one of the significant
scholars who pioneered this methodology. Though, this is the most appropriate
methodology for studies in Indian sculpture, in absence of adequate recorded
information, it has not been exploited enough in India. The present volume,
though rooted in the art historical discipline tries to address the art lovers
from the other disciplines also hopefully enriching their understanding of Indian
sculpture and plastic aesthetics.
About the Book:
Deepak Kannal is an Art Historian, a sculptor and a teacher.
He taught at the Department of Art History and Aesthetics, Faculty of Fine Arts,
MSU of Baroda, shouldering the responsibilities as the Head of the department,
UGC/DSA coordinator and the Dean of the Faculty. He is a recipient of a number
of awards, scholarships and distinctions in Sculpture, Theatre and Art History
including the Charles Wallace fellowship for his post doctoral project at Cambridge,
UK, National Lalitkala honorable mention, A.P. Council National award, The Gujarat
Gaurav Puraskar, Raja Ravi Verma Samman and the Tagore National Fellowship under
which, he is working on the correspondence between Indian Linguistic Theories
and Indian sculpture.
Kanika Gupta is a young art historian, dancer and a film maker.
She did masters in Art History from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao
University, Baroda, where she studied under Professor Deepak Kannal. She has
worked on several research projects like accessioning and documentation of Ananda
Coomaraswamy and Kapila Vatsyayan personal collections for Cultural Archives
of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi. She has a number of publications
to her credit. At present, she is pursuing her PhD from School of Arts and Aesthetics,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.