Realism in contemporary Indian Paintings :”The Cityscape”

The Cityscape

Sanjay Bhattacharyya’s paintings reflect a realism of a rare kind ,a realism which amounts to the capturing of details as in photography. A photographic reproduction of details such as one will find in this painting belies the usual expectations about a painting which is usually more abstract ,touching on symbolism at some level.Actually one would think Bhattacharyya has first captured the scene on a camera and then converted it into a painting .This impression one gets because the play of light and shade such as one would find in this painting seems virtually impossible to be achieved on a canvas .It is almost like Van Gogh but then Van Gogh’s work happened at a time when there was no photography .To achieve a realism of this kind in painting is highly admirable .In this age of digital photography where even an inexperienced cameraman can achieve surprisingly good results through good editing, a painting of the above type indicates consummate skill in handling the way light falls on objects. It is as though the painter’s mind has worked like a high quality camera ,a lens eye ,par excellence.

Apart from the realism what strikes one is that the painter captures Kolkata’s unique cityscape so beautifully. The scene is so typical if you enter any of the old residential areas of Kolkata .I particularly like the faded gray of the stair case ,the saffron texture of the walls of the right side building and the yellow paint of the left side building, the beautiful play of light on the clothes drying on the clothesline,the paint chipping off at some places and above all the shadows that the left side building casts on itself .

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