Kolkata's Tintoretto

Kolkata's Tintoretto

Chandi Mukherjee06 Oct 2009

Chandi Mukherjee provides with an insight into the painter behind Tintorettor Jishu, Ray's Feluda adventure and how he created quite a flutter. Also, how the painting was created by Sagar Bhowmik, an artist in Kolkata from a single pen and ink-line drawing by Satyajit Ray

Director Sandip Ray′s latest “Feluda” adventure “Tintorettor Jishu” DVD was released last month.

Tintorettor Jishu
Tintorettor JishuTintorettor Jishu (more photos, videos)

Everybody is curious, of course those who have not read the original story by Satyajit Ray, who is this Tintoretto? Is he from Kolkata or from some where else?

So, let me introduce you who this Tintoretto is. Tintoretto was a Venetian painter, originally named Jacob Robusti. He is known as the last generation of masters produced by Italian renaissance. Almost all of Tintoretto′s life was spent in Venice and most of his paintings are still in the churches or other buildings for which it was painted. The most important thing about Tintoretto is that he became unpopular because he was unscrupulous in procuring commissions and ready to undercut his competitors. It seems from this that he was much ahead of him time in painting business. He did all these unscrupulous acts in the 1530′s.

Tintoretto was a master craftsman. His idols were Michaelangelo and Titim. Though his drawing were more brilliant then the detailed study of Michaelangelo and his colours were more sombre and mystical. Tintoretto′s greatest paintings are the vast series of paintings he did for the Scuola Di San Rocco in Venice from 1565 to 1587 - scenes from the life of Christ in the upper hall and scenes from the life of the virgin in the lower hall.

But why Satyajit Ray thought of this artist? Probably he got exposed to the brilliance of this artist when he had started painting in Shantiniketan. He must have come across the statement of Hendry James about the “Crucifixion” (1565) by Tintoretto. Hendry James wrote, “Surely no single painting in the world contains more of human life, there is every thing in it, including the most exquisite beauty.

The adventure story by Satyajit Ray deals with a painting by Tintoretto, which was stolen from some museum by some art dealers and Feluda engaged himself to bring back the painting.

While painting to make this film Sandip Ray faced a major problem. He could not find a single reference of Tintoretto′s Jesus even on internet. All he could find references of some big paintings like “Crucifixion” or “The Last Supper” where Jesus was not alone. Even he was unable to find whether Tintoretto drew any medium size solo Jesus or not. So, to create a painting of Jesus by Tintoretto he had to depend only on a single pen and ink-line drawing by his father which was painted as the illustration of his story.

Then who is the painter? Who create the Tintoretto out of a small illustration by Satyajit Ray for the film “Tintorettor Jishu” by Sandip Ray?

He is none other than a young painter from Dumdum Cantonment named Sagar Bhowmik. When contacted at his residence, Sagar showed me the final color painting of Jesus he drew from the Ray′s illustration for the film. He had to paint two canvases for the shooting. He elaborately told how Sandip Ray contacted him and what was his briefing to him. He also tried to search for any original reference but failed. He only had tried to paint in the manner the Italian painters of the 16th century used the colours in the background and in the foreground. When asked whether was happy with his paintings, he smiled and nodded and said, “Babuda (Sandip Ray) was very happy.

So, Sagar Bhowmik of Dumdum Cantonment is the Tintoretto of Calcutta.

Buy the movie DVD here

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