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Nationalist Art of Roop Kishore Kapoor

Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

March 14, 2023

Roop Kishore Kapoor was a nationalist painter whose creations “appear in the proscribed sections of India Office and National Archived than those by any other single artist”, according to Pinny. Kapoor hailed from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

One of his path-breaking creations was the image of Bhagat Singh giving his head on a plate to a weeping Mother India. He painted and displayed it in Sambal with cries of Vande Mataram which eventually landed him in jail. Kapoor’s Three Heroes in Prison, which depicts three jailed under-trials in shackles, Sardar Bhagat Singh’s Wonderful Presentation, in which Bhagat Singh with Sukhdev and Rajguru behind, gives his head to an enthroned Bharatmata and B K Dutt in Prison reflects his rigorous nationalism. The Azad Mandir is probably the most popular and complex work of Kapoor’s career. Set in the scene of Chandra Shekhar Azad’s killing in Ahmedabad, it portrays the vignettes of Bhagat Singh, B K Dutt, Rajguru, Sukhdev, and four other martyrs. From the late 1930s onwards, Kapoor, with Kalicharan created a series of images that marked a transition from explicitly political to divine which came to be known as Chitrashala Kanpur and Chitrashala Dehradun paintings. Despite the outright divine imagery these paintings proved to be vehicles of nationalism that brilliantly evaded the prescription net. The famous Sudarshan Chakra and Mahamaya Shakti belong to this period.

Roop Kishore Kapoor’s feudalistic paintings were successful in evoking nationalist sentiments among the masses. His clever usage of divine imagery to propagate patriotism deserves praise.

Source: Indian Culture Portal