Good Life

'I Do Bare Figures, Not Nudes'

'I Do Bare Figures, Not Nudes'

“A lot of people buy my paintings online. I pity them. Because when you actually look at a painting, and on the computer it appears this small (he gestures emphatically to a postcard-sized image), how would you know the brushstrokes?” Such are the musings of an artistic genius, painter extraordinaire and Padma Bhushan recipient, Jatin Das. The geniality with which I was allowed to witness a wizard at work was humbling. One can only hope for so much kindness while in the company of an artist with an oeuvre akin to his. Jatin Das’s figurative paintings epitomise human forms. After an unyielding albeit relentless quest to uncover the underlying symbolism behind his body of work, he reaches out for a hardbound, crimson catalogue and says, “This is a 20-year-old catalogue. When you paint and draw human forms, there is male and female. Female has lalitya or grace. I do bare figures. Quite often people call them nudes. They’re not nudes. Do you know what a nude is?” He adds, “If somebody is clothed and you unclothe the person for a photograph or a painting, that’s a nude.” “What I do when I paint or draw is that I don’t repeat myself consciously,” he says, adding, “I have no time to look back at what kind of work I’m doing, so there is no set thematic approach to my work.”

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