13 artworks by DAG Museums are now “Open Access” !

The OpenGLAM world [galleries, libraries, archives, museums] just got richer by 13 historic artworks from India thanks to the folks at DAG Museums. Now that might sound like a small number, but for India, this is a huge step towards providing Open Access.

These high-resolution artworks have been released by DAG as part of India’s first ever GIF-IT-UP Challenge. These are now free for you to download and use as you wish, without any fear of breaking copyright laws. The CC by SA license allows you to use and alter an image even for commercial purposes, as long as you give credit and license your new work under the identical terms.

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The images include works by important Indian artists from the DAG Museums collection : Benode Behari Mukherjee, Chittoprasad, Surendranath Kar, Jogesh Chander Seal to name a few; and span different mediums – oil painting, prints, woodcuts and watercolours. Take a look at the artworks here:

A Bengal woodcut

Woodcut on paper | Late 19th century

The rise of the printing industry led to a demand for engravers, especially around the Bengali presses in the Bat-tala area. Artists who previously worked with gold and other metals transitioned to wood engraving using the same tools and skills on a new format. Stories from mythological epics and puranas formed a large section of the prints created at that time, and this woodcut features a familiar mythological episode with the use of colours in shades of green, blue and red.

A Cat by Jamini Roy

Tempera on boxboard | c.1920s-50s

Placed against a dull background, the seated cat, painted stylistically as was Jamini Roy’s wont, furtively gazes into the eyes of the spectator. Laying on one side with its front paws folded inwards, it appears calm, its tail in mid-swish. In addition to yellow and green highlights, the cat flaunts a vibrant orange on the underside of its paws and mouth. The contrast between the white and black is broken by a thin line of grey, a halftone, accentuating its volume.

A Santhal Couple by Surendranath Kar

Chromolithograph on paper, c. 1940s

In this work, Surendranath Kar has managed to tactfully capture the simplicity embodied in the folk life of Santhals, the indigenous people residing in and around Bengal. The man is dressed in a traditional white dhoti while the woman wears a yellow sari, sporting amulets and necklace as adornments. The sweet sound of the flute calls for an idealised romantic episode, set against the backdrop of the lush greens of the rural countryside, evocative of the notions of organic nurturing and flourishing fertility.

A Watercolour painting of flowers by Benode Behari Mukherjee

Water colour on paper pasted on mount board | 1952

Painting flowers had cultural and personal significance for Benode Behari Mukherjee. Shantiniketan, where he spent most of his
formative and working years, and Mussoorie in hills of Uttaranchal, which saw his penultimate spell of paintings before he lost
his sight were both garden towns. He did not look at flowers as exotica but as the most proximate unit of his environment. Most of the artist’s flower portraits were made on paper or silk, frequently using water colours, which contributed to their visual delicacy.

See & download other open-access artworks here:

You can remix these 13 artworks to create GIFs and submit it for a chance to win awesome prizes! The GIF-it-up India challenge is open all through July.

Tap the picture below to see all the artworks. Download here.

GIF-It-Up India [July 2020]

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13 artworks by DAG Museums are now “Open Access” !