The Artist

Caroline Balderson & Tori Farrell

About the Author

Rabindranath Tagore


➳ Born May 7, 1861

➳ Died August 7, 1941 (80 years old)

➳ Tagore’s nickname was "Rabi" or ''Robi''

➳ He was the youngest of thirteen surviving children.

➳ His father was a famous Hindu philosopher and religious reformer.

➳ Bengali poet, short story writer, playwright, essayist, novelist, painter, and songwriter

➳ Taught people of other countries what India is really like.

➳ Was friends with Albert Einstein.

➳ Considered one of India's greatest modern writers.

➳ Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, novelist and painter best known for being the first non-European/Asian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 with his book Gitanjali (Song Offerings). He was highly influential in introducing Indian culture to the West and is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of modern India.

➳ He used his writing to fight for Indian independence from the English.

➳ The original name of the Tagore family was Banerjee. Being Brahmins, their ancestors were referred to as 'Thakurmashai' or 'Holy Sir'. During the British rule, this name stuck and they began to be recognised as Thakur and eventually the family name got anglicised to Tagore.

Character List

Major Characters:

Govinda - business man who worked his way up from poverty with the motivation of money

Mukunda - Govinda’s lawyer/brother, passes away in beginning of the story, has a lot of debt

Chunilal - Mukunda’s son, eventually is taken under his uncle Govinda’s wing

Satyabati - Chunilal’s mother and wife of Mukunda, very focused on her art and not much else


Minor Characters:

Brahma - creator

Rudra - destroyer

Vishnu - the heavenly preserver

Rangalal - Satyabati’s older nephew, rose overnight to fame as an artist

Summary

➳ The short story “The Artist” by Rabindranath Tagore is based on views about the importance of creativity in people’s lives and provides an indictment of modern materialistic values.

Govinda had once vowed to “make money.” He never in his life wanted fame, just fortune. When Govinda’s lawyer-brother Mukunda passed, he left behind some cash savings. In Mukunda’s will he left Govinda responsibility of his family. So Mukunda’s now widowed wife, Satyabati, and their son, Chunilal, moves in with Govinda and have to live by his rules.


Throughout the story, Chunilal discovers his love and skill in art, like his mother. While Govinda is away on a business trip, Chunilal began painting. When Govinda returned home he was furious. Out of anger he tore apart all of Chunilal’s paintings. He wanted Chunilal to be more money prone, while his mother wants him to follow his own path, doing whatever makes him happy. No matter how much money he is making.

Setting Visuals

Continuation of "Coloured Ink on Paper" ➶

➳ Tagore began painting relatively late in his career when he was in his sixties. His painting style was very individual, characterised by simple bold forms and a rhythmic quality, and later served to inspire many modern Indian artists.

Theme

➳ People with different goals may strongly disagree with you. However, you should be able to follow your own ambitions rather than others influencing you to take the path that they want you to go.

Examples of Literary Terms

Imagery:

Where? On page 1164, when the author is describing Satyabati’s art is made of


“There was no limit to her enthusiasm for creating all sorts of original and decorative things from flowers, fruits, and leaves, even food-stuffs, from paper and cloth cutouts, from clay and flour, from berry juices and the juices of other fruits, from jaba- and shiuli-flower stems.”


Repetition:

Where? Pretty much everywhere in the story


make money” The repetition, especially through or relating to Govinda, stresses how important money is to him. Not only does the first paragraph inform you that he came from poverty, but this exaggerating through repetition gives you the impression that he must have had a really hard and impoverished childhood.


Point-of-View:

Where? Yes


“The Artist” is told in 3rd person omniscient point-of-view. The narrator is not a character in the book and is “all knowing.”

Favorite Quote

➳ "Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky."


➳ "I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door - or I'll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present."


-Rabindranath Tagore