Maqbool Fida Husain's Epic Love of The Eternal City

Mar 18, 2013 5:00PM

Maqbool Fida Husain was one of the most prolific and charismatic of Indian artists from the post-independence generation. Unlike his contemporaries, Husain choose to stay in India and his works reflect his love for India, its culture, traditions and landscape.

In 1960, Husain travelled to the place the picture is named for Varanasi with his friend and fellow artist Ram Kumar. “Twenty years since Ram Kumar and myself sailed silently close to the ghats of Banares, my fascination for the eternal city is ever growing…. Every morning the proverbial Morn of Banares would glow in gold and we pass by many ghats without a word. Only later we break our silence at a roadside Bengali coffeehouse!”

Husain's images in Varanasi I; the sun rising above the river Ganges, the priest and the boats, are immediately recognizable. Amidst the hustle and the densely crowded streets is the priest mid-morning prayer offers a moment of peace and clarity.

As for the power of Husain's paintings, "Varanasi 1" has the same strength and clarity of this enduring artist and his beloved birthplace.