Arts and Culture
The scientific activity of the art historian and Indologist Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) took place during the formation of the discipline of Indian art. He was one of the first to give a comprehensive definition to the concept of "traditional art" and he also deserves credit for describing and analyzing the Indian aesthetic tradition. His work had a strong influence on Indian aesthetic theory and artistic practice, resonating both in theoretical compendiums and in the work of Indian artists up to the present day. Associated with the Ch.R. Ashbee community in England, in active interaction with the Tagore family, and inspired by the ideas of E.B. Havell, Coomaraswamy revived Indian art by outlining a plan for young artists and by defining the criteria by which their creativity should be evaluated. Most of his ideas became national, having lost their original authorship. The spectrum of Coomaraswamy's theses includes the sacred basis of traditional art, the need to evaluate monuments through the viewpoint of their creators, the fallacy of the division of "high" and "applied" art, and the primacy of meaning in relation to form. These became the conceptual basis of many ideologists of the Indian cultural movement, such as Mulk Raj Anand and Uday Shankar and they also developed into a manifesto for a new generation of artists who sought to find new means of expression through the rich past of their country.