The Changing World Of Visual Arts Class 8 Study Notes

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The Changing World Of Visual Arts Class 8 Study Notes

Social Science is an interesting subject divided into History, Geography and Civics. The clear distinction between the chapters is made right in the class 8 and continues till class 12. In this blog we will be discussing The Changing World Of Visual Arts Class 8 History chapter. Check out the full description of the lesson along with solved questions!

Overview of The Changing World Of Visual Arts

A colonial rule introduced several new art forms, styles, materials, and techniques creatively adapted by Indian artists for local patrons and markets in both the elite and famous cities. The changes were seen primarily in paintings and printmaking.

New forms of Imperial Art

The Changing World Of Visual Arts class 8 History chapter includes the following new forms of art: 

  1. In the 18th Century, a stream of European artists came to India and the British traders and rulers.
  2. The artists carried with them new drawing styles and traditions. They started to create images that influenced Western perceptions of India.
  3. The main characteristic of European painting was realism, which meant that what the artists created was supposed to appear natural and lifelike.
  4. European artists also brought oil painting to India. It allowed artists to create realistic-looking pictures.
  5. Paintings were produced on a variety of themes. However, the European artists’ popular purpose was to stress Britain’s dominance, history, people, and strength.

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Looking for the Picturesque 

  1. One of the famous Imperial customs was picturesque landscape painting which portrayed India as a precious land to be explored by traveling British artists.
  2. The most well-known practitioners of this style were Thomas Daniell and his nephew William Daniell.
  3. They produced artwork depicting newly acquired British territories.
  4. In some photos, they should be British rule taking modern civilization to India, while in others, they should be buildings recalling the glory of the past and collapsing ancient civilization.
  5. One of the pictures emphasizes the modernization effect of British rule by stressing a dramatic change.

Also Read: Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Class 8 Notes

Portraits of Authority

  1. Portrait painting was another art form that flourished in colonial India.
  2. Self-portraits were common among the wealthy and influential, both Indian and British.
  3. Portraits in colonial India were life-size photographs that seemed lifelike and actual.
  4. Portraiture is the art of creating portraits, which served as an ideal means of displaying the luxurious lifestyle, riches, and status created by the British in India.
  5. European artists such as Johann Zoffany traveled to India in search of a profitable commission. He was born in Germany, moved to England, and then to India, where he lived for five years.
  6. He represented the British as superior and imperious in his portraits, flaunting their clothing, rising regally or seated arrogantly, and enjoying a life of luxury, while Indians occupied a dark backdrop.
  7. Many Indian Nawabs commissioned European painters to paint their portraits. For example, Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan of Arcot commissioned two European artists, Tilly Kettle and George Willson, to paint his portraits, which he then gave to the King of England and the East India Company’s Directors.

Painting History

  1. The third type of Imperial art was ‘history painting.’ These paintings dramatized and recreated numerous incidents of British Imperial history, and they gained reputation and popularity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  2. British successes in India provided rich material for British history painters.
  3. They depicted the numerous wars in which the British had conquered the Indians and celebrated their strength, successes, and Supremacy.
  4. Francis Hayman produced the first historical painting in 1762 when the British defeated the Indian Army of Nawab Sirajuddaula in the Battle of Plassey and installed Mir Jafar as the Nawab Murshidabad. The painting shows Mir Zafar welcoming Lord Clive.
  5. Robert Kerr Porter portrayed Tipu Sultan of Mysore’s defeat at the famed battle of Seringapatam in 1799. The artwork is full of violence and energy, dramatizing the incident and glorifying the British victory.
  6. Imperial history paintings attempted to establish a national memory of Imperial, demonstrating that the British were triumphant and all-powerful.

What Happened to the Court Artists? 

Next thing to look upon in the changing world of visual arts class 8 is the condition of court artists that is explained very well below: 

  1. There were various Indian art traditions in multiple courts.
  2. Tipu Sultan opposed European art in Mysore and continued to promote his tradition of mural paintings.
  3. Murshidabad’s court followed a different pattern. After beating Sirajuddaulah, the British effectively installed their puppet Nawabs on the throne, first Mir Zafar and Mir Qasim.
  4. The Nawab encouraged local miniature artists to imitate the taste and artistry of the British.
  5. Murshidabad’s local artists began to incorporate elements of European realism. For example, they used a perspective, a drawing style that provides a feeling of space between close objects and those that are far apart, and they used different colors to make the figures realistic.
  6. Local painters produced plenty of portraits of local plants and animals, historical structures and temples, festivals, and so on, collected by East India Company officials and became known as company paintings.
  1. In several Indian cities during the nineteenth century, a new world of modern art flourished. Scroll drawing was developed by local peasants known as ‘patuas’ and ‘potters.’
  2. In Bengal, Kalighat was growing as a commercial and administrative center.
  3. The major art styles of the scroll painters creating representations of Gods and Goddesses were mythological themes.
  4. Kalighat painters started to use coloring to portray a rounded appearance and make them seem three-dimensional, but they were not realistic or life-like.
  5. Early painters used a bold, intentionally non-realistic style to portray huge, imposing figures with few lines, details, and colors.
  6. Many of the Kalighat images were mass-produced and sold in the market, and the images were carved in wooden blogs.
  7. Mechanical printing presses were set up in various parts of India in the late nineteenth century, which aided in producing a more significant number of printings.
  8. Calcutta Art Studio was established in the late nineteenth century in Calcutta and created life-like photographs of prominent Bengali celebrities and mythological images.
  9. With the rise of nationalism in the early twentieth century, the studio produced prominent prints of nationalist themes. Some of them have Bharat Mata appearing as goddess carrying the National Flag, or it had National list heroes sacrificing their head to Bharat Mata.

Check Out – From Trade to Territory Class 8 Study Notes

The Search for a National Art

By the end of the nineteenth century, the influence of religions, traditions, and the spirit of nationalism on art was visible. As a result, many painters attempted to create a style that was both western and Indian.

The Art of Raja Ravi Varma

Raja Ravi Varma was one of the first artists to play with blending modern and traditional styles. Raja Ravi Varma was a member of the Maharaja of Travancore family in Kerala. He studied the Western art of oil painting and practical life study, but his themes were based on Indian mythology. He mostly depicted scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in his paintings. Raja Ravi Varma set up a picture production team and printing press on the outskirts of Bombay.

A Different Version of National Art

  1. A new generation of Bengali artists gathered around Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore’s nephew.
  2. They argued that Ravi Varma’s art was imitative of Western-style art and that Western-style and Modern Art should not be used to portray the nation’s ancient myths and legends.
  3. He wanted to recreate the medieval Indian practice of miniature painting and the ancient art of mural painting in the Ajanta Caves.
  4. Rajput paintings inspired him, and his art was also influenced by Japanese paintings, as can be seen in some of his paintings.

Question Answers on The Changing World Of Visual Arts Class 8

Question 1: Fill in the blanks:

  1. The art form which observed carefully and tried to capture exactly what the eye saw is called _________.
  2. The style of painting which showed Indian landscape as a quaint, unexplored land is called _________.
  3. Paintings which showed the social lives of Europeans in India are called _________.
  4. Paintings which depicted scenes from British imperial history and their victories are called _________.


  1. The art form which observed carefully and tried to capture exactly what the eye saw is called portraiture.
  2. The style of painting which showed the Indian landscape as a quaint, unexplored land is called picturesque
  3. Paintings which showed the social lives of Europeans in India are called Kalighat painting.
  4. Paintings which depicted scenes from British imperial history and their victories are called History paintings.

Question 2: Point out which of the following were brought in with British art:

  1. Oil painting
  2. Miniatures
  3. Life-size portrait painting
  4. Use of perspective
  5. Mural Art


The following were brought in with British art:

  1. Oil painting, C. Life-size portrait painting, D. Use of Perspective

Question 3: Describe in your own words one painting from this chapter which suggests that the British were more powerful than Indians. How does the artist depict this?

Answer: Johann Zoffany’s painting ‘The Aurial and Dashwood Families of Calcutta’ portrays Thomas Dashwood and Charlotte Lousia Aurial welcoming guests. Several Indian servants are drinking tea. The British are shown sitting or standing regally on a vast lawn. Indians are portrayed as submissive and subordinate to the British. They are placed in the background. Thus the picture suggests that the British were more powerful than Indians.

Question 4: Why did the scroll painters and potters come to Kalighat? Why did they begin to paint new themes?

1. Local village scroll painters (called patuas in eastern India and kumhars in north India) and potters (named kumors in eastern India and kumhars in north India) started creating a new art style in Bengal, near the pilgrimage center of the temple of Kalighat.

They moved from the nearby villages to Calcutta in the early nineteenth century, when the city was developing as an “economic and administrative center.” The city appeared to be a place of opportunity, where people could come to make a new living and find new customers and customers for their artwork.

2. Before the nineteenth century, village patuas and kumors worked on mythological themes and created representations of gods and goddesses. Kalighat artists reacted to the rapid changes in social values, desires, norms, and practices by painting social and political themes.

Question 5: Why can we think of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings as national?

Answer: Raja Ravi Varma studied the Western art of oil painting and practical life study, but he painted Indian mythology themes. On canvas, he played out events from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Ravi Varma’s mythological paintings became popular among Indian princes and art collectors starting in the 1880s.

Question 6: In what way did the British history paintings in India reflect the attitudes of imperial conquerors?

Answer: The British history paintings attempted to dramatize and reproduce numerous events of British colonial history. They celebrated British dominance, successes, and domination. In addition, the imperial history paintings tried to infuse a general memory of imperial victories. Victories had to be recalled and imprinted in people’s minds, both in India and in the United Kingdom. Only then could the British appear invincible and all-powerful.

Question 7: Why do you think some artists wanted to develop a national style of art?

Solution 7: In Bengal, a new generation of nationalist artists led by Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951) opposed Ravi Varma’s art as imitative and westernized.

  • They believed that a true Indian painting style had to take influence from non-Western art forms and attempt to portray the mystical essence of the East.
  • They found inspiration in medieval Indian miniature painting traditions and the ancient practice of mural painting in the Ajanta caves.
  • Rajput miniatures influenced them.
  • They were also inspired by Japanese artists who visited India at the time to create an Asian art movement.

2. After the 1920s, a new wave of artists started to depart from Abanindranath Tagore’s style.

  • Many people thought that spiritualism.
  • Some argued that spiritualism should not be considered as the defining feature of Indian society.
  • They believed that instead of drawing ancient texts, artists could discuss everyday life.
  • Look for inspiration from live folk art and tribal designs.

Question 8: Why did some artists produce cheap popular prints? What influence would such prints have had on the minds of people who looked at them?

Answer: Raja Ravi Varma depicted scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in his paintings. Ravi Varma’s mythological paintings were popular with Indian princes and art collectors in the 1880s, who filled their palace galleries with his works.

Ravi Varma established a picture production team and printing press on the outskirts of Bombay as his paintings became increasingly popular. Here color prints of his religious paintings were mass-produced. Even the poor could now buy these cheap prints.

We hope that these notes on The Changing World Of Visual Arts Class 8 History helped you! Let us know your feedback in the comment section below. Stay connected with Leverage Edu for more such informative content.

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