The Influence of European and Indian Culture, Art and Aesthetics on the Work of George Keyt

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George Percival Keyt (1901-1993) who belonged to the “43 Group” of Sri Lankan Artists was the most gifted, distinguished and universal of Sri Lankan painters of the 20th century, well known both in the East and the West.

Keyt used Lines, forms and colours with the skill and sensitivity of a great virtuoso, and is equally at home in modern or traditional modes of expression. His repertoire of subjects stemming from Hindu myths and Buddhist themes is amazingly fecund, and serves as the main spring of his intuition, imagination, artistic and intellectual integrity.

Many researchers have studied and analyzed the Keyt tradition in different ways. Though his works have been studied in individual aspect, here I focused the influence of Hindu culture and European art forms on Keyt’s paintings and salient features that depicted from according above decades.
His style influenced from other culture, can be made in to three categories.

 Influences from Buddhist paintings of both India and Sri Lanka.
 Tantric practices of Medieval Hinduism
 European art forms such as cubism, expressionism and impressionism in Keyt’s paintings.

However, when we consider the origin and development of Keyt’s art, we not that most critics and researchers taken into consideration only some aspects of it. That could be seen only at a given time in the evolution of his craftsmanship. But my venture in this study is to book for a theoretical basis that could accommodate all his paintings, both at the levels of analysis and of appreciation of his art.

For this purpose I have studied a considerable number of his painting and have considered the views of critics on his work. For this purpose, I interviewed the contemporary and painters and art critics, when necessary.


Keywords: George Keyt, European Culture, Indian Culture, Art, Aesthetics
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Sudarshana Bandara

Lecturer, Department of Fine Arts, University of Peradeniya
Kandy, Sri Lanka

I am Mr. W.M.P. Sudarshana Bandara Permanent Lecturer, Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. I have done my B.A. Degree in Fine Arts in 1998- 2002 and got a First class (honours). In 2003-2009 did my MPhil in Fine Arts in the Same University. I am academic and practical painter in Sri Lanka had Solo exhibitions since 1995-2007. I have doing last three years been teaching Classical theories of Aesthetic and Art Criticism, Asian Art, Sri Lankan Modern painting and Modern theories of Aesthetics and Art Criticism and wish to specialize in the teaching of Art and Art Criticism.

Ref: A09P0807