Mr. Griffith

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Griffith held that there was no better model than Ajanta, urging this pupils to visit the caves as an exercise in consciousness, raising the implied inferiority of Indian art, drummed into the students, proved decisive. A number of them refused to copy the painting even on the pain of expulsion.

But drawing classes relied exclusively on antique plaster cast and copies of European Art. Nourished on Romantic literature, they were immediately drawn to Victorian story telling canvasses.

- standing in front of huge plaster of Paris statues of Venus de Medici, Apollo Belvedere, Disobolos, I felt as if in a dream…I went round and round the statues and yet I was not sated…Even out on the street, I felt like on possessed and kept seeing them appear before me.

He decided to join the school there and then, braving the opposition of the family. Griffith lent him the life of Leonardo da Vinci. Locke was called Mahatama by his students.

On the Thanatopedia, the Saturday review wrote- we have never seen the beauty of form and colour ( snakes)depicted with greater truth and skill therein.


Between 1872 and 1885, his students wer employed to make copies of the wall paintings at Ajanta. Like an object lesson in Indian ornamental art. He thought he would bring out a not very expensive book on teaching finer details of decorative art.

On the tour with the students, he told them to look closely, to look at it as an exercise in 'consciousness raising'. But the students, by now convinced of the inferiority of Indian arts practices, could not appreciate them, many refused to copy them.

Griffith's much loved student, Pestonji Bomanji would later have no recollection of having been to Ajanta. He went on to become one of the first salon painters in India.

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