Dr. C. Sivaramamurti's erudite scholarship in the aesthetics of Indian Fine Arts needs no introduction to those who are interested in the serious study of ancient Indian treatises on art.
The present work brings within its scope a vast field of study. Dr. Sivaramamurti's critical analysis of the techniques and treatment of art in the Chitrasutra (Rules of Painting) of the Vishnudharmottara will be deemed as a notable contribution to the study of Indian art and aesthetics through the ages.
Through his precise translation, The Author has clarified the process of applying metal colours to painting. He has restored in many places of the Chitrasutra the original sense by correcting the text wherever necessary. The author has also suggested a new date for the text that is nearer to the fourth than the third century A.D.
Besides the text and translation of the Chitrasutra, the Book contains six chapters dealing with : 1. The Place of Painting among the Fine Arts; 2. The Chitrasutra and its Date; 3. The Technique of Painting; 4. Classification of Paintings; 5. Conventions in Painting : Pictorial Parlance; 6. Appraisal of Paintings. There is a valuable bibliography. Towards the end there is a fascinating collection of illustrations relevant to the text.
Keeping in view the importance of the text of the Chitrasutra of the Vishnudharmottara as a valuable source-book of the rules of Indian art, this study brings up-to-date our understanding of the validity and various aspects of this unique and indispensable treatise on Indian painting.
The Royal Asiatic Society tire adult life has been devoted to the study and exposition of various aspects of Indian art. Author of several monographs, he has surveyed the panorama of Indian art as archaeologist, numismatist, epigraphist, historian and scholar of Sanskrit and Tamil.
After a brilliant academic career, at the end of which he was considerably influenced by the writings of Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, he went through the mill of official career, which took him to ever-greater heights. He entered first as a Curator of Archaeology in the Madras Museum. Then he joined the Indian Museum, Calcutta as The Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Migrating to the National Museum at Delhi, he started first as a Keeper, then became the Assistant Director and finally the Director. He has been the Honorary Adviser on Museums for the Government of India. He has served on the Executive Committee of the International Council of Museums, Paris and has been the chairman of the Indian National Committee of the Council.
An early recipient of the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, he worked on the theme of "Nataraja in Art, Thought and Literature," now acclaimed as a major contribution to Indology. Dr. Sivaramamurti's monumental book, "L' Art en Inde' originally published in French has been subsequently brought out in German, English, Italian and Spanish editions.
A sculptor and an artist in his own right, he has often illustrated his books with his own sketches.
Dr. Sivaramamurti is the only other living Indian, who is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He has participated in seminars in USA and Europe. He has delivered important endowment lectures at many universities in India. Sri Sankara-charya of Kanchi conferred on him the title of Vichitrachitta. He was awarded the Padma Sri in 1968 and the Padma Bhushan in 1976.