The career of Y. G. Srimati - classical singer, musician, dancer and painter - represents a continuum in which each of these skills and experiences merged, influencing and pollinating each other. Born in Mysore in 1926, Srimati was part of the generation much influenced by the rediscovery of a classical Sanskrit legacy devoted to the visual arts. Soon swept up in the nationalist movement for an independent India, she was deeply moved by the time she spent with Gandhi. For the young Srimati, the explicit referencing of the past and of religious subjects came together in an unparalleled way, driven by the explosive atmosphere of an India in the final push to independence. This experience gave form and meaning to her art, and largely defined her style. As John Guy demonstrates in this sumptuous volume, as a painter of the mid- and later 20th century, Y. G. Srimati embodied a traditionalist position, steadfast in her vision of an Indian style, one which resonated with those who knew India best.
John Guy is the Florence and Herbert Irving Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He previously served for 22 years as Senior Curator of Indian Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and has authored many major publications, including Arts of India: 1550-1900 (V&A 1990), Indian Art and Connoisseurship (1995, ed.), Vietnamese Ceramics: A Separate Tradition (1998), Woven Cargoes: Indian Textiles in the East (1998), Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India (MMA 2012), Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 (MMA 2013) and Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia (MMA 2014).