Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore used art as a bridge to connect the individual with the world at large, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday adding that the government has set up a panel to "rekindle public interest in Gurudev's rich cultural legacy".
The prime minister inaugurated an exhibition of Tagore's art, titled "The Master Strokes: Art of Rabindranath Tagore" at the National Gallery of Modern Art in the capital, to mark the beginning of the bard's 150th birth anniversary celebrations.
"Tagore, through his own efforts, had developed a highly imaginative and spontaneous visual vocabulary that displayed a superb sense of rhythm and vitality," Manmohan Singh said inaugurating the exhibition.
"For Tagore, art was the bridge that connected the individual with the world at large."
The exhibition showcases 70 doodles and paintings from NGMA's collection of 100 of the Nobel Laureate's art works executed in the last 17 years of his life.
"The government has set up a national committee with several senior union ministers, state chief ministers and many eminent scholars, experts and others, to suggest, formulate and plan a number of events that will rekindle public interest in Gurudev's rich cultural legacy and in his thoughts, ideals, teachings and values," the prime minister said.
The implementation committee, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, will ensure that the commemoration "is a really befitting tribute to this great son of India that Rabindranath Tagore was".
Addressing the gathering, he said that while people knew of Tagore's genius as a poet, dramatist, philosopher, educationist and composer, his genius as a painter was less known, "perhaps because he began painting when he was well into his 60s".
"I am happy that the NGMA is commencing our national celebrations by showcasing some of these precious contributions of this versatile genius to the world of Indian art," he said.
"Gurudev hardly had any formal training in art and yet through his own efforts, he developed a highly imaginative and spontaneous visual vocabulary," he said.
"What began as a poet subconsciously joining his erasures, over-writings, corrections and doodles, gradually materialized into a unique form of art. Rabindranath came to enjoy his efforts and found painting to be yet another expressive medium for his restless, creative mind," Singh said.
"In the last 17 years of his life, Tagore made more than 3000 paintings and drawings," he said.
"I am happy that Visva-Bharati is coming out with a publication of a prestigious set of Tagore's paintings and drawings, called the Chitra-vali, with assistance and support from our Ministry of Culture. I am also told that the Visva-Bharati, the ministry of culture and the NGMA are working together on a grand exhibition of Tagore's paintings in Paris next year.
The exhibition would be on view till June 6.