Hemendranath Mazumdar is best known for his classical oil paintings. Preferring to work in the European academic style over the nationalism championed by the evolving Bengal School, his work followed in the tradition of Raja Ravi Varma and explored a comparable range of themes centering mainly on idealizing, sensual studies of the female form.
In the early 1920s, reproductions of the artist's work were published in various Bengali journals and periodicals, and he was widely acclaimed by the intelligentsia and art connoisseurs alike. A close associate of Abanindranath Tagore, Mazumdar was never won over by the 'Indianizing' tenets of the Bengal School. In a 1929 issue of the Illustrated Journal of Fine Arts, Mazumdar wrote an article titled 'The Making of a Picture' in which the artist defined his working processes as typical of the prevailing academic technique favored by the British: first producing preparatory sketches, then more detailed pencil and wash studies prior to the final, finely structured painting. By 1931, Mazumdar had been invited by the Maharaja of Kashmir to work as his official 'Court Painter', and in 1947, following India's Independence, the artist painted a mural for the All India Exhibition depicting scenes of his youth in Bengal.
Untitled (Manas Kamal) is a beguiling image that poetically straddles the terrestrial and the ethereal. Mazumdar masterfully portrays her as both goddess and mortal woman, standing by a lily pond shimmering in the light of a sinking moon. The alluring central female figure, her body arranged in a gracefully gentle tribhanga (tri-axial or three-bends), draws the viewer into the sensual landscape of the painting. The artist uses his expertise to skilfully depict texture and depth, often posing his models in a formal compositional setting that evokes the timelessness of classical sculpture. Mazumdar is known to have painted this particular work at least twice, as attested by the 'R-2' inscribed after his signature.