Jamil Naqsh: Painter of the Nude

Dr. Akbar Naqvi Sun – 18 April, 1976

I have already written on the nudes of Jamil Naqsh, which he now paints with a preference for realistic effects, a tendency which has emerged strongly in his latest Paco I and Paco II wherein the face of the nude has begun to loose its mask like appearance in favour of individual profile and expression. These effects are, however, achieved within the limits of the grammar of abstraction. The subtle tensions between contour, modelling and the surface texture, characteristic of his handling, suffers occasional uncertainty of touch, particularly when the figures display bad drawing. This is the case with the two Paco works.

Anyone who has seen Jamil Naqsh’s drawings knows that he can handle line beautifully, expressively, both in the academic as well as abstract manners. Why this strength is not translated into the figures of the works referred above could be seen and interpreted as a stage of uncertainty in which the merits of realism have not yet been fully resolved in the idiom of abstraction. The fact remains, however, that the pleasure we drive from his surfaces, the preciosity of his handling color as pigments of priceless value, the texture he alone can spin and weave in a manner that paint is seen to have acquired the properties of fiber, all these are unequalled. He makes his pigments achieve the same rich quiddity which our ancient oriental masters did, in the Middle East, Persia and Turkey, with precious metals and gems. The body of his nudes, thus, shares in this rich effect.







Texture As Form

Dr. Akbar Naqvi, Sun – 4 April, 1976

Speaking of the differences, Jamil Naqsh is far more careful and deliberate a painter. He has brought to oil paintings the rigour of attention, discipline of hand and eye which are required in the painting of miniatures in which he was trained. His works bring to the mind the care which a miniature painter has to take with details, each blade of grass, leaf and hair in place and accounted for, Jamil Naqsh’s own manner of placing each grain of his pigments as precious metal or gem in the same spirit. Then, there is the involvement with the nude and birds, a girl who wears the mask of anonymity for a face, but who assumes from picture to picture, the sensuousness mass and volume, achieved linearly, as well as in the body and tone of pigments. Made to pose hieratically in the regal poise of an Egyptian queen, stripped of her many clothes, but arrayed in the vestments of history and romance, she appears as a curious image of antiquity snatched from her granite grave.

Ali Imam, Ahmad Parvez, Ajmal Husain,Akbar Naqvi,Jamil Naqsh, 1968






Speaking of Art

Dr. Akbar Naqvi, Dawn, January 1977

I think Jamil Naqsh alone can explain the difference of creative experience between the skills of miniature and easel painting. He was trained in the first by Haji Shariff and now paints in oil. Occasionally, he also produces a few miniatures, I suspect, more in remembrance and for fun. His serious works are all in oil, and only last year he painted his magauh opus, a vast work in memory of Shakir Ali. Nothing is so apart as Jamil Naqsh’s miniatures and this work. He has proved that he can paint on a grand classical scale, using at the same time some of the virtues of his training.

When it comes to the handling of paint, he uses his pigments with the same care as a miniaturist handling his pen in putting down details. Each grain of the pigment, it seems is weighed and applied preciously. This is the secret of Jamil Naqsh’s rich texture. His training as a miniature painter has not been wholly lost but absorbed into the excellence of his easel paintings.