This work reflects a multitude of paint layers in various shades of blues, browns, and ochres, and the limited palette brings to focus Souza’s mastery with linear and geometric configuration. Gone were the bucolic scenes he painted in India in the early 1940s, ushering in a new era of landscapes that captured the essence of his surroundings with complex and emotional sensitivity. With as much expression and emotion as his portraits, this architectonic horizon of buildings is painted tightly against each other in a staunchly cubist manner. Yet the sky is in constant flux and tension, elucidating Souza’s gestural application of paint to combat the sharp lines and abstraction. George Butcher writing in The Studio in November 1961 called him a ‘figurative action painter.’ (E. Mullins, Souza, Anthony Blond Ltd., London, 1962, p. 38) The moniker is very evident in this landscape which was painted that very same year.
The use of thick black outlines to separate the buildings also reveals the influence of the stained glass windows in the Roman Catholic churches of Goa as well as the influence of the churches that he visited in Europe during his travels. By incorporating the spiritual influences of his childhood within these tightly ordered compositions, Souza has created a body of work where religion and Modernity coexist. “In moving to Europe, he has never lost touch with the art that first inspired him. Souza is not an artist who changes his style every now and then as fashions come along: he is a painter who has developed an imagery which is strongly his own. […] The result is a synthesis of traditions and styles, and at the same time the evolution of an original talent which has stolen its greatest powers from no one.” (E. Mullins, Souza, Anthony Blond Ltd., London, 1962, p. 44-45) While a great number of painters veered towards complete abstraction, Souza was one of the few important Indian Modernists that unwaveringly maintained figuration in his works.
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