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George Keyt (1901-1993)

Profile | Summary | Artwork

George Percival Sproule KeytMBE (17 April 1901 – 31 July 1993) was a Sri Lankan painter. He is often considered Sri Lanka's most distinguished modern painter. Keyt's dominant style is influenced by cubism. He also claimed to be influenced by his contemporary Henri Matisse and the ancient Buddhist art and sculpture of Nagarjunakonda, Sanchi and Gandhara. The Jataka tales formed a recurring theme in many of his works.

In addition to being a painter, Keyt was a poet. He outlined his perceptions and practice as a painter in a few essays on the vision of the painter. One of his most notable literary works is his translation of the Gita Govinda into English (Bombay, 1940) and Sinhalese. These translations were illustrated by his own line drawings (see Martin Russell collection and Amerasinghe-Ganendra collections).