L.T.P. Manjusri Thero (1902 – 1982)

‘The maverick of the 43 Group’

An aimless village lad, who through singleminded tenacity of purpose, determination and hard work in the chosen career, achieved the rare recongition of being one of the most significant artists of modern Sri Lanka (Dharmasiri, 2001-9).

The epitom in his journey as an artist was when he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award and an Honorary Doctarate from the University of Peradeniya in 1979.

Born in 1902, Manjusri entered the Buddhist monastic order in 1915, and by 1922 earned reputation as a scholar in Sinhala, Pali Sanskrit and Buddhist Philosophy. He thereafter went to Tibet to learn Chinese. He visited Shantinekatan on his return jounrey where he met Nandalal
Bose who introduced him to painting.

Back in Sri Lanka in 1934, Manjusri started making copies of Buddhist temple murals. These murals were then taken back to Shantiniketan and exhibited together with some work of Rabindranath Tagore. During this time he met Harry Pieris and George Keyt who infulenced him to join the 43 Group (which he was to leave in 1947). Soon afterwards,he travelled to England and held an exhibition in 1948 in London of mural copies and other paintings of his own. He also held exhibtions in Vienna, Austria the same year.

On his return to Sri Lanka he reverted to lay life and became a journalist first in ‘Lankadeepa’ and then ‘Silumina’, ‘Janata’, ‘Observer’ and ‘Daily News’. In 1977, the Archiological Society of Sri Lanka published his book ‘Decorative Elements from Sri Lanka Temple Paintings’.

It is important to note the Manjusri’s work has been acquired by the New York Public Library, the Horniman Museum, the Vienna Museum and numerour private collections.

Refrences: Weeraratne (1993) and Dharmasiri (2001-9)

Name of Exhibition Year Place
Joint Exhibition with Rabindranath Tagore 1930's Santiniketan
’43 Group 2nd Exhibition 1944 Darley Road, Colombo
100 Frescoes and 30 Originals by Manjustri Thero 1947 Art Gallery, Colombo
Frescoes from Ceylon Temples and Original Paintings by Manjusri Thero 1948 South Kensington, London
Ceylon: A Painter’s Country: An Exhbition Illustrating the Practice of Painting in Ceylon from the 5th Century to the Present Day 1960 South London Gallery, Camberwell, London
43 Group exhibition to honor George Keyt 1991 Colombo
Exhibition of the ’43 Group and Other Artists by The Taprobane Collection 2017 Nelum Arts Centre, Colombo
Name of Book Year of Publication Author Printer
Design Elements from Sri Lankan Temple Paintings 1977 L.T.P. Manjusri Lake House Printers Ltd.

Other Publicaitons the Artist has been mentioned in

Name of Book Year of Publication Author Printer
Art in Sri Lanka – The Anton Wickramasinghe Collection 1988 Albert Dharmasiri ANCL – Lake House
Modern Sri Lankan Painters 1992 George Keyt Foundation Siri Printers
43 Group 1993 Neville Weereratne Lantana Publishing
Moods and Modes – 50 years of Sri Lankan Painting 1999 The Goearge Keyt Foundation Text by: Martin Russel, Nihal Rodrigo, Ellen Dissanayake, S.B. Dissanayake Aitken Spence Printing
Visions of an Island – Rare works from Sri Lanka in The Christopher Ondaatje Collection 1999 Neville Weereratne Harper Collins Publishers Ltd
The Presidential Collection – Contemporary Sri Lankan Art 2008 Presidential Secretariat Presidential Secretariat
Sri Lankan Painting in the 20th Century 2009 Senake Bandaranayake and Albert Dharmasiri The Nationl Trust Sri Lanka
Artful Resistance – Contemporary Art from Sri Lanka 2010 Sylvia S. Kasprycki and Doris I Stambra SKF Publishers
The Heritage I, II, III - Albert Dharmasiri R. Rajamahendran

Ref :M 12

Title :Sun Set

Signed :Lower Right

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :15.5 x 21

Ref :M 103

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1942

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :30.5 x 25

Ref :M 42

Title :The Nativity

Signed :Lower Left & Right

Year :1944

Dimensions in Cms. :21 x 27

Ref :M 75

Title :Justin Daraniyagala

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1944

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :55 x 45

Ref :M 3

Title :The Couple

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1945

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :28.5 x 36

Ref :M 9

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1945

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :28.5 x 36

Ref :M 58

Title :Sigiriya

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1945

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :28.5 x 20.5

Ref :M 65

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1945

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :38 x 35.5

Ref :M 101

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1947

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :35 x 17

Ref :M 7

Title :The Lion

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1947

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :23.5 x 33.5

Ref :M 80

Title :Untitled

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1947

Material Used :Pastel on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :25 x 16

Ref :M 82

Title :Ladies Fingers

Year :1947

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :25.5 x 17.5

Ref :M 92

Title :Arabia

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1947

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :25.5 x 17.5

Ref :M 116

Title :A Poetic Composition(The Shark)

Signed :Upper Left

Year :1949

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :25.5 x 17.5

Ref :M 114

Title :The Embrace

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1947

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :25.5 x 17.5

Ref :M 19

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1950

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :44 x 32

Ref :M 163

Title :Temple Fresco

Signed :Lower Left

Year :1970's

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :55.5 x 76

Ref :M 2

Title :Mermaid

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1972

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :73 x 59

Ref :M 16

Title :Union

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1972

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :74 x 56

Ref :M 39

Title :Temple of Konerak

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1972

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :73.5 x 56

Ref :M 8

Title :The Horse

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1973

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :36.5 x 31

Ref :M 160

Title :Friends

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1974

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :33.5 x 24

Ref :M 11

Title :Two Monks

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1975

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :36.5 x 30

Ref :M 46

Title :The Eye

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1975

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :37.5 x 31.5

Ref :M 67

Title :Lovers with Serpent

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1975

Material Used :Ink on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :34.5 x 23

Ref :M 93

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1975

Material Used :Ink on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :31.5 x 23

Ref :M 96

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1975

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :32 x 22

Ref :M 102

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1975

Material Used :Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :33.5 x 23.5

Ref :M 126

Title :Lotus Buds

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1975

Material Used :Ink & Pencil on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :34.5 x 25

Ref :M 6

Title :Japanese Lady

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1976

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :43.5 x 36

Ref :M 14

Title :Wild Flower

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1976

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :34.5 x 25

Ref :M 30

Title :The Bathers

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1977

Material Used :Oil on Board

Dimensions in Cms. :24.5 x 35

Ref :M 33

Title :Blue Mountain Goat

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1977

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :37 x 26

Ref :M 47

Title :The Lady

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1977

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :44 x 37

Ref :M 38

Title :The Beauty & the Beast

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1979

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :44 x 36

Ref :M 44

Title :The Monk

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1979

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :78 x 56

Ref :M 48

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1980

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :48 x 51.5

Ref :M 76

Title :Untitled

Signed :Lower Right

Year :1981

Material Used :Water Colour on Paper

Dimensions in Cms. :63 x 48

Year Institute Qualification