Portrait of Rabindranath Tagore, drawing by Sir William Rothenstein

British artist Sir William Rothenstein drew a series of portraits of Tagore during a trip to India in 1912 when he visited the Tagore family home, Jorasanko, in Calcutta (now called Kolkata).

Tagore travelled widely in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. While in London he met a number of important literary figures through Rothenstein, including poets W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound. But despite being an established international figure, he had a deep and binding affection for his Bengal homeland.

He was a supporter of the independence movement in India and a close friend of Gandhi, whom he was the first person to call Mahatma or 'great soul'. Like Gandhi Tagore rejected violence although he avoided politics and disagreed with some of his policies such as non-conformism.

Tagore was, and is, a hugely influential figure across South Asia, yet his appeal was universal and as a cultural figure he bridged the gap between South Asia and the West.

In 1913 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his collection of poetry, Gitanjali ('Offering of Songs').