Nari-Kunjar, a Unique Genre of Art

Nari-Kunjar a remarkably unique art genre which started trending amongst the Indian artists, starting early 17th century was a result of the influence of an art-style from Persia. The main composition of the artform is a framework of a Kunjar, a Sanskrit word, which means, the Elephant, within the shell, figures of women, nari, are artistically intertwined and seated in a creative manner. The figures are generally dancers, musicians or just a jubilant group of women. The creativity of the artist lies in the acrobatic postures used for the figures, their adjustment within the composition and their voluptuous form.

Shown below is a Persian (Left) and an Indian painting (right) of Composite elephant. Its evident, how much the Indo-Islamic artform influenced the Indian artstyle. The difference is the Persian painting is a Pashu-Kunjar (composite elephant made of animals) and the Indian style is Nari-Kunjar (composite made of women).

Composite Elephant, Persian painting, 1600 (circa)

 

Victoria and Albert Museum, 1800 (circa)

 

The composition typically followed a set pattern of nine women dressed ostentatiously. Four of the figures formed the beasts’s legs. The plait of one of the woman played the role of the elephant’s tail. The figure which served as the trunk, took the most difficult acrobatic posture. The tusks were generally formed by a figure carrying two similar items like swords or fans, depending on the subject of the painting.  The deity riding the elephant mostly carried an ankusha (elephant goad). The remaining female figures formed the back and the belly, one of whom would typically be playing an instrument called mridanga (double-headed drum).

Shown below is a Nari-kunjar painting from Rajasthan School, Sitting astride the elephant is Krishna, the gopi’s intertwined bodies form legs, body, and tusks of the elephant. The composition depicts the spiritual union of the gopi’s with their lord.

19th Century , The British Museum

 

These charmingly unusual compositions were a metaphorical depiction of different theories and philosophies. Paintings from Rajasthan school were mostly creative manifestations of the devotion and love of the gopi’s for their Lord Krishna. Mughal paintings depicted the splendor and flamboyance of the royal courts. The series created in South India depicted God of love Kama with his flashy attendants serving as a kunjar (Elephant), symbolizing the passion and romance associated with him.

Shown below is a Mughal painting, it illustrates a kingly figure riding an elephant formed by dancers and musicians, he is shown to control the beast with an elephant goad, and a woman behind him holds a fan over him. The painting is a symbolic demonstration of the pomp and show of the royal court.

Early 17th century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

The Nari-kunjar shown below is delightfully intriguing and diverse from the rest, a cobra coiled around the legs of the dancer interestingly makes the trunk more comprehensive. Ducks are cleverly used by the artist to appear as shoes for the dancers serving as the legs of the elephant.

circa 1750, Sothebys collection

 

Lord Vishnu riding an elephant composed of female orchestra and acrobatic dancing girls.

1800 (circa), The British Museum

 

Manmatha or Kama Dev, the God of Love, mounted on an Elephant composed of nine women

1820 – 1825, Victoria and Albert Museum

 

Composite elephant made of beautiful Apsaras at a Vishnu temple in Tamil Nadu

 

A contemporary painting of Nari-Kunjar made by Baani Sekhon. Oil on canvas, Size- 30”x36” inches, 2017

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Art for Love

Artists have drawn inspiration from a variety of sources most common being the experience of love. Listed below are some of the most beautiful and expressive paintings made by Indian master artists in different styles and genre dedicated to love and relationships.

Sohni Mahiwal by Sobha Singh:
When we talk about star crossed lovers, Sohni Mehiwa’s romance is the first love legend that comes to our mind. One of the greatest Indian artists of twentieth century Sobha Singhs’ painting depicts the clandestine rendezvous of the tragic lovers. Mahiwal’s tenderly embraces Sohni drenched with water, seemingly tired after cross the river.

Sohni mahiwal

 

Ardhanarishvara in Tibetan Thangka Style:
Lord Shiva’s love for his consort Parvati is symbolized as Ardhanarishvara, the composition depicts his half-body being shared by his spouse. In Shiva Purana, Shiva preaches to Parvati that she resides with him, embracing her ‘limb-to-limb’, that’s how Ardhanarishvara is formed. Below is the popular Ardhanarishvara artwork painted in Tibetan Thangka style, it conveys the unity in the most beautiful manner. The posture bent in three parts (head, torso and right leg) adds grace and elegance. Intricacy of the artwork and the bright colors make the composition of the union of Siva and Shakti truly striking.

Ardhanarishvara

 

Radha Krishna series by Abdur Rahman Chughtai:
Abdur Chughtai is revered for his portrayal of legends, folklore and history of the Indo-Islamic world. His most recognizable artworks are the Radha Krishna series made in watercolours, the paintings showcases the couples tender and passionate love in the most animated and captivating manner. The artworks reflects the characteristics of his unique technique called Chughtai style- dreamy eyes, graceful figures with seductive nuances and saturated with passionate mood.

Radha Krishna

 

Mother Teresa Series by M. F. Hussain:
The cubist artist M. F. Hussain known as the “Picasso of India” made a memorable and touching series illustrating the love and compassion Mother Teresas had for the impoverished and the dying. The creativity and originality of the art works is remarkable, faceless figures with just the blue border of her attire were suggestive enough of her appearance. The composition successfully personifies motherhood, selfless love and limitless affection, creatively projected in an abstract form.

Mother Teresa

 

Shakuntala Dushyanta by Kalipada Ghoshal:
The artwork by Bengali master artist Kalipada Ghoshal depicts the tale of ‘love at first sight’ of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. In the artwork Dushyanta lovingly courts Shakuntala against a gentle backdrop, the intimate moment heightens the paintings theme of love and beauty. The dramatic love story of separation and union of this mythical couple from Mahabharat had a ‘happily ever after ending.

Dushmanta Shakuntala

 

Miniature paintings from Geeta Govinda:
Gita Govinda, a devotional song composed by Jayadeva (12th century poet), describes the divine love of Radha and Krishna. The poet elaborates on how both of them are vulnerable victims of an irrepressible passion. These fascinating miniature paintings made to represent this mini-epic beautifully illustrate the celestial couples’ spiritual love and blissful union.

Geetagovinda

 

Shah Jahan and Jahanara by Mohanlal Soni:
This emotion stirring painting of ailing Shah Jahan with his daughter Jahanara epitomizes the love between a father and his daughter. Jahanara willingly chose to join her father in imprisonment at the Agra Fort, where she devoted herself to his care until his death. The painting shows Shah Jahan gazing longingly at Taj Mahal in the background while a concerned Jahanara lovingly comforts him with warmth and compassion.

Jahan & Jahanara

 

Mother and Child series by Jamini Roy:
Jamini Roy, the most famous pupils of Abanindranath Tagore, is remembered today for the simplicity of his artworks, mainly capturing the life of the folk people. His most popular paintings have been the ‘Mother and Child’ series which followed his distinctive technique of bold outlines, flat colors and wide-eyed stylized figures. He effortlessly captured the essence of mothers love with a straightforward and simple approach.

Jamini Roy (1887-1972), Mother and Child, Tempera on Canvas, 35.7x73 cm, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

 

Meera Bai Pines for Her Krishna by Vasudeo Kamath:
This exquisite painting depicts Meera Bai the mystic poet, longing for Krishnas’ image. To accomplish that, she tries to replica his appearance by painting her face dark and complements it with a peacock feather to match his manifestation at best. Vasudeo Kamath manages to capture the spiritual bliss and ecstasy Meera Bai experiences on seeing her reflection.

B 9804

 

Urvashi Pururavas and Savitri Satyavan by Raja Ravi Varma:
These lesser known paintings of the celebrated Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma depict the epic love stories of two mythical couples- Urvashi Pururavas and Savitri Satyavan. The love story of the beautiful apsara Urvashi and Pururavas ends tragically after she bears him a child, the reason was a curse given by sage Bharat- “ the day your son and lover meet, you will have to return to heaven.” The painting shows Urvashi leaving a mournful Pururavas.

Savitri and Satyavan however had a ‘happily ever after’ ending, the artwork shows the scene when Lord Yama the god of Death, comes to claim the soul of Satyavan. Eventually, impressed by Savitri’s dedication and purity, Lord Yama grants life to Satyavan’s.

Raja Ravi Varma

The Outlaws – Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne

Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne were considered the outlaws in many respects, in the art world because of their revolutionary art styles and in the social order because of their reputation as hostile and antisocial characters. The founders of the new avant-garde art movement- post impressionism, they were the rebellions of their time. They rejected the conventional rules of painting and created their own unique style, much to the annoyance of the traditionalist. However their bad boys status is not limited to the art scenario, all three were well known for their eccentric and unapproachable nature.

 Interior of a forest by Paul Cézanne

Paul Cezanne’s art was much ahead of his time, even his contemporaries ‘The Impressionists’, known to be the  revolutionaries of their time couldn’t cope with his radical style. His ultramodern technique was by far too advanced for the impressionist to categories him as one of their own. Eventually Cézanne broke away from the group and cut all ties with his other fellow artists. He shifted to a secluded base in a suburb of Aix-en-Provence and started leading a very reclusive life in complete isolation.  As per his biographer Lawrence Hanson-“ He became violently anti-social that poisoned every relationship in his life. With every year his detestation of his fellow men seemed to grow and his efforts to appear even passably civil dwindled to next to nothing.”

 The card players by Paul Cézanne

 The Pool at the Jas de Bouffan by Paul Cézanne

 Still Life with Jar, Cup, and Apples by Paul Cézanne

 Still Life with a Ginger Jar and Eggplants by Paul Cézanne

Vincent van Gogh like his artworks was volatile and unpredictable. His erratic brush strokes and intensely dazzling palette altered the face of art forever. His offbeat masterpieces have been an inspiration for future art movements like Cubism and Fauvism. Van Gogh became the poster child for the classic eccentric and unfriendly artist. His mood swings, alcoholism and mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder made him an outcast in the society. The artist himself confessed to his brother Theo that he felt like a misfit even amongst his own artist friends. After the infamous incident, when he cut his ear lobe with a razor, the locals in Arles signed a petition stating that van Gogh was dangerous and unreliable. Thereafter he confined himself within the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum and painted within the hospitals property.

 Garden at Arles by Vincent van Gogh

Wheatfield with crows by Vincent van Gogh

Roses by Vincent van Gogh

Poplars near Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh

 Poppy field by Vincent van Gogh

Paul Gauguin became an outsider by choice, he abandoned his wife and five children and escaped to a small primitive island- Tahiti. Though it was an idealistic life for a lone artist but shifting away from civilization and selfishly running away from family responsibilities would qualify him as an oddball even in current times. Financial difficulties and his need to look for compositions and subjects unadulterated by the artificial western culture led him to visit Tahiti. Enamored by the exotic location and simplicity of the natives, he eventually decided to make the island his permanent home. His bright colored Tahiti paintings captured the innocence and ethnicity of the locals superbly. The usage of experimental colors and abstract shapes of the indigenous subjects in his tropical paradise-like masterpieces was fresh and original. Unfortunately, these new and untried techniques could not be comprehended and accepted by the art community of his time.

Three Tahitians by Paul Gauguin

Two Tahitians by Paul Gauguin

The Siesta by Paul Gauguin

Self Portrait by Paul Gauguin

Being ‘the outlaws’ wasn’t the only thing they had in common, the trio made groundbreaking progress in the art world which laid down the foundation for the modern art. Unlike other contemporary artists of their time, who composed what they saw in real life and copied it on their canvases, Gauguin along with Vincent and Cezanne were first of their kind who made from their imagination. Great artists like Picasso and Matisse were greatly influenced by these outlaws.

 

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Why shouldn’t art be pretty? – Renoir

Even though Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the initiators of impressionism his painting’s themes were different from the rest. The Impressionists (Monet, Degas, Sisley, Manet, and Pissaro) made paintings- ‘en plein air’ (outdoors), he preferred making figure’s over landscapes, particularly of women. All his paintings had pleasing themes, subjects with joyful expressions and beautiful rosy faces. He once quoted- Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.

Dance at le Moulin de la Galette (shown above) is one of his most popular masterpieces. One of his recurring themes was to illustrate the celebratory nature of the Parisians. The artwork shows, couples dancing in the open-air dance hall and café on a Sunday afternoon. The joyful mood and carefree ambiance fashioned by Renoir reflects the typical life style of the Moulin society. His hallmark technique of short and quick brush strokes makes the subjects look animated and vibrant. Renoir figures had soft contours, mildly blending with each other which made them look blurred, adding a dreamy feel to the painting.

The entire canvas is covered with spots of light and shadow, suggesting bright sunlight filtering through the trees. This adds a gleaming summery experience to the scenario. On the whole, he managed to capture the vivacious spirit of the Parisian’s very skillfully.

Another favorite theme of the artist was portraying people engaged in their daily life in informal situations. ‘Girls at piano’ and ‘In the Meadow’ (shown below) are two such artworks that captured relaxed and casual real life scenarios. The former, depicts young girls enjoying their favorite pastime of playing the piano, which was typical of that time. Models for both the paintings are same, the second painting –‘In the Meadow’ shows an intimate view of two young girl’s leisurely picking flowers.

One of Renoir’s most delightful, life size compositions of contemporary life is- ‘Country Dance’ (shown below), it shows a young couple dancing in an open-air restaurant. Numerous elements of the artwork indicate that it’s a spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment dance. The unfinished meal in the background, the fallen hat and the seated crowd on the left, are the visual evidence. The supple brushstrokes and superbly crafted pose adds grace to dance movement.

Renoir focuses on the pleasure of the couple, their closeness and lady’s gleeful expressions are the highlight of the painting. The young woman, totally absorbed in the moment, cheerfully smiles at the viewers involving them in her experience.

In his lifetime Renoir painted around 6000 paintings, he was also well-known for his still life’s of fruits and flowers. Even though he wasn’t an outdoor artist, his experimental landscapes were no less picturesque than the other impressionist artists. Shown below are some of his other popular artworks:-

Woman with a Parasol in a garden

Rocky Crags at L Estaque

La Grenouillere

Pont Neuf- Paris

In the Woods

Bouquet in a Vase and Bouquet of Chrysanthemums

Mixed Flowers in an Earthenware and Still Life with Bouquet

Peaches and Grapes

How to select art for your interiors

In practice, there are two ways of going about it, if you believe in “art for art’s sake” then decorate the interiors and select the art piece. On the other hand if you feel strongly about art, then select the artwork and plan the decor around it. However, irrespective of the path you follow out of the two, ultimately the decor and art should support each other for a visual appeal.

Style and subject of the artwork:-
The first step is to get a sense of the art that appeals the most to you, figure out what expresses your persona. However, in that process don’t get attached to one particular style. Be open to exploring different genre’s since each room has a character that needs similar kind of artwork on the other hand mixing styles in the same space is not against the rule though it is a little tricky.

Roy Lichtenstein

‘Damselle’ by Pop Art artist Roy Lichtenstein adds glamour to a multi-hued modern interior – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

van gogh peach tree

Vincent van Gogh’s Painting ‘The pink peach tree’ infuses creativity to the space – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

still life

Vincent van Gogh’s & Camille Pissarro’s Still life Painting’s act as color blocks complementing the prints & patterns of the interior – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

Size and shape of the artwork:-
Shape of the wall should reflect on your artwork, on a horizontally long wall have a landscape size artwork or bunch of small artworks displayed in an interesting horizontal arrangement on the wall. On a slender vertically long space, hang a panel or a portrait size piece. This would highlight the height or width of the wall.

marilyn

Marilyn Monroe Portrait’s by artist Andy Warhol’s grouped in an atypical manner gives an interesting result- CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

van gogh wheat fields

Vincent van Gogh’s Painting ‘Wheatfield with crows’. The landscape makes the width of the wall look more imposing – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

vertically long

‘Woman in bath’ and ‘Girl with Ball’ by Roy Lichtenstein makes the wall look tall and grand – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

The art work should be of the right size if the piece is too large for the wall it can get overwhelming, a large canvas shouldn’t cross three fourth width of the couch below it. On the other hand, if an artwork is too small it will lose its charisma, it should be at least half the width of the sofa below it.
For the painting to be at an average eye level, the center of the piece should be approximately 57 inches away from the floor.

van gogh boats

Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘Fishing boats at Sainte Marie’ is three fourth of the sofa below it- CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

Contrast or harmony of the colors:-
You can either create a stark contrast or synchronize the colors of the artwork with your interiors. If you decide to follow a particular color scheme then at least one or two of the most outstanding colors in the room should be prevalent in your artwork. Don’t go overboard with the matching, the colors need not be of the exact shade or tone, it’s good enough if they are from the same family.

white

The tones in Edgar Degas’s painting – ‘Ballet Rehearsal on Stage’ establish a visual link with the interiors- CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

pissaro

Alfred Sisley’s painting ‘Rest along the Stream’ synchronizes well with the tone of the space – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

Frame- Three things to consider before selecting a frame for an artwork- the frame shouldn’t dominate the painting, it should form a link between the piece and the interior decor, it should complement the style of the art?

The artwork is the star of the show and a good frame never over shadows the artwork or steals its spotlight.  It serves as an enclosure that enhances the painting and drives the viewers focus to it.

Egon S

Egon Schiele’s modern artwork ‘Crescent of Houses’ looks impactful with a basic and sleek natural wood frame – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

degas dancers

The ornamental frame on Edgar Degas’s painting- ‘Dancers’. mirrors the paintings’ classical style – CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

Lighting:-
Correct lighting intensifies the visual impact of the artwork, brings out the subtle details and the fine gradation in colors. Use track or directional spot lighting for recessed ceiling fixtures to highlight your artwork. However, best would be individual picture lights, to illuminate your piece.

spot lights

John F Weir’s still life ‘Roses’ and Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘The harvest’, light up with individual picture lights on them.- CLICK TO BUY OUR CANVAS PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

 

Image’s source- rooang.com, decoist.com, canevillecrafts.in, gaiff.com, revitcity.com, custommodernlighting.com, interiorpik.com, cr3at.com (some of the images have been edited)

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Krishna- a perfect muse

Lord Krishna true to his name meaning- “he who attracts everyone” has been the ultimate source of inspiration for the creative art for centuries- Fashion, Paintings, Movies, Classical dance, Creative writing and more…  He’s arguably the most influential Indian mythological figure, no other character so far has been captured artistically in so many ways and means.

Radha imitates Krishna

For queries regarding the artwork shown above, kindly mail at- admin@ocherart.com

 

For queries regarding the artwork shown above, kindly mail at- admin@ocherart.com

The reason for this fixation for the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu is that His persona and teachings relate very well to the everyday aspects of human life. He has never been depicted as an unrealistically perfect and flawless figure, His character has multiple fascinating layers making it easier for a regular person to relate to. He was a butter-thief, an impish flirt, political genius, sharp strategist, an ideal friend and a doting son. Krishna, the supreme avatar is a great embodiment of numerous personas.

228_1362839002-op

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Manoj Das,acrylic on canvas,LILAA-II,24''x48''.2013,Rs-42,000.

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His distinctive, one of a kind, physical appearance also adds to the fascination of the artist’s, making Him the favorite subject for arts of all kinds. As per the vedic scriptures each element of his bedecked physical form has a deeper meaning, mentioning a few- dark blue complexion depicts infinite sky, yellow attire represents the earth matter, flute symbolizes an individual with a hollow ego and so on. These profound manifestations have made him a powerful and inspiring muse.

01

For queries regarding the artwork shown above, kindly mail at- admin@ocherart.com

 

For queries regarding the artworks shown above, kindly mail at- admin@ocherart.com

Are Grief and Suffering a prerequisite for Good Art?

The society in general has a stereotypical image of a tortured artist, who is inspired by the grief and sufferings of his life which further intensifies his creativity, leading him to create artworks that are marked as masterpieces. We have fine examples to prove this- Paul Gauguin made his finest piece after the death of his beloved daughter, Frida Kahlo’s paintings depicted her severe physical pain, Picassos’ ‘Blue Period’ paintings were made while he mourned the death of his closest friend and the list goes on. However it’s not fair to declare that pain and suffering are a precondition that one needs to experience in order to be a good artist.

where-do-we-come-from-what-are-we

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?- made by Gauguin in his most depressed moment. “I believe that this canvas surpasses all my previous work”- as quoted by the artist. Credits: gauguin.org

2 paintins

(Left) Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with thorns around her neck. The artist depicts the physical pain she had all her life due to a childhood accident. Credits: http://www.fridakahlo.org (Right) The Guitarist was painted just after the death of Picasso’s closest friend. During this time, the artist painted many canvases depicting the miseries of the downtrodden. Credits: pablopicasso.org

In essence, artists are more sensitive than the average person, elements of passionate experience of any sort is what deeply touches and stirs their artistic soul. However inspiration can be derived from not just a heartbreaking experience, blissful happiness and love could also be a strong reason for the same. Take Dali for example, it was the love for his wife and muse Gala that inspired him to make extraordinary masterpieces. In fact her death gradually killed the artist in him, unfortunately like many others he couldn’t use art to vent out his depression. M. F. Husain’s immense fascination for Madhuri reawakened the filmmaker in him. Monet’s passion for botany and landscaping led him to produce numerous unique artworks, made in his garden at Givery.

Galaofspheres

A exceptional portrait made by Dali of his muse and wife Gala. She was the most influential figure in his life. His love for her is evident in most of his artworks. Photo credits: dali.com

gaja-gamini

M. F. Husain’s immense fascination for Madhuri reawakened the filmmaker in him. “Madhuri is a classical beauty and still fascinates me” – as quoted by the late master. Photo credits: artsoftheearthindia.in

We all have our own individual way of dealing with emotionally difficult situations, artists’ use their art as a coping mechanism. Whether their feelings are generated from tough times or happy moments, they chose to channel them out by objectifying their experience with complete sincerity. The honesty of this visual expression is what makes their artworks special.

In my experience as an artist and a curator, artists’ are most contented while painting, its an evolution process for their soul. Ultimately what matters is that an artist is in a happier place while creating an artwork, what has lead to the making of it, heartache or joyfulness is not as important. Potpourri of sensitivity, musing and observation is the right recipe for good art, experiencing pain and misery is no criteria for making a masterpiece.

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How Great Artists’ Decreasing Vision Increased their Artistic Vision

Even if we categorize great masters under different movements and era’s, each artist regardless of that has a style that is distinct from the rest. For instance, Monet and Degas were from the same movement- ‘Impressionism’, yet their methods and techniques were poles apart. This individualistic style is what we call an ‘artists vision’, seeing the world through the eyes of the master. However as these artists ocular vision decreased, surprisingly their artistic vision increased. With age, most of them struggling with  vision disorder causing eye power deterioration and so their art style’s also changed, unpredictably that lead to the creation of some of the most innovative and discrete artworks.

portraits2

Degas, Monet and Renoir were amongt many other great masters who had eye disorder, as their ocular vision decreased their artistic vision increased.

Monet had nuclear cataract, this caused blurred vision and loss of color sensitivity. The world for him now appeared foggier and yellow hued. His color palette shifted from bright blues and greens to subdued yellows, purples and reds. Some of the most distinguished Water lily paintings were created during this phase, the artworks had a unique neutral and muddy appeal. His blurred vision however added an interesting abstractness to his artworks.

Monet - The Water Lily Pond

‘The Water lily pond’ by Claude Monet. His paintings developed a muddy appeal after he contracted Cataract. CLICK TO BUY PRINTS OF IMPRESSIONIST ARTISTS ON AMAZON.in

Degas was another impressionist artist who was tormented by vision problem, he had eye retinal disease called ‘Retinopathy’. Unlike Monet who changed his color palette, Degas switched his media, in place of oil colors he started using pastels. The use of pastels added a dreamlike surreal feel to his ballerina paintings. Increasingly, his artworks developed an enigmatic unfinished look. This abrupt and fragmented feel added a very defining character to his paintings.

Degas - Dancers-

‘Dancers’ by Edgar Degas. Due to his eye disorder he switched his media, in place of oil colors he started using pastels. CLICK TO BUY PRINTS OF IMPRESSIONIST ARTISTS ON AMAZON.in

Van Gogh the most celebrated post impressionist artist’s artworks had two distinct characteristics- rich yellow and bright halos. The yellow dominance in his paintings during his ‘Yellow period’ can be attributed to the intake of ‘Digitalis’, a drug given to him for treating his epilepsy. It caused Van Gogh to develop a ‘yellow vision’, which further lead him to use the color in the most intense and ground-breaking manner. Van Gogh also suffered from lead poisoning (caused due to the toxic lead-based paints used by him), which contributed to the circular swirls in his paintings, as lead- poisoned patients often see halos around lights due to swelled retinas.

Van Gogh - The harvest

‘The Harvest’ by Vincent van Gogh. The yellow dominance in his paintings was due to the intake of ‘Digitalis’, a drug responsible for his ‘yellow vision’. CLICK TO BUY PRINTS OF IMPRESSIONIST ARTISTS ON AMAZON.in

Pissarro known as the tearful impressionist artist had a malfunctioning tear duct because of which he couldn’t paint outdoors. His eyes were to be shielded from wind and dust to avoid severe inflammation and swelling. However that didn’t stop him from painting landscapes, he painted indoors seated behind a glass window. Some of the finest Paris cityscape’s and still life were created by him from indoors.

Pissarro - Still Life

‘Still life’ by Camille Pissarro. Some of the finest still life were created by him from indoors. CLICK TO BUY PRINTS OF IMPRESSIONIST ARTISTS ON AMAZON.in

Cezanne and Renoir were myopic and coincidentally both the artists refused to wear glasses. They utilized the blurriness caused due to their shortsightedness to their advantage. Renoir used soft and gentle brush strokes while Cezanne added ambiguity and abstraction to his artworks with great dexterity.

Cezanne - RE

Still life’s by Cezanne and Renoir. They utilized the blurriness caused due to their shortsightedness to their advantage. CLICK TO BUY PRINTS OF IMPRESSIONIST ARTISTS ON AMAZON.in

Matisse, Rembrandt, Rodin and Cassatt are few among other noted masters who have been identified with eye disorder. In spite of the challenges they faced due to the diseases they didn’t give up painting instead their creativity touched new heights and they produced some of the finest masterpieces.

 

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Happy Birthday, Gustav Klimt

Unlike most of the twentieth century artists, Gustav Klimt was far ahead of his time. Such is the supremacy of his experimental art that it’s difficult to pin his liberated style to any particular trend. Perhaps that’s the reason why art historians also haven’t fastened him to a single movement. His work is considered to be from Symbolism, Art Nouveau and early Art & Craft movement.

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862–Feb 6, 1918) His signature style was scandals with a long robe

Even though mixing different art styles on one canvas is a thrilling challenge for an artist but it is not typically what even the most experimental artist in today’s time would do. However Klimt accomplished this effortlessly, he made simple decorative patterns clubbed with semi- realistic figures look like a unique mishmash of traditional and modern art.

Klimt - Rose bushes under the Trees opt

Klimt’s best known landscape— Rose bushes under the trees, CLICK TO BUY KLIMT’s PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

Klimt --- The Kiss opt

One of Klimt’s most distinguished artwork——– The Kiss, 1908, CLICK TO BUY KLIMT’s PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

Exploring Klimt’s most celebrated artwork-‘The Kiss’ (original shown above), we realize how smoothly he mixed Symbolism and Art Nouveau. The painting shows an entwined couple symbolizing love. Intriguingly the masculine geometric shapes on the man’s gown merge very gradually in to the lady’s flowery delicate pattern symbolizing the couple’s passionate union as one. Their highly ornate garments and decorative patterns are clear characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement. Further adding to this blissful union is the surreal dreamlike setting around the couple, they seem to have been transported to a different trancelike plane against a shimmering gold plated background. Klimt being a talented draftsman pioneered gold leafing, many of his paintings were gold and silver plated, some even had precious stones.

His most famous painting being ‘The Kiss’ is widely considered to be ‘Mona Lisa’ of the early twentieth century. Inspired by ‘Klimt signature style’ many contemporary artists have paid homage to this iconic artwork.

Reproduced by Artist Dani Fonseca Photographed by Burke Heffner

Reproduced by Artist Dani Fonseca, Photographed by Burke Heffner

Harper’s Bazaar, February 200, Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

Harper’s Bazaar, February 2002, Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

 Happy Birthday, Gustav Klimt!