Orientalism- a unique genre of Art

The Harem Dance by Giulio Rosati

‘Orientalist Paintings’ is a genre started by the western artists in late 18th century illustrating the culture and ethnicity of Middle East, North Africa, and West Asia. After Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, significant amount of interest got stimulated in Europe regarding the Eastern culture. Many artists (mostly French) traveled extensively to study the lifestyles of the locals, the artworks created by these master’s pleased the western audiences’ growing curiosity of the oriental lifestyle. The remarkable and realistic paintings of Caravans, Carpet vendors, Veiled women, Bazaars, and Erotic Harems further added more charm to the mystical image of the East. Listed below are some of the most noteworthy Orientalist artists-

Jean-Léon Gérôme, known as one of the best historical artist, his visit to Egypt in 1856 triggered his interest in the oriental culture. More than two-thirds of his collection of paintings illustrates orientalist subjects. His best-known realistic works include:

Cafe House (Turkish soldiers, casting Bullets)

The Carpet Merchant

 

 

John Frederick Lewis– His authentic paintings were the source of inspiration for other Orientalist painters in France. Lewis spent several years in Cairo and produced exquisitely detailed artworks depicting Egyptian culture, architecture, furnishings, screens and costumes.

Encampment in the Desert

 

On the Banks of the Nile

 

 

Eugène Delacroix- In 1832, Delacroix traveled to North Africa, as a diplomat after France occupied Algeria. His contribution to Orientalism is immense, over 100 paintings were created by him based on North African ethnicity.

Arabs Traveling 

Eugène Delacroix’s Orietalist paintings continued to further influence future master artists of twentieth century like Renoir, Matisse, Paul Klee, Kandinsky and Oskar Kokoschka. Shown below is Renoirs painting ‘The Harem’ (Right) as homage to Eugène Delacroix’s ‘Women of Algiers in their Apartment’ (Left).

Renoir_Eugene Delacroix

 

Giulio Rosati was one of the most recognized Italian artist of 19th Century, his expertise were not just limited to the art domain but also the cultural studies of Orientalism. His remarkably realistic artworks made considerable amount of contribution to the Orientalist art collection.

The Rug Merchant

Giulio Rosati The Rug Merchant

The Arab Riders

Giulio Rosati_The Arab Riders
Frederick Arthur Bridgman:– Enamored by the Eastern culture, Bridgman made frequent trips to North Africa starting 1872, he gathered a huge collection of costumes, architectural pieces, traditional accessories and illustrated 300+ sketches as reference materials for his noteworthy artworks.

An Interesting Game of Chess

An Interesting Game

 

At the Waters Edge

Frederick Arthur Bridgman AT THE WATER'S EDGE 24x37

 

 

Rudolf Ernst:- In France, Ernst was known for his creative tin-glazed pottery with Orientalist theme. His fondness for tiles and pottery strongly reflects on his artworks, they are best known for the detailed interiors and traditional motifs.

The Perfume Makers

RUDOLF ERNST the perfume makers 22x18

 

Moroccan Potter by Jean Discart

Moroccan potter

 

Rest in the Syrian Desert by Eugen Bracht

Eugen Bracht REST IN THE SYRIAN DESERT 25x49

 

A Caravan at Rest by Charles Theodore Frere

A Caravan at Rest, The Temple of Karnak, Thebes in the distance

 

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Frida Kahlo and Amrita Shergil- Two Peas in a Pod

The most accomplished women artists of 20th century, Frida Kahlo and Amrita Sher-Gil lived far apart in opposite sides of the word however despite their contrasting culture and background there is a never ending list of similarities in not just their ground breaking achievements and passion for art but also in other arenas. They were bold and free-spirited, avant-garde women with radical views, much ahead of their time.

Amrita Sher-Gil_Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo and Amrita Sher-Gil (Photo by Nickolas Muray)

 

Fondness for Self-Portraits
In her life-time Frida Kahlo created 140 paintings, out of which 55 are self-portraits. Due to a tragic childhood accident, Frida suffered bouts of acute pain for the rest of her life. The experience of excruciating physical pain and emotional turmoil due to her tumultuous personal life is characteristically represented by her in her self-portraits.

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone… because I am the subject I know best. “– Frida Kahlo

Self Portrait Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s Self Portraits

Amrita Sher Gil on the other hand was known to be a narcissist, she depicted herself in different avatars with regal poses and atypical moods.

Self Portrait Amrita Sher-Gil

Amrita Sher-Gil’s Self Portraits

 

Fashionista’s
Not only did the two artists start new art-styles and techniques but they were also responsible for setting new fashion trends. Frida Kahlo mostly wore traditional Mexican attire, long colorful embroidered dresses with heavy exotic jewelry. She wore bright make-up, vivid colored flowers in her braided hair and boots (mostly bright red or pink) with accessories like bells and tassels on them.

Frida Kahlo

Photo by Nickolas Muray

After finishing her art training in Paris, Amrita decided to passionately rediscover her Indian roots. With that, not only did her art styles take a radical turn, even her dressing style went through a drastic change. She began to wear only Indian ethnic wear. Dazzling saris, large studded jewelry, hair pulled tightly back and bright make up was her signature style.

Amria Sher-Gil

Image Source- ‘Amrita’ novelized biography by Alfredo De Braganza

 

Both the Artists had Parents from different Race and Culture
Frida’s Hungarian/German-Jewish father immigrated to Mexico where he married her mother who was half Amerindian and half Spanish.

Amrita Sher-Gil father was a Sikh aristocrat and a scholar in Sanskrit and Persian, and her mother was a Jewish opera singer from Hungary.

 

Turbulent and Colorful Love Life
Frida Kahlo’s marriage with renowned artist Diego Rivera was often troubled. Frida Kahlo had numerous extramarital affairs with both men and women, most of them were in retaliation to her husband’s habitual infidelity. In particular Diego’s affair with Kahlo’s sister left her heart broken and betrayed, she cut off her long hair to express her hear-break.

Amrita led a very bohemian life, the openly bisexual artist had several affairs. Even after her marriage with her Hungarian first cousin, Dr. Victor Egan, she continued with her escapades.

Frida Diego Rivera and Amrita Sher-Gil Victor

Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera (Left), Amrita Sher-Gil with Victor (Right)

 

Proud of their Heritage
Both the artists’ artworks are heavily influenced by the ethnicity of their respective cultures. Frida’s subjects and compositions fluently illustrate the Mexican culture, the characteristics of her art style are akin to the Mexican folk art.

Frida Kahlo-The Bus

‘The Bus’ by Frida Kahlo

FridaKahlo

Artwork by Frida Kahlo

Sher-Gil was greatly influenced by the Mughal and Pahari schools of painting and the cave paintings at Ajanta. She toured South India to study Indian classical art, her Indian subjects were mostly from rural background, engaged in their daily activities.

I can only paint in India. Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Braque…. India belongs only to me“- Amrita Sher-Gil

Amrita_Sher-Gil Three Girls

‘Three Sisters’ by Amrita Sher-Gil

Amrita_Sher-Gil Two women

‘Two women’ by Amrita Sher-Gil

 

Both were part of the Revolutionary Art Movement in Paris and played an important role in the transforming the Art Scenario in their own Native Land.
In 1939 ‘The Louvre’ bought Frida Kahlo’s paintings ‘The Frame’. It was the first work of a twentieth-century Mexican artist that the Louvre purchased.

Frida Kahlo-The frame

‘The Frame’ by Frida Kahlo, (Location- ‘The Louvre’)

Amrita Sher-Gil’s artwork ‘Young Girls’ led to her election as an Associate of the Grand Salon in Paris in 1933, making her the youngest ever and the only Asian to have received this recognition.

Amrita Sher-Gil young-girls

‘Young Girls’ by Amrita Sher-Gil, (Location NGMA, New Delhi)

 

Uncertainty on the cause their death
The official reason of Frida’s death was given as pulmonary embolism set on by pneumonia, but some have speculated that she overdosed on pain killers that may not have been accidental.

Amrita Sher-Gil became seriously ill, went into a coma, and died abruptly. The real reason for her death has never been ascertained. A failed abortion has been suggested as a possible cause. Her mother accused her doctor husband Victor of having murdered her.

 

The Avant-Garde Women Artists were Emblems of Feminism in their era. The subjects of their artworks represented true essence, beauty and spirit of being a woman in the most eloquent manner.

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‘The Two Frida’s’ by Frida Kahlo

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‘Bride’s Toilet’ by Amrita Sher-Gil, (Location NGMA, New Delhi)il

 

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Leonardo Da Vinci- An Artist and a Military Engineer

Leonardo da Vinci’s creativity was not just limited to art and literature, his artistry extended well beyond that, the Renaissance man in-addition made extraordinary inventions in the world of science and engineering.

Da vinci

Da Vinci was known for his humanitarian nature, he would often purchase caged birds and releasing them, a vegetarian who detested war. Despite his compassionate character and hatred towards violence he invented many war machines, the reason was patronage, he needed wealthy patrons for supporting his inventions. Da Vinci’s intellectual ability was recognized by some of the most powerful personalities of his time, most prominent being Cesare Borgia and Duke Sforza. His ambitious patrons used his scientific inventions for warfare, Da Vinci was employed as a military architect and engineer for creating advanced war machines, devising new methods for defense and inventions for naval attack.

Unfortunately not all of his inventions and commissions reached the finishing line, there are different viewpoints to the reason, some historians believe it was because of lack of support from his patrons for his monumental projects, few assert they were intentionally flawed as being an humanitarian he was unwillingly designing destructive war machines and some say that it was only logical since in that era he lacked resources for testing his herculean inventions.

Nonetheless some of his remarkable envisions have served as prototypes for the war machines of current times. Shown below are few such visions.

Helicopter– Da Vinci was fascinated by the perception of flight, he designed numerous flying machines. Below is a model of a flying device called ‘Aerial Screw’, it’s been constructed based on his notes and sketch, the concept of which is quite similar to a helicopter of today’s time.

leonard-de-vinci-Helicopter

Image Source- vinci-closluce.com


Tank-
Leonardo designed an armored fighting vehicle integrated with cannon’s and other lethal weapons. The theory and functionality of the armored car is clearly equivalent to the modern day tank. Below is a Model of an armored vehicle designed by Leonardo.

DaVinciTank


Machine gun-
A mobile weapon with a revolving platform, which fires series of shots in quick succession was a groundbreaking invention made by the Renaissance man in that era. Shown below is a Model of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Machine gun at the Château du Clos Lucé

Da Vinci Machine Gun


Flying Machine-
As mentioned earlier Da Vinci was particularly intrigued by the possibility of flight. An ornithopter was designed by him inspired by the flapping-wing flight of birds. As per his design, the wings were operated with hand levers and foot pedals, the pilot was to lie face down and a head gear was installed for steering.

Da Vinci Flying machine

Image Source- justacote.com


Revolving Bridge-
The revolving bridge also known as the swing bridge was lightweight and sturdy, it could be disassemble and carried with much ease. The mobile bridge was used by armies on the move during wartime to cross over water-bodies. Once assembled the bridge could swing from one side across to the other end of the river.

Da vinci Bridge

Image sourced from the Book- Leonardo’s Machines: Da Vincis Inventions Revealed


Giant Crossbow
– Da Vince also designed an enormous crossbow as a weapon. Based on his detailed drawing and instructions, the British Army constructed a sample, unfortunately the project was dropped unfinished. Below is a model of Leonardo’s design.

da_vinci_giant_crossbow

Image source- universalleonardo.org


Triple Barrel Canon
– For Da Vinci, the gap between reloading and firing a canon was a waste of time in an ongoing battle, ‘Three Barreled Cannon’ was capable of firing continuously, reloading and firing could be done simultaneously with no intervals. Shown below is a model of Leonardo’s design.

Da Vinci Triple Barrel Canon


Robotic Knight
– Employing series of pulleys, cables and gears, Leonardo da Vinci constructed and designed an android. His Robotic Knight was capable of independently sitting, standing, raise its visor and maneuver its arms. Shown below is a model of a Leonardo da Vinci’s robot with its inner functionalities.

Model of a robot based on drawings by Leonardo da Vinci


Parachute
– Yet another invention made by Da Vinci because of his fascination for flight. Though the shape of his design differs from the modern day parachutes, experts have tested his model and declared that the purpose of the device for a smooth and slow motion was accomplished. Shown below is a model of Leonardo’s parachute.

Da Vinci Parachute


Scuba Gear
– This was one of the most valuable and practical inventions made by Da Vinci. Using Scuba Gear for sabotaging the enemy’s ships was an immense advantage over the invaders in that era. Unfortunately the idea seemed too far-fetched for his patrons. Shown below is a model of Da Vinci’s Scuba Gear.

Da Vinci scuba


Paddle Boat-
The design was inspired by the fish’s movements in the water, he believed that their natural structure and actions made it easy for them to travel fast and navigate easily through the water. The idea was to make traveling by sea and river faster for communication sake.

paddle boat

Image sourced from the Book- Leonardo’s Machines: Da Vincis Inventions Revealed


Self-Propelled Cart
with features like steering and brakes is considered a model for modern day cars.

Leonardo Automobile


Anemometer
, an instrument for measuring the speed of wind helped with his flying machines as a support tool.

Da Vinci

 

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VINCENT and THEO: The Van Gogh Brothers

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VINCENT a creative genius and THEO a Charismatic art dealer, as illustrated in manga- Les deux Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, a classic model of an eccentric and a tortured genius, shared a fiercely strong bond with his beloved brother Theo van Gogh, who was his only confidant, closest friend and amongst the few who understood the artist. Theo was not just a loving brother, who gave financial and emotional support with unwavering love but also played the role of an art dealer, who promoted and introduced Vincent’s art to the evolving art scenario in Europe, unfortunately his efforts only fructified after his dead.

It is almost impossible to talk about Vincent’s art and achievements without referring his brother’s influence. The connection between the two intensely devoted brothers was admirable, Theo was like Vincent’s second self, an alter-ego of the artist.

Loving Vincent

Vincent and Theo- as illustrated in the animation movie ‘Loving Vincent’

There have been many cultural depictions that have highlighted their warm brotherly love. Listed are few of the most popular movies and books:-

Vincent & Theo– a 1990 biographical drama film about the painter Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) and his brother Theo (1857–1891). The film highlights the warm relationship of the siblings, it starts from 1883 when despite his father’s protests Vincent decides to pursuit art as a career, Theo is introduced as the only family member who supported Vincent’s decision. In his lifetime, Theo never lost hope in Vincent’s artistic skills, he continued to encourage him till the end and as an art dealer persistently tried to establish him as a successful artist in the market. As a concerned brother, he even financed Paul Gauguin’s relocation to Arles with the hope that his company would help Vincent cope with depression and he trusted Gauguin’s influence might shift his dark palette to a brighter one, as was the pattern followed by the avant-garde impressionist artists of that time.

Posters

Promotional posters of the movie Vincent & Theo

 

Van Gogh: Painted With Words- A bio-documentary released in 2010, based on the real letters of Vincent and Theo, it showcases the correspondence between the two brothers and the circumstances at the moments the letters were written. Shown below is the promotional poster of the bio-documentary

Van Gogh-Painted With Words

Promotional posters of the bio-documentary ‘Van Gogh: Painted with Words’

 

In their lifetime, Vincent van Gogh and his brother exchanged over 903 letters, the brothers had a constant correspondence, living apart didn’t bring any sort of distance or gap in their relationship. In the letters, Vincent expressed his artistic ideas and emotional experiences with complete honesty. These letters reveal the artist’s inner struggles, creative growth and personal thoughts.

Below are few books based on the collection of Vincent’s letters to his brother Theo:

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh– edited by Mark Roskill

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh-

 

Dear Theo- edited by Irving Stone

dear-theo

 

Theo: The Other Van Gogh by Marie-Angelique Ozanne and Frederique De Jode
The book questions- Would Vincent have been Vincent without Theo? It analysis the key role the younger brother played in emotionally supporting and shaping his career as an artist.

TheoThe Other Van Gogh

 

Les deux Van Gogh (Sayonara Sorushie) An interesting graphic novel released in 2012 by Japanese Author/Artist Hozumi. Though the tear-jerking manga (Japanese term for graphic novels) is partly fictional but the way the Author/Artist has narrated the siblings attachment is extremely touching. This award-winning work is a must-read for all art enthusiasts.

ssorcier_cover

 

Theo was with his beloved brother till his last hours of life, on 27 July 1890 when he receiving the news that Vincent shot himself in the chest, he rushed to be at his brother’s side. Theo was distraught by the loss and died six months later, his body was buried with his brother at Auvers-sur-Oise. Theo’s widow held a memorial exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s artworks, and he was an instant sensation in the art circuit in Europe. Today Vincent van Gogh is one of the most recognizable artists, his creative techniques laid down the foundation for the modern art.

Vincent and theo

Vincent and Theo- A Creative genius and a Charismatic Art Dealer, as illustrated in Manga Sayonara Sorcier.

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Manga Artists with Amazing Art Styles

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Japan as we all know is celebrated for its near-perfection creative mediums like Graphic Novels, Animated films, Games and Movies. Out of all these creative forms, in recent times Manga comics (Graphic novels) on an international level, is fast becoming one the most popular reading material for booklover’s, the artistry and originality of which is astounding.

Audiences who are unfamiliar or have limited knowledge of this medium, may mistake them to be comics with stories of superheroes or teen humor. But in reality, the subject matter is widely varied and virtually limitless and so are the target audiences, which includes not just teenagers and children, fan following comprises young adults and even grown-ups.

The amazingly diverse art styles followed by Mangakas (Japanese word for a manga artist/ author) are rich in creativity and flooded with its ever-growing originality. Its true, art appreciation is highly subjective however here are few art styles that in my opinion come in the first five categories. Though listing just few from the vast sea of awesome art styles has been a tough task.

 

Mangaka- Kaoru Mori
Images from series- A Bride’s Story (Otoyomegatari)
Genre- Historical

Art style- Kaoru Mori’s artstyle follows flawless anatomy, accurate perspective and detailed background with interesting supporting art. Her approach is extremely controlled and meticulous, which gives her works, especially subject interactions with one another and emotional atmosphere, an extremely realistic look and feel. The notable elements that make Kaoru Mori’s style unique are the combination of well-balanced compositions and painstaking detailing.

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otoyomegatari_2

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otoyomegatari_4

otoyomegatari_5

 

Mangaka- Yuki Kodama
Images from series- Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi No Apollon)
Genre- Slice Of Life

Art style- The beauty of Yuki Kodama’s art is its crispiness and minimalism, it is refreshingly simple, direct, and frank. For defining depth and dimension he dexterously employs attention-grabbing perspective for the background. Kodama is particularly talented in smoothly blending his subjects to create a natural rhythm and harmony for his compositions.

Kids on the slope 1

Kids on the slope 2

Kids on the slope 6

Kids on the slope 5

Kids on the slope 4

 

Mangaka- Naoki Urasawa
Images from series- 20th century boys
Genre- Action

Art style- Naoki Urasawa’s artworks strength are the intensely dramatic compositions that harmonized well with his storyline. He primarily uses gestures and movement for theatrical effectiveness. Furthermore his technique is to bring attention to the focal figure in the composition with the help of a subsided yet well-defined background.

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20th_Century_Boys_5

 

Mangaka- Takehiko Inoue
Images from series- Vagabond
Genre- Historical

Art style- Takehiko Inoue’s profound, life-like and complex compositional methods take the viewers experience to new levels. He employs various visual techniques to make objects and space more three dimensional. The artist’s meticulous attention to naturalistic detail is most noted in the images shown below brimming realism.

vagabond 1-

vagabond 2-

vagabond 3

vagabond 4

vagabond 5

 

Mangaka- Yayoi Ogawa
Images from series- Tramps Like Us (Kimi wa petto)
Genre- Romance

Art style- The main appeal of Yayoi Ogawa’s art is the remarkable freedom and fluidity of facial expression and emotionally vibrant body-language, qualities which are rare and essential for graphic novels.  Her subjects are not overly-dramatic, she depicts them naturally while at the same time reflecting the true essence of the character. Her technique allows the viewer to imagine themselves in the situation and share the experience of the characters.

Tramps like us 1

Tramps like us- 3

Tramps like us 2

Tramps like us 4

Tramps like us 5-

 

Ardhanarishvara in Contemporary and Folk Art

Ardhanarishvar a

Ardhanarishvara is one of the most innovative theme in Indian art, which dates back to the Kushan period in Indian history (30–375 CE). The androgynous composite depicts half male and half female, the right side is Lord Shiva the other half being his spouse Parvati. It symbolizes the fusion of masculine and feminine energies (Purusha and Prakriti), the concept states that the universe was creates from the union of sexes.

This innovative composition was visually refined during the Gupta period (320-600 CE), passed down further as one of the favorite theme of various Indian folk art, particularly Madhubani, Patachitra, Miniature Painting, Kerala Mural paintings and many others. Interestingly, the composition hasn’t evolved or transformed in any way, retaining its original interpretation.

Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple

Chola-era sculpture of Ardhanarishvara (11th Century)

Ardhanarishvara is a common subject used by Madhubani artists, a folk painting of Bihar which mainly depicts Gods and their mythological stories. Shown below is a marvelous masterpiece made by Sita Devi, a renowned Madhubani artists. Typical characteristics of Madhubani art, decorative designs, large eloquent eyes and brilliant colors make this outstanding artwork an ideal illustration of the synthesis of Rudra and Shakti.

Ardhanarishvar

Artwork by prominent Madhubani artist Sita Devi

Miniature Painting is a genre that has dominated the Indian art scene since its advent in 11th century. Since they started as illustrations for manuscripts the subjects have mostly been religious and folk literature. Countless variations of Ardhanarishvara have been made in this genre through the centuries. The reason why this subject is unique for miniature art is because as per the typical characteristics of miniature art, all the human characters are seen with side profile however Ardhanarishvara is the one of the few theme’s that is represented from a frontal view since it depicts half male and half female, split down the middle.

Ardhanarishvara Miniature painting

Ardhanarishvara made in Rajput Miniature art style

With the influence of tantrism there were various compositions of Shiva and Shakti painted in Buddhist Thangka Art. 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

Ardhanarishvara made in Buddhist Thangka Art style

Kerala Mural Paintings are the frescos depicting mythology and legends, which are drawn on the walls of temples. Most of the masterpieces of Kerala mural art are in the Shiva Temple in Ettumanoor (Kottayam, Kerala) hence Ardhanarishvara is a common theme used by the genre of artists who following this traditional mural art form.

Kerala mural Painting

Ardhanarishvara made in Kerala Mural art form

Patachitra– ‘Pata’ meaning ‘vastra’ or clothing, and ‘chitra’ means painting. This creative folk art form of Orissa, is a cloth-based scroll painting. Since beginning of Pattachitra culture, subject matter is mostly mythological, religious stories and folk lore. Shown below is an exceptionally beautiful Patachitra artwork of Ardhanarishvara.

Patachitra

Till date, Ardhanarishvara remains a beloved theme for not just folk artists but also Indian contemporary artists. Shown below is an artwork by Nandlal Bose, one of the pioneers of modern Indian art.

Nand Lal Bose tempera on cloth christies

Nand Lal Bose-  tempera on cloth

Ardhnareshwar

Artwork by Baani Sekhon

Image source- isha.sadhguru.org, halibedragons.wordpress.com, emithilaart.com, exoticindia.com, Christies.com

Gardeners of Junk Parks

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, this phrase has been given a new meaning by art geniuses who have created sculpture parks/gardens with old objects, recycling junk, and discarded materials. These creative masterminds from around the world have dedicated years of their life in creating assembly of awesome sculptures, their masterpieces are displayed out in the open for public viewing and are now famous tourists spots.

Porter Sculpture Park (South Dakota)–  Wayne Porter a self-taught artist and a former sheep farmer, since his childhood years practiced metallic sculpting at his father’s Blacksmith Shop. Gradually as his interest in art grew his artworks became larger. His sculptures are in the style of industrial art, made with scrap metal, old farm equipment and railroad tie plates. In 2000 he opened his sculpture park, at present it is one of the most popular roadside attraction for tourists.  Out of all his quirky creations, the largest sculpture in the park is a 60-foot-tall bull head (Shown Below). This sculpture took three years to build, weighs 25 tons, and is equal in size to the heads of Mt. Rushmore.

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Rock Garden (Chandigarh)– Nek Chand, another self-taught artist, started his sculpture garden in his spare time in 1957, today it is spread over an area of 40 acres. It is completely built of industrial and home waste and thrown-away items. In his spare time, Nek Chand started collecting materials from demolition sites around the city and created concrete sculptures made of scrap and other kinds of wastes (bottles, glasses, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc.). The park was inaugurated as a public space in 1976, today it is one of the most visited tourist sites.

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City guide

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Carhenge (Nebraska)– was built by Jim Reinder in 1987 as a memorial to his father. It is a replica of England’s Stonehenge, instead of large standing stones, as is the case with the original Stonehenge, Carhenge is formed of welded discarded vintage American automobiles, all covered with gray spray paint. In addition to the Stonehenge replica, the Carhenge site includes several other sculptures created from autos parts of discarded cars covered with various colors of spray paint, it is also referred as the Car Art Reserve. There was a interesting documentary made in 2005 featuring the site-  ‘Carhenge: Genius or Junk?’

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The original ‘Stonehenge’ (Bottom) and the replica ‘Carhenge’ (Top)

 

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Cadillac Ranch (Texas) was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group ‘Ant Farm’. The public art installation/sculpture consists of used or junk Cadillac automobiles, the vehicles are installed half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Visitors are encouraged to write graffiti and spray-paint the vehicles however the cars are periodically repainted for various purposes, television commercial, once they were painted black to mark the passing of Doug Michels, another time they were painted rainbow colors to honor gay pride day and at times repainted to their original colors to simply have a fresh canvas for visitors.

 

Image source- portersculpturepark.com, indiaescapes.com, carhenge.com, antfarm.com

There are Passionate Art Collectors and then there are Fanatical Ones

There are passionate art collectors and then there are fanatical ones. We have listed few such obsessive art collectors who even served as art patrons for budding and up-coming young artists, not for personal financial gain or for investment sake but purely for their love for art. Their insightfulness and intuition has originated many success stories for accomplished and skilled artists.

Herbert and Dorothy (1922-2012) (b. 1935), a working-class couple (Herbert was a postal clerk and Dorothy worked as a librarian), are known as the champions of art collectors. With their common interest in art, the made-for-each other couple amassed a priceless collection of over 4,782 artworks, considered to be one of the most important private art collections of the 20th century, which they surprisingly stored in their one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Running out of space in their apartment, they decided to donate part of their collection to the National Gallery of Art (Washington) instead of selling.

Herbert and Dorothy

Herbert & Dorothy (Shown above) with their treasured artworks in their one-bedroom apartment.


Sergei Shchukin
(1854-1936) was a Russian businessman, the art he bought in his time was rebuffed by the Louvre and other museums. He had a strong association particularly with Henri Rousseau. The artist (Rousseau) decorated his mansion and created one of his iconic paintings-La Danse. Shchukin’s collection was brutally criticized and ridiculed by the art circle, he jokingly remarked, “A madman painted it and a madman bought it.”  After the 1917 Revolution, the government acquired his collection, his mansion in Moscow became the State Museum of New Western Art.

Sergei Shchukin the dance

Sergei Shchukin (Left),- The iconic paining made by Henri Rousseau for his mansion- The Dance (Right)

Sergei Shchukin residence, with paintings by Claude Monet and other Impressionists

A portion of Sergei Shchukin’s mansion with his collection (Shown above)


Don and Mera Rubell,
Miami based art enthusiasts started collecting shortly after they got married, Don was still a medical student and Mera was working as a teacher. The couple was organized and practical in their purchases, 25 percent of their monthly finances were fixed for acquiring artworks for their collection. They mostly bought art pieces from young and rising artists. As their financial conditions improved, the Rubells’s gradually extended their range to international aspiring new artists. As selfless art collectors, the Rubell’s showcase their collection annually for public viewing from mid-December to early August.

Don and Mera Rubell

Don and Mera Rubell (Shown above) image source colormecashmere.com


Albert Barnes
(1872-1951) a chemist by profession is known as one of the most insightful and intuitive art collector. In late 19th century/early 20th century, when modern artists like Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani were considered too vague and forward, he bought their artworks and gradually made an art collection of 2,500 art items which is currently worth at least $25-billion. Before long, he got a mansion built and designed especially for his collection, access to which was limited to selected few, mostly art students. After Barnes death, his collection is now part of Philadelphia Museum of Art.

AlbertBarnes

Albert Barnes with his art collection


Charles Lang Freer
(1854-1919), an American industrialist and founder of Freer Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), he is best known for his vast collection of Asian art mostly sculptures, paintings and ceramics from Egypt, Iran, Japan, China, and Korea. Though his collection also includes number of American masters but he was particularly fascinated by the works of James Whistler. One of his most famous acquisitions was James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room, a masterpiece of mural art. Freer filled the shelves in the peacock room with pots he had acquired from Asia. This asserted his belief that “all works of art go together, whatever their period.”

Peacock roomOP

Interior of the Peacock Room, the panels are painted with brilliant blue-greens and metallic gold leaf

 

Charles Lang Freer

Charles Lang Freer (Right), The Princess from the Land of Porcelain (one of the artworks in The Peacock Room)

 

PC room

One of the panels in The Peacock Room (Right), Asian Pots placed along the panels (left)

Blast from the Past

Deewaar

There was a time when movie posters were mostly hand-painted however gradually with advent of computer graphics this fascinating art has slowly faded. Even though in today’s time, some of the digitally created print materials used for marketing campaigns are remarkably creative, the hand-painted posters of yesteryears in comparison had a charm which surpasses them all.

The poster of the epic drama film ‘Mother India’ (shown below), till date remains the most impressive movie print advert in terms of composition and theme. It metaphorically represents India and symbolizes women empowerment in the most dramatic manner.

Mother India

What made these hand-painted vintage posters special were their unique characteristics-unconventional way of using (mostly loud and rich) colors, 3D styled typography, impasto-like thick brush strokes and typically the background-foreground or Hero-Villain figures would be contrasting with complementary colors.

The iconic movie poster of film ‘Gone with the Wind’ highlights the leading roles in a passionate moment against the backdrop of American Civil War representing the ‘Historical Romance’ genre of the film.

Gone_With_The_Wind

With media expansion, today there are numerous streams for promoting and advertising a film, however in the yesteryear’s, print media played a primary role for advertising since internet, cable TV and other such options were absent. The posters were meant to be informative enough to club all the elements of the movie- the theme, story-line, mood and casting of the film.

The poster of film ‘Pakeezah’, skillfully highlights the most poignant scene of the movie summarizing the movies story-line- a tragic love story of a courtesan. In the scene illustrated, heartbroken, she dances over broken glass leaving bloodied footprints in her path.

Pakeezah

This aesthetically striking poster of film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ with minimal colors and figure details, effortlessly conveys the cultural and historical theme of the film.

Lawrence of Arabia

Typography, creative composition and color theme of posters shown below (‘Chupke Chupke’ and ‘Angoor’) hints at the comic element and lighthearted feel of both the movies.

ChupkeChupke Angoor

These incredible movie posters of classic movies –‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and ‘Indiana Jones’, summarize the action, fantasy and adventure involved in the film. Even photoshopped images of current times pale in comparison to the creativity and originality of these posters.

GoodBadUgly IndianaJones

Skillfully layout, typography and colors make the poster of this romantic comedy ‘My Fair Lady’ a rare collector’s item. Brimming with hot pink this masterpiece dexterously reflects both the time period and style of the musical film.

Poster of the movie ‘The Kid’ has an immensely emotional and dramatic approach, the composition showcases the most touching scene of the film when the authorities come to take the boy to an orphanage. The illustration leaves the outcome to the audience imagination hence luring them to watch the film.

MyFairLady TheKid

Some hand-painted posters of classic movies to adorn your walls:

Posters for romance genre movies ‘Silsila’ and ‘Guide’, employs warm colors wherein the main leads softly fuses with one another and the background.

Silsila Guide

Flowing style and flat colors for movies ‘Bobby’ and ‘Heera Panna’.

Bobby HeeraPanna

Abstract collarge of the action packed James Bond movie – ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’

jamesbond_007

Poster as innovative and interesting as the masterpiece movie ‘Mera Naam Joker’ directed by Raj Kapoor.

Mera-Naam-Joker

Both the posters follow a similar color palette and format for a melancholic feel, as is the subject of both the movies. ‘Kora Kagaz’ shows the conflict between the main characters and ‘Neel Kamal’ depicts the love triangle.

Neel Kamal Kora kagaz