All posts tagged: Art

A Young Director and his only film

I came across a brief write up by one of my acquaintances on Facebook   a few days back. “…Asia is the place where cinema is still breathing a fresh whiff of significant cinema – something which current European cinema is visibly lacking!”, it concluded. He listed a bunch of directors from different parts of Asia who are shining with their works today. But what caught my eyes was this line: “Sadly, I couldn’t add Bo Hu’s name.” I asked him if it’s because of the fact Hu Bo is no more. His answer was ‘yes’. ‘An elephant sitting still” is the first and the last feature film by Chinese director Hu Bo. He killed himself during the final editing procedure of the film, in 2017, at the age of 29. The film came out in 2018 and immediately gained attention from world audience. Hu Bo was a student of Bela Tarr, the Hungarian auteur. The film opens up in a morning with a story about an elephant, narrated in a voice of one of the …

The amazing works of Julia Margaret Cameron

In 1863, right after her 48th birthday, Julia Margaret Cameron received her first camera as a gift from her daughter and son-in-law with the words, “It may amuse you, Mother, to try to photograph during your solitude at Freshwater.” The gift came at a moment to Cameron when her husband was investigating his family’s failed coffee crop in Caylon, Sri Lanka, when all their sons were grown and their only daughter had married and moved away. Within a year, the mother of six, a deeply religious and well read Cameron became a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland and the camera became far more than an amusement to her: “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” she wrote, “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.” In her photography, Cameron strove to capture beauty. She wrote, “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied.” Favoring lenses that …

Maborosi and memory

Maborosi, the first feature film by contemporary Japanese maestro Kore-eda Hirokazu. Yumiko, the protagonist, is a girl when we first meet her. She lives with her parents and grandmother in Osaka. Her grandmother leaves the home to go back to the village she is from before dying. Yumiko tries to stop her but fails. Her grandmother never comes back. She met a boy with a bicycle named Iuko and the story cuts forward to several years when they are married and have a new-born child. Their life is happy and charming until Yumiko becomes a widow. After five years or so a well-wisher of Yumiko finds a match for her named Tamio who lives with his daughter and his father in a village by the sea far away from Osaka. Yumiko moves there with her son to start a new life. I sat still in my chair even after the end credits were gone and the faint hint of light was clearing out the darkness of the screen. I was in my room and it …

From Revenge to a Reconciliation Factory

When you’re an adult, one of the many things you miss the most is probably the ingenuousness of your childhood and the simplicity it once bestowed upon your forsaken infancy. Gone are the simple and colorful splashes of a livelihood that once made you happy. But you’ve always gotta move forward; well, that’s the only option!! And with coming-to-age technologies and social media it’s getting even harder everyday to keep up with the simplicity that you once experienced. We just can’t seem to hold on to and get enough of them. And it’s not just about an intricate lifestyle but everything aesthetic we are revolved around with. From a piece of art to a fragment of music, we tend to seek the steepest ravine to appreciate the art and the artist. Walking into the auditorium on Anya Theater’s Revenge Factory, directed by Debashish, there’s an instant feeling of proximity conveyed upon the audiences as soon as the curtain unravels. A utility pole entangled with wires with an almost fuzzy yellow light hanging from it. Just …

The Lion Hunt

Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen, Westphalia on June 28, 1577 and spent the first 10 years of his life in Cologne. In 1600, Rubens troubled to Italy. During time spent in the country, he immersed himself in Italy’s culture and way of life and adopted an Italian technical innovation: oil sketch. Lion Hunt (74 x 105.5cm) (c.1615) is one of Rubens’ earliest known hunting paintings painted on a wooden panel. The monochromatic masterpiece alludes the aristocratic patronage and privileged status of its time. There is no known finished painting that is entirely based on the sketch but several of its motifs appear in other works of Rubens. The dynamic composition of Lion Hunt captures the acute tension, energy, violence and the sap of Rubens’ style and the unparalleled eloquence of his hands. Even though Lion Hunt is an incomplete piece of art, it’s perfect in its own incompleteness. Featured Painting: Peter Paul Rubens – A Lion Hunt (c.1615)

The Supper At Emmaus

The term tenebrism, from the Italian word tenebroso (gloomy), is used to describe the overall tonality in a painting where there is a violent contrasts of light and darkness in figurative compositions in order to heighten the dramatic effect. Although Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was not the inventor of tenebrism, the term is often associated with him because his tenebrists paintings were so influential. He executed The Supper At Emmaus in 1601 for Ciriaco Mattei, the Italian nobleman of Rome and of the House of Mattei and one of the most prolific art collectors of his time. The Supper At Emmaus depicts the moment when the resurrected Jesus reveals his identity to two of his disciples who had failed to recognize him in the town of Emmaus while an innkeeper stands over the group. The two of the disciples are presumed to be Luke and Cleopas. Caravaggio’s precise direction of light makes his figures stand out forcefully against their background and their presence is made more proximate by realistic detailing, such as the scallop shell …

A Brief History of SELF-TAUGHT & OUTSIDER ART

Outsider art had its origins in the psychiatric collections of 19th-century European psychiatric hospitals when some psychiatrists started to collect artworks produced by their patients. But it was originally recognized as a specific category of artistic production in the 20th century. Interest in the art of the mentally ill, along with the children, was first demonstrated by the members of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group: Auguste Macke, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and others. But after the death of Macke and Marc during World War I, Paul Klee continued to draw inspiration from the primitives. Klee’s interest in outsider productions can be traced to 1912, when, in a review of a Der blaue Reiter (The blue rider) exhibition, he urged the public to take the art of children and the mad seriously. In 1921, Doctor and psychiatrist Walter Morgenthaler published his book Ein Geisteskranker als Künstler (A Psychiatric Patient as Artist/Madness and Art) about Adolf Wölfli, one of his patients and one of the first artists to be associated with the Art Brut or …

Motherhood: Maman by Louise Bourgeois

Art, at its best, has been an expression of the human experience of life and the theme of mother and child has been a central motif in art for centuries. The Virgin Mary has presented the ideal of a protective mother to which women have aspired. But in the age of post-Freudian psychoanalysis, motherhood has become more eccentric and complex than ever. Louise Bourgeois was born on 25th December 1911 in Paris, France. She was the second child of three born to parents Joséphine Fauriaux and Louis Bourgeois. Taking up art was a way for her to fight specific fears. The fear and trauma of abandonment that she suffered not only through her untimely birth on Christmas Day but also on her mother’s death in 1932, when she was only twenty-one. Louise drew on painful memories of childhood traumas to create her tribute to her mother. In 1996, The Maman was created as a part of Bourgeois’s inaugural commission of The Unilever Series (2000), in the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern. It’s a bronze, …

The Readymade that Influenced the Nihilistic Dada, the Pop and Conceptual Art

The theory behind the “Readymade” was explained in an anonymous editorial published in the May 1917 issue of avant-garde magazine The Blind Man. An art and Dada journal organized briefly by Henri-Pierre Roché, Marcel Duchamp and Beatrice Wood in New York City. It read: “Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, and placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.” In April, 1917, Marcel Duchamp made his most notorious Readymade, Fountain, a porcelain urinal signed “R.Mutt”. The work is regarded by art historians and theorists of the avant-garde as a major landmark in 20th-century art. Accompanied by artist Joseph Stella and art collector Walter Arensberg, Duchamp purchased a standard Bedfordshire model urinal from the J. L. Mott Iron Works, 118 Fifth Avenue. The artist brought the urinal to his studio at 33 West 67th Street, reoriented it 90 degrees from its …

An Insistence of Change: The Energy And Intent Behind the Outset of Italian Futurism

When Étienne-Jules Marey developed a way of recording several phases of movement in one photograph in 1882, it became one of the key ideas behind the onset of Futurism in the early 20th century. Focusing on progress and modernity, the Futurists sought to sweep away traditional artistic notions and replace them with an energetic celebration of the machine age. They emphasized on creating a unique and dynamic vision of the future with speed, technology, youth, violence, and objects such as the car, the airplane, and the industrial city. The birth of Futurism was declared with an incendiary manifesto appeared in La gazzetta dell’Emilia on 5th February, 1909 by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. The article was then republished in the French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Saturday 20 February 1909. According to the manifesto, Italy was to be delivered from its smelly gangrene of professors, archeologists, ciceroni and antiquarians and the Futurists would “sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness”. Marinetti expressed a passionate loathing for everything old, especially political …

The Legacy of Cubism

The most radical movement in avant-garde art in Europe, the beginning of Cubism dated back to 1907 when Picasso completed his groundbreaking Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon, originally titled The Brothel of Avignon), a crowded canvas that portrays five nude female prostitutes in a brothel on Carrer d’Avinyó (Avignon Street) in Barcelona. Cubist painters portrayed the world as it was known, rather than as it was seen, challenging the idea of revolutionaries like Giotto and Brunelleschi who used one-point perspective to idealistically project and imitate the seen world onto canvas. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque worked together in the beginning of 20th century to challenge this idea which had dominated the Western art since the Renaissance. The early phase of Cubism, which is often refereed to as Analytic Cubism, lasted until 1912. It entailed detailed analysis and dissection of objects and the space they occupied. As the poet and critic Guillaume Appollinaire observed, “Picasso studies an object the way a surgeon dissects a corpse”. Between 1913 and 1920 the development of Analytic …

The Moonlight: John Atkinson Grimshaw

The “remarkable and imaginative painter” of Victorian Era who is best known for his somber moonlight upon urban landscapes and dockyards through leafless trees or cotton clouds expounded with pallid and augmented silhouettes, light and wet city streets. Born in Park Street, Leeds on 6 September 1836 to Mary and David Grimshaw, John Atkinson Grimshaw began his working life as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway. It was during the time as a clerk he begun to explore his love for painting. In 1861, at the age of 24, to the dismay of his parents, he abandoned his job to endorse all his time to become a painter. In 1862, only a year later after he had left his job, Grimshaw had his first exhibition under the patronage of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, which was mostly paintings of birds, fruit and blossom focused on still life and nature. By 1870, Grimashaw became successful enough to move to Knostrop Hall and rented another house in Scarborough, which he called ‘The Castle by the Sea’ …

Female Artists of the Victorian Era: Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale was an English artist in the reign of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and George V who was identified as the last survivor of the late Pre-Raphaelite painters. Born in the reign of Queen Victoria, her popularity mostly prospered in Edwardian era and she became one of the most popular Edwardian artist. Eleanor was born in Upper Norwood, Surrey as Mary Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale. She was the youngest daughter of a Lincoln’s Inn barrister, Matthew Inglett Fortescue-Brickdale and Sarah Anna. At the age of 17 she was enrolled at the Crystal Palace School of Art under Herbert Bone after initially started studying under the art critic John Ruskin. While at the Royal Academy, she came under the influence of John Byam Liston Shaw, who in turn was influenced by John Everett Millais and John William Waterhouse. By the time she was accepted to Royal Academy Pre-Raphaelite painting was led by a second generation of artists including Edward Coley Burne-Jones. The Pale Complexion of True Love (1899) by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale Using the different media such …

Female Artists of the Victorian Era: Helen Allingham

Helen Allingham (Helen Mary Elizabeth Paterson) was an English illustrator and watercolourist in the reign of Queen Victoria who was profoundly inspired by her maternal grandmother Sarah Smith Herford or Mrs. John Herford and aunt Laura Herford. Helen Allingham  was born on 26th September in 1848 in the small village of Swadlincote, Derbyshire. She was the eldest daughter of Alexander Henry Paterson, a physician, and Mary Herford Paterson. The family moved to Altrincham in Cheshire within the first year of Helen’s life where her father and her three-year-old sister Isabel died of a severe diphtheria epidemic in 1862 when she was only thirteen. The family thereafter moved to Birmingham where Helen initially studied art at the Birmingham School of Design at the age of seventeen. A year later in 1867 she was accepted to the prestigious Royal Academy where young Helen was deeply influenced by Foster and Fred Walker, and the Pre- Raphaelite painters Sir John Everett Millais and Sir Frederick Leighton. Her initial career was as a black and white illustrator. In 1869 she was commissioned by the …

Female Artists of the Victorian Era: Evelyn De Morgan

Evelyn De Morgan (Mary Evelyn Pickering) was an English painter in the reign of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V who was within the circle of later phase of the Pre-Raphaelites who took their influences from the romantic paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. Evelyn was born in 1855 to a upper middle class family in London and was introduced to art by her uncle John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. On her 17th birthday, August 30th 1872, Evelyn recorded in her diary “At the beginning of each year I say ‘I will do something’ and at the end I have done nothing. Art is eternal, but life is short”..”I will make up for it now, I have not a moment to lose.” In 1873, she was enrolled at the Slade School of Art and her style of painting developed rapidly in those three years. It is believed that in the beginning of 1875 Evelyn often visited John Roddam Spencer Stanhope in Florence where he resided. It enabled her to study the …

Female Artists of the Victorian Era: Emma Sandys

Despite all the recent research, a very little is known of the life of Emma Sandys. A 19th century English Pre-Raphaelite artist and figure who sustained a successful career as an artist in the reign of Queen Victoria. It is believed that Emma was influenced by her brother Frederick Sandys, an associated artist of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, and his friend Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Emma Sandys was born in Norwich and had received her early lessens in drawing and painting from her father Anthony Sands who was a dyer and an artist himself. It was around 1853, the family put a “y” to their surname. The medievalism in Emma Sandys paintings clearly exhibits the Pre-Raphaelite influences upon them. Her works were mainly portraits in both oil and chalk and most of them are seen to be gazing thoughtfully out of the frame enclosed in their own world. Sandys works are engrossing but we know so little of her that many of her paintings were previously considered as the work of her brother. Only recent researches have …

A Woman Ahead of Her Time: Susan Waters

When it comes to American Folk Art, one name pops up in mind first. The woman ahead of her time, a self-taught artist Susan Catherine Moore Waters or simply Susan Waters. Susan Catherine Moore Waters was born on May 18, 1823 in Binghamton, New York. The daughter of Sally Camp Moore (1788-a 1880) & Lark Moore (1790-1871). They moved near Friendsville, Pennsylvania, when Susan was a child & lived on a farm, which she painted as a landscape later. Susan was a self-taught artist with little formal training. She attended seminary school in Friendsville where she paid tuition of her sister and herself by painting copies for the course in Natural History. At 17, on June 27, 1841 she married William C. Waters whose Quaker connections determined the destinations of their frequent relocations. Susan portrayed a number of her early portraits in southern New York state. She became a successful excursive artist, a supporter of women’s rights and an animal rights activist. But William had a health problem and was unable to provide sufficient income …

A Brief History of Cubism

Cubism is an artistic movement started in early 20th century. The movement was principally pioneered by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) and Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963) in Paris between 1907 to 1914. The cubist painters rejected the conventional notion of copying the traditional perspective of the subject. They were not compelled to copy form, color, texture and space, instead they employed geometric forms in depiction of subjects. The term “Cubism” derived from a comment made by the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles. Louis Vauzcelles described Braque’s work Houses at L’Estaque which he had painted at L’Estaque in emulation of Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) in 1908 as being composed of “cubes”. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque first met in 1905, but in 1907 Braque was first acquainted with Picasso’s groundbreaking Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso himself. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Brothel of Avignon) is considered to be the first cubist painting and was heavily influenced by African tribal art that Picasso had first seen in May or June, 1907 at ethnographic museum in the Palais du Trocadéro in Paris. …

A Festival of Light

Diwali is one of the most beautiful days in India filled with light, good wishes and joy. A festival that symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. There was a time when my brother and I would make lists of firework for these days and for our parents to buy for us. The elation would go on for days. Sometimes we’d collect dry leaves, especially leaf from banana trees and set them up on fire in the evening. It was kind of a warm up game for us before we’d start playing with the firecrackers. Though there is a different myth behind this ritual of setting the leaves on fire. it’s called Narapora or Burir ghor porano ( To burn an old entity’s house) and is performed to welcome the spirit of freshness, to burn all the evils inside us and that wander around. However, I had a different experience of Diwali last night. The neighborhood went absolutely dark after an electricity blackout for more than two …