Art is all-encompassing.
Art is omnipresent.
Art is all-pervading.
Art is invigorating.
Art is intriguing.
So much in ART…
Is art then a mystery?
A quintessential question that intuitively haunts us. It does so, much deeper, the very moment we dive deep into the lanes and by-lanes of history, warily turning the silent chapters of art book we suddenly start figuring out the great artists behind these momentous work of art. They are indubitably the greatest (Leonardo Da Vince to Michelangelo to Pablo Picasso to Vincent Van Gogh); history has seen these genius at work and we as lesser mortal are very fortunate, though yet to fully fathom, we have humbly embraced their immense contribution into the world of creativity.
We are stupefied. We try to read the language of art. We try to decipher the coded message in the form of an apparently complex image represented in a simplified manifestation, the puzzle…it’s a creative composition on the canvas.
Art is an integral part of life.
Art plays its beautiful part in every aspect of our life.
Living a life without a sense of appreciation for art is like living a life eating bland food without the blended species that truly spice up our otherwise mundane life. Physicality has role in our life but not always a fulfilling role. It needs the supplement. Rationality has an inherent limitation. Our life is so much about the emotions, the expressions and the engagement of our senses that are constantly craving for the creative juices to flourish and the imaginative joy of cerebral bliss. Many such random thoughts takes it time to mature and few thoughts still at it infancy when they knock the door, nudge us and these new kids on the block wants to come out onto the big arena and prove their innate potential.
They are raring to go…
And so many other latent ideas that are yet to get the wings to fly but feel their time has come and they need to come out and command their rightful place. It is in this very transitory state and when umbilical cord is yet to be cut but the seeded idea that was impregnated, quite some time back simply cannot stay there any longer, further staying could endanger its existence, they break away…art and artists conspire together to come to a creative confluence. Once they do, they leave an inedible mark in the annals of history.
Why is that so many great art works are aren’t that simple to read? Does the mystery in the art acts as a knot and not give many artists the much-needed wings to fly far and wide? Does the component of mystery make the art a tad magical? What is the mythical role of mystery in an art? Or is it that we assume a mystery element in the artistic composition to keep the art lovers in a constant state of intrigue?
Finally, does these series of questions fairly leads us to some form of convincing answer that states that there is both an intrinsic value and an instrumental value within such great work of art. Art has never been an easy language to read and understand and more so with lesser mortals like us we need a proper explanation and we need a perfect translator to unravel the stuffed ideas that has been randomly flashed on the canvas. In the apparent chaos on the canvas there is a hidden layer of order that we are not able to decipher.
There is a perception to the reality of image plucked from the world of imagination.
We need a special instrument. We need the lens of the art connoisseur who can scan through subject and the surrounding on the canvas and convey the profound idea capriciously embedded and to recount the encapsulated story within the boundaries of the canvas beyond the composition.
It is captivating…
Artists today in this so called modern times are in real dilemma and art is involuntarily diluted with the demand of rampant use of technology, digital technology per se, the rigueur and photography in particular has put the creative visual art form painting in quandary.
Flash back to good old days. It was in the beginning of 19th century, as leisurely we rewind ourselves 200 years of history, we shall discover the places and people in those places who have set the creative ball rolling in the arena of art world.
There was a heavy inertia.
It needed a big push.
The efforts were not limited to few individuals but an entire group of great people spanned their efforts in a simply coordinated fashion to demonstrate innate power of art that can so effortlessly empower the society.
It took millions of years and only in a span of hundred years bridging two centuries defined the motions of human emotions. The motion built up over the decades and once again during the beginning of 20th century, art world underwent a churning and churn was loud and clear, and it was palpable and new perspective was profound.
For 50 years, it was (1800 to 1850), everything around that place was beautiful, and things were in natural symphony and people experienced the positive harmony…it was aptly titled as the period of Romanticism. When everything was perfectly in sync with the nature and humanity was in state of joy and happiness, it was at the cusp of history when things took a turn with the up rise, it was the 1847 French Revolution.
The dawn of reality and everybody landed back on earth and there was acceptance of hard facts and embracing the bitter truth in our life and it was once again back to basics and adhering to the routines of life.
Edouard Mante, Gustav Coubet, Edgar Degas to John Constable became the pioneers in breaking the romanticism and making the way for Realism. This movement lasted for almost 20 years and the period from (1850 to 1870) was when the realism literally ruled the roost.
Claude Monte, Pierre Auguste Renoir to Vincent Van Gogh contested the very idea of realism and created a new movement in the field of art and was quite impressively named as the period of Impressionism. It was indeed impressive and it inspired many others and it got its extension in a different form and the extended movement is called as the Post Impressionist. This was for almost 25 years from (1880 to 1905). Vincent Van Gogh played a significant role in nurturing both the movement, and there were the other stalwarts like Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, and George Seurat to Henri Rousseau.
Thereafter from (1904 to 1911), two very interesting art movements overlapped and during a short tenure made a big impact on the art world, changing the very contour and the concept of art and how artists looked at the canvas and the subject that denoted the creative art work. Fauvism (1904 -1910) and Cubism (1907-1911) two unique concepts swept the way art walked and crawled on the canvas, it was not merely an art when science entered the scene and the fusion of art of science took the art world with a storm and the strokes started striking in lightning fashion, and there was literally magic on the canvas.
Fauvism movement played with color whereas Cubism played with space, and both aspects are so vital to the composition of painting on a two-dimensional canvas.
Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, George Braque to Maurice De Vlaminck led the Fauvism movement and great artists like Pablo Picasso to his neighbor George Braque with Salvador Dali to Marcel Duchamp.
Though art gets defined in a particular way, but by nature art is way to redefine our creative expression, a process of self discovery, a medium of visual delight, an concept conveyed in colors, geometry and a combination of pattern, rhythm and proportion. There are certain rules to create the composition but rules are merely a guiding mechanism, and great artists have their ways of breaking those rules, they do so boldly and beautifully and setting new ways, and we call them trends.
Accordingly to Leo Tolstoy, “Art is the activity by which a person, having experienced an emotion, intentionally transmits to others”.
Art is not merely an act of creative exercise but art is body of passion that pervades the conventional boundary and builds on an idea that influences the collective wisdom of the society. The impact is long and deep, society embraces it slowly but certainly the dynamics of thoughts undergoes a shift in its routine path. Every painting tells a story, artists are storyteller, they play with imagery and the stories has a rooting in the varied events and multiplicity of things happening in the society that have affected the fundamental working, living and thinking of people of that society.
Art is such an important aspect of any society, just that it is not easy to understand and not simple to explain, but the message it carries is deeply profound and the movement art brings in any society is powerfully driven. Great artist think from their heart and their art makes the other to change their mind and the connection of mind through such visionary ideas only multiplies over time, and we see the sudden onset of revolutions. But these revolutions had their seeded in such diverse art works of these great artists…the philosophers and the thinkers. Art makes a massive difference in the way society perceives and progresses in its journey of life…but it gets unduly underestimated when placed with the innovation of science and the impact of science are instantly visible and effects are vehemently vocal.
Art tells story about science, literature, history, mythology and civilization that has gone by and we human beings are perennially curious to know about everything from the quest to the conquest that has happened in our society over the centuries.
Curiosity is at the bedrock of human mind and it keeps questioning and the queries are interesting and mostly intriguing, just that we always don’t have an appropriate answer or a satisfying response.
Mona Lisa to Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, Sistine Chapel to Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, School of Athens by Raphael Sanzio, Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon to Guernica by Pablo Picasso, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee to The Night Watch by Rembrandt Van Rijn, Girl with a Pearl Ring by Johannes Vermeer, The Scream by Edward Munch to Café Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh are few of the masterpieces that has masterly crafted their way into the history book that has stood the test of time.
And it is motionless but it keep evoking the emotions even after many centuries and eras gone by…the stories resonates with equal vigor and vitality, are illuminated without the light and the enticement, engaging us with the voice of color and space.
Art work is always a beautiful composition worked out of the creative imagination of artists. And these great artists imagine an image and then they manage to craftily transfer that fluid image from a state of imagination into a solid state of reality, and the canvas becomes their mirror.
Things keep happening around us and the society is witness to those events and few of these events then become the harbinger of major revolution, and we have history loaded with revolution that has crafted the course of our existence. Though scientific invention and innovation has changed the way we live life and the way life has lightened itself from the darker shades and lifted from the deeper state of problems, as human beings we need the sublime and surreal aspects of life…the sense of beauty, the sensory taste, appreciation of nature, the natural composition and the mystery of life and there is so much beyond the realm of science and rationality.
It is primarily through these subtle set of recourse, just by reconnecting with these great work of arts that makes us to pause and ponder, and then being able to deeply understand and profoundly appreciate the missing facets in our life, the nuanced life and a precursor to get spiritually connected…it’s all about holistically facilitating our inner consciousness, the art of acting meticulously, mathematically linking the missing moments on the magical canvas of our life.
Suddenly, the dots get connected.
The picture emerges…
Art is a jigsaw puzzle!!!
Nihar R Pradhan