Take 5 : Random Art Facts

1. Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest known work is a drawing of the Arno valley in pen and ink, dated August 5th, 1473.

leonardos-arno-landscape

Arno landscape; Leonardo da Vinci; 1473

2. Pablo Picasso’s full name has 23 words in it: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. In keeping with tradition, named after saints and relatives.

3. Salvador Dali once delivered a lecture wearing a complete diving suit that almost suffocated him by the end of it all. Imagine attending that lecture!

Salvador Dali (in diving suit) with friends.

Salvador Dali (in diving suit) with friends.

4. Before turning to art, Vincent van Gogh aspired to become a pastor. He felt his true calling was in the religious discourses, making him extremely passionate about preaching. He temporarily took up a job as a missionary in the coal-mining district of Borinage, Belgium.

5. There was a movement known as the “fig-leaf campaign” in the Counter Reformation period (after the Renaissance) during which statues were draped with cloth or carved fig leaves over the visible male genitalia. It is also said that a box with fig leaves was kept behind the copy of the David by Michelangelo in the Victoria and Albert museum, for the occasion when women were present. Talk about planned coverage!

Cristo della Minerva; Michelangelo

Cristo della Minerva; Michelangelo

Advertisements

Jack the Dripper feat. Jackson Pollock

Autumn Rhythm (no. 30); Jackson Pollock; 1950

Autumn Rhythm (Number 30); Jackson Pollock; 1950

Art is the most intense mode of individualism the world has known ~ Oscar Wilde

Jackson Pollock is a tough cookie, my love for the complexity with which each canvas is webbed makes it intriguing to attempt an understanding of why he occupies such an important position in the transition of art. His canvases deceive you to believe that they are just dribbles of paint, easy to duplicate. But the sheer size and energy of the paintings make you feel small, it’s these two contradictory emotions that make him stand tall in the realms of American art.

Jackson Pollock at work in East Hampton on Long Island, New York

Jackson Pollock at work in East Hampton on Long Island, New York

In all fairness, it can be intimidating sometimes to stand before an artwork, trying to decipher what it’s all about. Take Jackson Pollock, for instance. I’ve had the most troubled time with his works, struggling to grasp onto something. When you see an image of his work for the first time it strikes you as a farce, someone trying to pass on splashes as an artwork, but the more you see the more it intrigues you – I say this from my own experience! A brilliant artist from the Abstract Expressionist movement of art, complete with the makings of one: intense love, alcoholism and a tragic end. Breaking away from the representational painting, he was a master of the action painting technique, where the physical act of attacking the canvas with colors defines the painting rather than the finished product. His contribution of rebellion and intuitive dripping of paint revolutionized American art and led to a different direction of painting and sculpture. More scope for rebellion always signifies a twist in the plot of upcoming art. Even if you decide to dismiss his art, you can never take away his role in the movement of art and shaping its future.

In the early 20th century, artists preferred to experiment beyond the conventional modes of the creating artworks with the mundane paint and brush. Using the drip painting, provided them with the opportunity to fling paint onto the canvas with sticks and syringes in a swift movement, resulting in a painting that was irreversible and could not be replicated. The idea of not planning or the final product and incorporating the element of time, chance and the subconscious made it a unique experience for the painter. This excitement drove them to crave the aggression that came along with action painting, not knowing what the result of their passion would turn out to be. In this, our very own Jack the Dripper was a genius!

So much about his style of painting. Signing off with a few images of Jackson Pollock’s work, and a video of him at work with a bit of details in their titles. Enjoy!

Displayed in Pollock's first solo exhibition, this painting was the first of the artist to be acquired by the MoMA in New York.

She-Wolf; Jackson Pollock; 1943

Displayed in Pollock’s first solo exhibition, this painting was the first of the artist to be acquired by the MoMA in New York.

No._5,_1948

No.5, 1948; Jackson Pollock; 1948

It’s the second most expensive painting ever sold, clocking in $140 million in 2006.

Summertime: Number 9A 1948 by Jackson Pollock 1912-1956

Summertime: Number 9A; Jackson Pollock; 1948

The rhythms in Summertime reflect his belief that “The modern artist … is working and expressing an inner world – in other words expressing the energy, the motion, and other inner forces”. (Tate Modern)

Crossing the Threshold

Art can be a bore, I know. Trudging through galleries and museums as a child, going through hours of faffing bums and pseudo talk as I grew up, there comes a time when you can see through all the noise and crave for the very “essence” of communication. The first question that always pops up with every work of an artist is : Is there anything the she/he is trying to say? Anything at all? 

And that’s just one step short of being addicted!

Judith I, Gustav Klimt, 1901

Judith I, Gustav Klimt, 1901

Curiosity always got the better of me, and the quest to figure out what all the commotion was about. There’s always more to see, always something better or something worse. Along the way, it narrows down to what you like to see, it changes constantly and evolves in taste, till you find a niche that suits your palette. It’s where you pause and think, a smile here or a smirk there. That’s the sort of reaction that art triggers if you give it the right attitude and space to communicate. It might be something as simple as Banksy‘s dynamic street art or Marcel Duchamp‘s hilarious Mona Lisa with a mustache, one might make you think and the other might just get away with a chuckle. Point is, at least it got your attention!

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, 1908

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, 1908

 It’s an increasingly small world, jet-setting with high connectivity at all times. Traveling extensively and exploring new cultures, there is always time for a dash of art everywhere. This certainly doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours in museums or take up an entire day, it just means to expose yourself to a burst of color for an hour or two. We had one night in rainy Vienna landed us at the Belvedere Museum, where I saw works of Gustav Klimt for the very first time. Easily bored teenagers, my brother and I were on the brink of throwing a tantrum, when we walked into a roomful of the works of Klimt, two of which still stand vivid in memory, sparkling in a glorious gold aura, mesmerizing us into stunned silence. The Kiss and Judith I, you have to see them shimmering, if you get a chance to, not the bland internet reproductions that you see here!

For days after, all we could talk about was Klimt, reading fun books that we picked at the souvenir shop and making pencil doodles throughout the rest of our travel. Our parents must’ve thought us mad with the inside jokes and sneaky doodle competitions. Subconsciously, our career paths altered, my brother went on to become an artist (highly inspired by Klimt) and I turned to capturing visual imagery in words and its understanding. Even if it doesn’t make a life changing impact, it’s worth a visual treat. There’s nothing I can call “bad art”, it’s just relative to personal taste.

Art is not a bore, it can be if you let it. Be the person to explore something you don’t necessarily “understand”, the one who visits museums. Cross the threshold and leave the world behind, they will take jabs at you anyway. Art, on the other hand will nod in peaceful acceptance. Be curious.

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~ Pablo Picasso