Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The path of a painting brush

Today, Paul Cezanne’s 172nd Birth day being remembered by Google, by portraying in its Home Page.
Paul Cezanne January 19, 1839 - October 22, 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cezanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cezanne "is the father of us all" cannot be easily dismissed.
Cezanne's work demonstrates a mastery of design, color, composition and draftsmanship. His often repetitive, sensitive and exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of color and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields; at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature. The paintings convey Cezanne's intense study of his subjects, a searching gaze and a dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.

After seeing this article and the paintings in the web, I thought I should remember the King among the Painters “Raja Ravi Varma”, of “Paul Cezanne and Theodor Jenson” era.
From my child-hood days I used to wonder Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings from the calendars of 50s and 60s. The path of the brush cannot be seen in the paintings.


Raja Ravi Varma was born on April 29,1848 at Kilimanoor Palace as the son of Umamba Thampuratti and Neelakandan Bhattathiripad. As a boy of five, he filled the walls of his house with pictures of animals and illustrations from everyday life using charcoal. His uncle, the artist Raja Raja Varma recognized his talents and gave him elementary art lessons. At the age of 14, Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja took him to Travancore Palace and he was taught water painting by the palace painter Rama Swamy Naidu. .  During these formative years the young Ravi Varma had many opportunities to discover and learn new techniques and media in the field of painting. After 3 years Theodor Jenson, a British painter taught him oil painting.   Ravi Varma is considered as modern among traditionalists and a rationalist among moderns. He provided a vital link between the traditional Indian art and the contemporary, between the Thanjavoor School and Western Academic realism.  He brought Indian painting to the attention of the larger world. Raja" was a title given to him in recognition of his talent. But Ravi Varma was certainly more than an artist. He was richly educated and, unknown to many, also a poet, painting with words as well as color. Returning from a pan-India tour, he composed a poem, Manasa Yatra, or ''Journey of the mind". Ravi Varma wrote mukthakas, single verses in praise of Hindu deities, and also the eight-versed ashtakas. He sang often of Devi Mookambika, one of his favorite deities. His poems were mostly in Sanskrit, but he also composed a few in his native Malayalam. Most of his paintings are based on Hindu epic stories and characters. In 1873 he won the First Prize at the Madras Painting Exhibition. He became a world famous Indian painter after winning in 1873 Vienna Exhibition. He traveled the length and breadth of the country in search of subjects and experience, which was an eye-opener to him in shaping and sharpening his artistic outlook. His later years spent in Mysore, Baroda and other parts of the country, enabled him to sharpen and expand his skills and blossom into a mature and complete painter.   He breathed his last on October 2, 1906, a century ago. Masterpieces, originally painted in oil, are now part of India's National Heritage. These extremely hard to find paintings, are today only left in the Museums or in the private royal collections of the erstwhile Royal Dynasties of India.  We have a collection of his classic paintings that are reprinted on High Quality Museum Grade artist's Canvas.