Book writing and publishing is an art. Nothing gives more pleasure than holding a book which has been put together with utmost care, compiled with clear illustrations, written by experts in the field who exercise restraint and do not give in to the temptation of showing off their knowledge and expertise before general audience. Books teach and books charm. This was the impression I formed after going through the book Manet and Modern Beauty by Scott Allan, Emily A Beeny, Gloria Groom (Editors). Continue reading
It was a dinner party. While food was getting ready, the host entertained his guests by raising several topics for discussion and entertainment. It was mostly for entertainment, as such parties are seldom an occasion for serious intellectual discussion. If someone makes any political statement, or explains any scientific theory or shares some issues of personal life, it should be considered as such without giving too much importance to it. It is just a social gathering and communication is the only objective there. In other words, contacts, relationship, communication is the primary goal there and the subject of discussion is secondary, just serving as a foundation or medium for that discussion to take place. This is important to note because time and again we come across occasions when a dinner party was spoiled by some stupid discussion on politics and/or religion. That is why these two topics are in general ‘prohibited’ from after-dinner discussions. Continue reading
In a story published in Bengali magazine Anandamela, a child used to boast about the various precious items in his grandfather’s house. His friend remarked, ‘Who knows, if he searches carefully, he may even find Kanishka’s head!’
Kanishka’s head — one of the several unsolved problems in Indian history. I hesitate in calling it a ‘mystery’ because there is no mysterious element or secrecy as such. So if you are expecting something sensational, you might be disappointed. The problem is a very simple one, and is most probably due to missing links and lost history. Some day someone may find valuable information that would bring the missing pieces together and complete the picture. Till then, we would have to wait.
In an amusing short story, Satyajit Ray narrated a funny incident in the life of an artist. This artist had worked for several days on an oil painting that he titled ‘The Somnambulist’, and which he wanted to submit as his entry in a competition sponsored by the Academy of Fine Arts of the state government. On the last date of submission, instead of sending his painting, by mistake he dispatched the cloth that he had used to wipe and clean his brushes. However, the organizers considered that dirty cloth to be a modern art work and selected it for the first prize!
For most of us, this incomprehensibility is the underlying criterion for any work of art to be classified as ‘modern art’. It goes to an extreme that whenever we fail to understand any artwork, we label it as modern art! Continue reading