What is art? What is the connection between art and wine? These were some of the questions a few of us discussed some days back. It was at the Art & Wine event at Ramada Resort that was promoted by Paul George (on the right in photo), a well known art connoisseur and business man of Cochin, and Sulu Wines. The opening lamp was lit by Mr. K. Ramachandran Nair (on the left in photo), who has contributed so much for the promotion of art with his galleries.
Perhaps it would be correct to say that art relates to skill, expression and imagination. A portrait is a matter of skill. The artist studies the subject keenly and translates the details to the canvas as perfectly as he can. A few sittings may be required to complete a portrait. Does the final product contain any imagination or expression of the artist? It should not. It would be almost like a photograph. Copying landscape is more or less the same.
An artist of course may use models to create imaginary situations. The pose and expressions of the model/s come with imagination of the artist. An illustration of this can be found in the painting by the great artist Raja Ravi Varma reproduced below:
It portrays the parting of King Pururavas and Apsaras Urvashi. The situation is a sad one. The king is uncertain whether they will ever meet again. Urvashi has a better understanding of what the future would be. The Royal Painter has so brilliantly brought this on the faces of his subjects in the painting.
A photographer is an artist too. He can use methods that are not artificial to transform his subject into a condition that he visualises in his mind. Saying ‘cheese’ is not what I mean. I am thinking of the famous photo of Winston Churchill which Yousuf Karsh took on 30 December 1941 at the Canadian Parliament House premises. The British PM had made a successful speech to the MPs and had come out smiling.
What Karsh wanted was a stern looking Churchill. He set his camera and quickly moved near the PM and pulled the cigar from the man’s mouth. By the time Karsh got back to his camera, Churchill’s face was belligerent. That was how the famous photo of Churchill that came to be known as The Angry Lion was created. Here it is:
When an artist gives expression to what he feels about an object, he does not normally go in for details. See this one:
(Annie Tharakan. Copyright Reserved.)
It is supposed to be sunset. The clouds are not shown in detail. The artist has presented her impression of sunset, and it is beautiful. It was done by my granddaughter Annie Tharakan (please also see Olakkuda – Palmyra leaf umbrella and The tooth fairy came by...) when she was eight years old. Another painting she did at that time hangs in the office room of the Executive Director of a Chennai company. Unfortunately she does not paint these days.
(Linu John. Copyright Reserved)
Also see Popularizing Raja Ravi Varma
Click on the pictures to enlarge. The Karsh photo and Ravi Varma painting given here are in the public domain