G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Damayanti, Of Ravi Varma and Paul Delvaux

Raja Ravi Varma's Damayanti (featuring below left) always brings memories of Datta Mandir of Miraj. The temple displayed many images of his paintings based on the themes from Indian mythology.

"Damayanti was a princess of Vidarbha Kingdom. She was of such beauty and grace that even gods could not stop from admiring her. She fell in love with Nala simply from hearing about his virtues and accomplishments from a golden swan..." (Wikipedia)

To be honest, Varma's this painting doesn't do justice to the beauty of Damayanti. (In fact, I was never infatuated by his portraits of women. Diminutive, they all look slightly old in their nine-yard, pallu-covering-their-entire-bosom sarees.)

This is what swan said to Damayanti:"...Among men there no one like him. O Fair-faced One, if yon were only his wife! We have seen gods, Gandharvas,! snakes, und demons, but never a creature which was Nala's equal. You are the jewel of women; Nala is the most excellent of men. If you were to marry each other, your union would be the most distinguished in all the earth."

I came to know of Paul Delvaux while reading about J G Ballard. I find Delvaux's images of nude women most haunting, disturbing but attractive at the same time.

"...The young Delvaux took music lessons, studied Greek and Latin, and absorbed the fiction of Jules Verne and the poetry of Homer. All of his work was to be influenced by these readings, starting with his earliest drawings showing mythological scenes..." (Wikipedia)

Look at the picture below on the right. It's called "Leda" (1948). She's not Damayanti.

Or is she?

Where is Delvaux's Damayanti looking? What did the swan tell her?

World is a small place.




<-Artist: Ravi Varma
->Artist: Paul Delvaux