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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lucky us, some of them find Édouard Manet's fingers!

Today January 23 2012 is 180th birth anniversary of Édouard Manet


Manet’s message? That the whole modern world is dangerous, shifty and strange. The camera is just a byproduct and symptom of this altered condition. We must struggle for comprehension; art can help, up to a point. But the old bearings don’t moor us. We’re on our own.

(The New York Times, May 16, 2011)

Édouard Manet:

I am influenced by everbody. But every time I put my hands in my pockets I find someone else's fingers there.

When I put my hands in my pocket I find no fingers, not even my own because I understand so little of the subject of drawing and painting!

It was my weakest subject from kindergarten to the end of second year of engineering. I was so horrified by engineering drawing that I seriously thought of ditching engineering until the late Bam-sir (बाम-सर) came along to rescue me. Also, my younger brother helped me with biology journal of 12th and many journals of engineering.

It's a marvel of Indian higher education system that a person so weak in the subject of drawing gets away with calling himself a mechanical engineer!

When I reached IIT-Madras, it was a big relief to see all academic building blocks marked as "sciences" e.g. "mechanical sciences" except civil which was marked "civil engineering".

Had I arrived at the right place?

And yet I keep chasing pictures, drawings, paintings...all visual arts. Why won't I when the world has artists like Édouard Manet?

Look at the following picture.

I haven't seen more beautiful and funnier picture than this all my life.

Look at the man, his both hands, middle-finger of his left, his right-hand grip on the glass. Follow his eyes. Look at his bow-tie, his sideburn, his moustache...

Is he listening to the lady at all? Is he seducing her? The lady seems to be charmed. I keep wondering what he would do next...will he kiss her lightly on the lips?...

Look at the waiter. What is he looking at or waiting for?

When I see this picture, a lot of quality pictures of 20th century, including some great cartoons, don't surprise me. Manet anticipates them.

Manet has said: Conciseness in art is essential and a refinement. The concise man makes one think; the verbose bores. Always work towards conciseness.

And what else are cartoons if not conciseness?

Artist: Édouard Manet, 'Chez le père Lathuille' ('The Garden of Pere Lathuille'), 1879

Location: The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tournai, Belgium

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Do a lot of today's artists find his fingers every time they put their hands in their pockets?

The Simpsons has assembled quite a portfolio of allusions to fine art. One of them- below right- is to 'The Luncheon on the Grass' by Manet (1862-63) on below left.

More more such allusions, visit The Simpsons Park.