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."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Goya @270...Even in India, He Seems So Close to Our Reach ...

Today March 30 2016 is 270th Birth Anniversary of Francisco Goya


Robert Hughes writes in his much lauded book 'Goya', 2003:

"...The main reason that I started thinking about Goya with some regularity lay in the peculiar culture whose tail end I encountered when I went to live and work in America in 1970. It had almost been eviscerated of all human depiction. Of course it had plenty of human presence, but that was another matter. Here was America, riven to the point of utter desolation over the most bitterly resented conflict it had embarked on since the Civil War. Vietnam was tearing the country apart, and where was the art that recorded America’s anguish? Well, there was art—most of it, with a few honorable exceptions like Leon Golub, of a mediocre sort, the kind of “protest” art more notable for its polemics than its esthetic qualities. But in general there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that came near the achievement of Goya’s Desastres de la guerra, those heartrending prints in which the artist bore witness to the almost unspeakable facts of death in the Spanish rising against Napoleon, and in doing so became the first modern visual reporter on warfare. Nor did there seem to be any painting (and still less, any sculpture) produced by an American that could have sustained comparison with Goya’s painting of the execution of the Spanish patriots on the third of May, 1808. Clearly, there were some things that moral indignation could not do on its own..."

Now imagine what all we missed by not having our own Goya in India....


...imagine him painting cruelty of the practice of Sutti...Indian Rebellion of 1857...Jalianwala Bagh....hanging of Bhagat Singh....exploitation of Dalits....decadence and opulence in Indian palaces...romance of Indian railways...light and colours of Diwali/Holi...Nautch girls...first showers of monsoon...

(By the way- I have already fantasized about his presence at an important political event in India here: "
शनिवारवाड्यात गोया!")



 Goya’s ‘Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga’ (1788)

"...Even while he was following the protocols of aristocratic portraiture, Goya just couldn’t stop himself noticing — and depicting — all sorts of extraneous and revealing sights. Cats, their eyes bulging with ferocious greed, wait to pounce on the pet bird held on a string by the dandified toddler, ‘Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga’ (1788). There are such subversive undertones and notes of sardonic comedy to many of his pictures..."
(The Spectator, UK, October 10 2015)



Robert Hughes again:

“...Goya was a mighty celebrant of pleasure. You know he loved everything that was sensuous: the smell of an orange or a girl’s armpit; the whiff of tobacco and the aftertaste of wine; the twanging rhythms of a street dance; the play of light on taffeta, watered silk, plain cotton; the afterglow expanding in a summer evening’s sky or the dull gleam of a shotgun’s well-carved walnut butt. You do not need to look far for his images of pleasure; they pervade his work, from the early tapestry designs he did for the Spanish royal family—the majas and majos picnicking and dancing on the green banks of the Manzanares outside Madrid, the children playing toreadors, the excited crowds—right through to the challenging sexuality of The Naked Maja.
But he was also one of the few great describers of physical pain, outrage, insult to the body... Goya truly was a realist, one of the first and greatest in European art...
 

...Most of the Spanish artists who were Goya’s contemporaries—Agustín Esteve, Joaquín Inza, Antonio Carnicero, and others—left no trace of opinions about society and politics in their work. They were craftsmen; they made their likenesses, did the job expected of them, and that was all. Goya was a very different creature; he could see and experience nothing without forming some opinion about it, and this opinion showed in his work, often in terms of the utmost passion. This, too, was part of his modernity, and another reason why he still seems so close to our reach, though we are separated by so much time..." 

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