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बुधवार, 8 सितंबर 2010

Aesthetics/Indian Art

Aesthetics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aesthetics (also spelled æsthetics or esthetics) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty.[1] It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste.[2] More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature."[3][4] Aesthetics is a subdiscipline of axiology, a branch of philosophy, and is closely associated with the philosophy ofart.[5] Aesthetics studies new ways of seeing and of perceiving the world.[6]

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[edit]Etymology

The term "aesthetics" was coined in the German form Æsthetik (modern spelling Ästhetik) by Alexander Baumgarten in 1735. It was derived from the Greek αισθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning "esthetic-sensitive-sentient"), which in turn was derived from αίσθηση-αισθάνομαι (aisthese-aisthanomai, meaning "to perceive-feel-sense").[7]

[edit]Aesthetic judgment

Judgments of aesthetic value rely on our ability to discriminate at a sensory level. Aesthetics examines our affective domain response to an object or phenomenon. Immanuel Kant, writing in 1790, observes of a man "If he says that canary wine is agreeable he is quite content if someone else corrects his terms and reminds him to say instead: It is agreeable to me," because "Everyone has his own (sense of) taste". The case of "beauty" is different from mere "agreeableness" because, "If he proclaims something to be beautiful, then he requires the same liking from others; he then judges not just for himself but for everyone, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things."

Aesthetic judgments usually go beyond sensory discrimination. For David Hume, delicacy of taste is not merely "the ability to detect all the ingredients in a composition", but also our sensitivity "to pains as well as pleasures, which escape the rest of mankind." (Essays Moral Political and Literary. Indianapolis, Literary Classics 5, 1987.) Thus, the sensory discrimination is linked to capacity for pleasure. For Kant "enjoyment" is the result when pleasure arises from sensation, but judging something to be "beautiful" has a third requirement: sensation must give rise to pleasure by engaging our capacities of reflective contemplation. Judgments of beauty are sensory, emotional and intellectual all at once.

Viewer interpretations of beauty possess two concepts of value: aesthetics and taste. Aesthetics is the philosophical notion of beauty. Taste is a result of education and awareness of elite cultural values; therefore taste can be learned. Taste varies according to class, cultural background, and education. According to Kant, beauty is objective and universal; thus certain things are beautiful to everyone. The contemporary view of beauty is not based on innate qualities, but rather on cultural specifics and individual interpretations.

[edit]Factors involved in aesthetic judgment

Judgments of aesthetic value seem often to involve many other kinds of issues as well. Responses such as disgust show that sensory detection is linked in instinctual ways to facial expressions, and even behaviors like the gag reflex. Yet disgust can often be a learned or cultural issue too; as Darwin pointed out, seeing a stripe of soup in a man's beard is disgusting even though neither soup nor beards are themselves disgusting. Aesthetic judgments may be linked to emotions or, like emotions, partially embodied in our physical reactions. Seeing a sublime view of a landscape may give us a reaction of awe, which might manifest physically as an increased heart rate or widened eyes. These unconscious reactions may even be partly constitutive of what makes our judgment a judgment that the landscape is sublime.

Likewise, aesthetic judgments may be culturally conditioned to some extent. Victorians in Britain often saw African sculpture as ugly, but just a few decades later, Edwardian audiences saw the same sculptures as being beautiful. The Abuse of Beauty, Evaluations of beauty may well be linked to desirability, perhaps even to sexual desirability. Thus, judgments of aesthetic value can become linked to judgments of economic,political, or moral value.[8] In a current context, one might judge a Lamborghini to be beautiful partly because it is desirable as a status symbol, or we might judge it to be repulsive partly because it signifies for us over-consumption and offends our political or moral values.[9]

"Part and Parcel in Animal and Human Societies". in Studies in animal and human behavior, vol. 2. pp. 115–195. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1971 (originally pub. 1950.) Aesthetic judgments can often be very fine-grained and internally contradictory. Likewise aesthetic judgments seem often to be at least partly intellectual and interpretative. It is what a thing means or symbolizes for us that is often what we are judging. Modern aestheticians have asserted that will and desire were almost dormant in aesthetic experience, yet preference and choice have seemed important aesthetics to some 20th century thinkers. The point is already made by Hume, but see Mary Mothersill, "Beauty and the Critic’s Judgment", in The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics, 2004. Thus aesthetic judgments might be seen to be based on the senses, emotions, intellectual opinions, will, desires, culture, preferences, values, subconscious behavior, conscious decision, training, instinct, sociological institutions, or some complex combination of these, depending on exactly which theory one employs.

Anthropology, especially the savanna hypothesis proposed by Gordon Orians and others, predicts that some of the positive aesthetics that people have are based on innate knowledge of productive human habitats. It had been shown that people prefer and feel happier looking at trees with spreading forms much more than looking at trees with other forms, or non-tree objects;[citation needed] also Bright green colors, linked with healthy plants with good nutrient qualities, were more calming than other tree colors, including less bright greens and oranges.

[edit]Are different art forms beautiful, disgusting, or boring in the same way?

A third major topic in the study of aesthetic judgments is how they are unified across art forms. We can call a person, a house, a symphony, a fragrance, and a mathematical proof beautiful. What characteristics do they share which give them that status? What possible feature could a proof and a fragrance both share in virtue of which they both count as beautiful? What makes a painting beautiful is quite different from what makes music beautiful, which suggests that each art form has its own language for the judgement of aesthetics.[10]

At the same time, there is seemingly quite a lack of words to express oneself accurately when making an aesthetic judgment. An aesthetic judgment cannot be an empirical judgement. Therefore, due to impossibility for precision, there is confusion about what interpretations can be culturally negotiated. Due to imprecision in the standard English language, two completely different feelings experienced by two different people can be represented by an identical verbal expression. Wittgenstein stated this in his lectures on aesthetics and language games.

A collective identification of beauty, with willing participants in a given social spectrum, may be a socially negotiated phenomenon, discussed in a culture or context. Is there some underlying unity to aesthetic judgment and is there some way to articulate the similarities of a beautiful house, beautiful proof, and beautiful sunset?[11] Defining it requires a description of the entire phenomenon, as Wittgenstein argued in his lectures on aesthetics. Likewise there has been long debate on how perception of beauty in the natural world, especially perception of the human form as beautiful, is supposed to relate to perceiving beauty in art orartefacts. This goes back at least to Kant, with some echoes even in St. Bonaventure.[citation needed]

[edit]Aesthetics and the philosophy of art

Aesthetics is for the artist as Ornithology is for the birds.

Aesthetics is used by some as a synonym for the philosophy of art since Hegel, while others insist on a distinction between these closely related fields. In practice aesthetic judgement refers to the sensory contemplation or appreciation of an object (not necessarily an art object), while artistic judgement refers to the recognition, appreciation or criticism of art or an art work.

The philosophical aesthetics has not only to speak about art and to produce judgments about the art works, but has also to give a definition of what art is. Art is an autonomous entity for the philosophy, because art deals with the senses (i. e. the etymology of aesthetics) and art is as such free of any moral or political purpose. Hence, there are two different conceptions of art in the aesthetics : art as knowledge or art as action, but aesthetics is neither epistemology nor ethics[14].

[edit]What is "art"?

How best to define the term “art” is a subject of constant contention; many books and journal articles have been published arguing over even the basics of what we mean by the term “art”.[15] Theodor Adornoclaimed in 1969 “It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident.”[16][17] Artists, philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists and programmers all use the notion of art in their respective fields, and give it operational definitions that vary considerably. Furthermore, it is clear that even the basic meaning of the term "art" has changed several times over the centuries, and has continued to evolve during the 20th century as well.

The main recent sense of the word “art” is roughly as an abbreviation for creative art or “fine art.” Here we mean that skill is being used to express the artist’s creativity, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of the “finer” things. Often, if the skill is being used in a functional object, people will consider it a craft instead of art, a suggestion which is highly disputed by many Contemporary Craft thinkers. Likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way it may be considered design instead of art, or contrariwise these may be defended as art forms, perhaps called applied art. Some thinkers, for instance, have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with the actual function of the object than any clear definitional difference.[18]Art usually implies no function other than to convey or communicate an idea.

Even as late as 1912 it was normal in the West to assume that all art aims at beauty, and thus that anything that wasn't trying to be beautiful couldn't count as art. The cubists, dadaists, Stravinsky, and many later art movements struggled against this conception that beauty was central to the definition of art, with such success that, according to Danto, "Beauty had disappeared not only from the advanced art of the 1960’s but from the advanced philosophy of art of that decade as well."[16] Perhaps some notion like "expression" (in Croce’s theories) or "counter-environment" (in McLuhan’s theory) can replace the previous role of beauty. Brian Massumi brought back "beauty" into consideration together with "expression".[19] Another concept, as important to the philosophy of art as "beauty," is that of the "sublime," elaborated upon in the twentieth century by the postmodern philosopher Jean-François Lyotard.

Perhaps (as in Kennick's theory) no definition of art is possible anymore. Perhaps art should be thought of as a cluster of related concepts in a Wittgensteinian fashion (as in Weitz or Beuys). Another approach is to say that “art” is basically a sociological category, that whatever art schools and museums and artists define as art is considered art regardless of formal definitions. This "institutional definition of art" (see alsoInstitutional Critique) has been championed by George Dickie. Most people did not consider the depiction of a Brillo Box or a store-bought urinal to be art until Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp (respectively) placed them in the context of art (i.e., the art gallery), which then provided the association of these objects with the associations that define art.

Proceduralists often suggest that it is the process by which a work of art is created or viewed that makes it art, not any inherent feature of an object, or how well received it is by the institutions of the art world after its introduction to society at large. Whereas if exactly the same set of words was written by a journalist, intending them as shorthand notes to help him write a longer article later, these would not be a poem. Leo Tolstoy, on the other hand, claims that what makes something art or not is how it is experienced by its audience, not by the intention of its creator. Functionalists like Monroe Beardsley argue that whether or not a piece counts as art depends on what function it plays in a particular context; the same Greek vase may play a non-artistic function in one context (carrying wine), and an artistic function in another context (helping us to appreciate the beauty of the human figure). '

See also: Classificatory disputes about art

[edit]What should we judge when we judge art?

Art can be difficult at the metaphysical and ontological levels as well as at the value theory level. When we see a performance of Hamlet, how many works of art are we experiencing, and which should we judge? Perhaps there is only one relevant work of art, the whole performance, which many different people have contributed to, and which will exist briefly and then disappear. Perhaps the manuscript by Shakespeare is a distinct work of art from the play by the troupe, which is also distinct from the performance of the play by this troupe on this night, and all three can be judged, but are to be judged by different standards.

Perhaps every person involved should be judged separately on his or her own merits, and each costume or line is its own work of art (with perhaps the director having the job of unifying them all). Similar problems arise for music, film and even painting. Is one to judge the painting itself, the work of the painter, or perhaps the painting in its context of presentation by the museum workers?

These problems have been made even more difficult by the rise of conceptual art since the 1960s. Warhol’s famous Brillo Boxes are nearly indistinguishable from actual Brillo boxes at the time. It would be a mistake to praise Warhol for the design of his boxes (which were designed by Steve Harvey), yet the conceptual move of exhibiting these boxes as art in a museum together with other kinds of paintings is Warhol's. Are we judging Warhol’s concept? His execution of the concept in the medium? The curator’s insight in letting Warhol display the boxes? The overall result? Our experience or interpretation of the result? Ontologically, how are we to think of the work of art? Is it a physical object? Several objects? A class of objects? A mental object? A fictional object? An abstract object? An event? Or simply an Act?

[edit]What should art be like?

Many goals have been argued for art, and aestheticians often argue that some goal or another is superior in some way. Clement Greenberg, for instance, argued in 1960 that each artistic medium should seek that which makes it unique among the possible mediums and then purify itself of anything other than expression of its own uniqueness as a form.[20] The Dadaist Tristan Tzara on the other hand saw the function of art in 1918 as the destruction of a mad social order. “We must sweep and clean. Affirm the cleanliness of the individual after the state of madness, aggressive complete madness of a world abandoned to the hands of bandits.”[21] Formal goals, creative goals, self-expression, political goals, spiritual goals, philosophical goals, and even more perceptual or aesthetic goals have all been popular pictures of what art should be like.

[edit]The value of art

Tolstoy defined art, and not incidentally characterized its value, this way: "Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them."

The value of art, then, is one with the value of empathy.

Other possible views are these: Art can act as a means to some special kind of knowledge. Art may give insight into the human condition. Art relates to science and religion. Art serves as a tool of education, or indoctrination, or enculturation. Art makes us more moral. It uplifts us spiritually. Art is politics by other means. Art has the value of allowing catharsis. In any case, the value of art may determine the suitability of an art form. Do they differ significantly in their values, or (if not) in their ability to achieve the unitary value of art?

But to approach the question of the value of art systematically, one ought to ask: for whom? For the artist? For the audience? For society at large, and/or for individuals beyond the audience? Is the "value" of art different in each of these different contexts?

Working on the intended value of art tends to help define the relations between art and other acts. Art clearly does have spiritual goals in many contexts, but what exactly is the difference between religious art and religion per se? The truth is complex - Art is both useless in a functional sense and the most important human activity.

An argument for the value of art, used in the fictional work 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', proceeds that, should some external force presenting imminent destruction of Earth, ask the inhabitants, of what use is humanity, what should humanity's response be? The argument continues that the only justification humanity could give for its continued existence would be the past creation and continued creation of things like a Shakespeare play, a Rembrandt painting or a Bach concerto. The suggestion is that these are the things of value which define humanity.[22]

[edit]Aesthetic universals

The philosopher Denis Dutton identified seven universal signatures in human aesthetics:[23]

  1. Expertise or virtuosity. Technical artistic skills are cultivated, recognized, and admired.
  2. Nonutilitarian pleasure. People enjoy art for art's sake, and don't demand that it keep them warm or put food on the table.
  3. Style. Artistic objects and performances satisfy rules of composition that place them in a recognizable style.
  4. Criticism. People make a point of judging, appreciating, and interpreting works of art.
  5. Imitation. With a few important exceptions like abstract painting, works of art simulate experiences of the world.
  6. Special focus. Art is set aside from ordinary life and made a dramatic focus of experience.

It might be objected, however, that there are rather too many exceptions to Dutton's categories. For example, the installations of the contemporary artist Thomas Hirschhorn deliberately eschew technical virtuosity. People can appreciate a Renaissance Madonna for aesthetic reasons, but such objects often had (and sometimes still have) specific devotional functions. 'Rules of composition' that might be read into Duchamp'sFountain or John Cage's 4'33" do not locate the works in a recognizable style (or certainly not a style recognizable at the time of the works' realisation). Moreover, some of Dutton's categories seem too broad: a physicist might entertain hypothetical worlds in his/her imagination in the course of formulating a theory.

Increasingly, academics in both the sciences and the humanities are looking to evolutionary psychology and cognitive science in an effort to understand the connection between psychology and aesthetics. Aside from Dutton, others exploring this realm include David Bordwell, Brian Boyd, Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Noel Carroll, Ellen Dissanayake, Nancy Easterlin, Bracha Ettinger, David Evans, Jonathan Gottschall,Torben Grodal, Paul Hernadi,, Patrick Hogan, Carl Plantinga, Rolf Reber, Elaine Scarry, Murray Smith, Wendy Steiner, Robert Storey, Frederick Turner, and Mark Turner.

[edit]Criticism

The philosophy of aesthetics has been criticized by some sociologists and writers about art and society. Raymond Williams argues that there is no unique aesthetic object but a continuum of cultural forms from ordinary speech to experiences that are signaled as art by a frame, institution or special event. Pierre Bourdieu also takes issue with Kant's aesthetics and argues that it represents an experience that is the product of an elevated class habitus and scholarly leisure.

[edit]History of aesthetics

[edit]Ancient aesthetics

We have examples of pre-historic art, but they are rare, and the context of their production and use is not very clear, so we can little more than guess at the aesthetic doctrines that guided their production and interpretation.

Ancient art was largely, but not entirely, based on the seven great ancient civilizations: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Persia, India and China. Each of these centers of early civilization developed a unique and characteristic style in its art. Greece had the most influence on the development of aesthetics in the West. This period of Greek art saw a veneration of the human physical form and the development of corresponding skills to show musculature, poise, beauty and anatomically correct proportions. Furthermore, in many Western and Eastern cultures alike, traits such as body hair are rarely depicted in art that addresses physical beauty.[citation needed] More in contrast with this Greek-Western aesthetic taste is the genre of grotesque.[24]

Greek philosophers initially felt that aesthetically appealing objects were beautiful in and of themselves. Plato felt that beautiful objects incorporated proportion, harmony, and unity among their parts. Similarly, in the Metaphysics, Aristotle found that the universal elements of beauty were order, symmetry, and definiteness.

[edit]Islamic aesthetics

Islamic art is not, properly speaking, an art pertaining to religion only. The term "Islamic" refers not only to the religion, but to any form of art created in an Islamic culture or in an Islamic context. It would also be a mistake to assume that all Muslims are in agreement on the use of art in religious observance, the proper place of art in society, or the relation between secular art and the demands placed on the secular world to conform to religious precepts. Islamic art frequently adopts secular elements and elements that are frowned upon, if not forbidden, by some Islamic theologians.[25]

According to Islam, human works of art are inherently flawed compared to the work of God; thus, it is believed by many that to attempt to depict in a realistic form any animal or person is insolence to God. This tendency has had the effect of narrowing the field of artistic possibility to such forms of art as Arabesque, mosaic, Islamic calligraphy, and Islamic architecture, as well as more generally any form of abstraction that can claim the status of non-representational art.

The limited possibilities have been explored by artists as an outlet to artistic expression, and has been cultivated to become a positive style and tradition, emphasizing the decorative function of art, or its religious functions via non-representational forms such as Geometric patterns, floral patterns, and arabesques.

Human or animal depiction is generally forbidden altogether in Islamic cultures because it is said to lead to sculptural pieces which then leads to worship of that scupture or "idol". Human portrayals can be found in early Islamic cultures with varying degrees of acceptance by religious authorities. Human representation for the purpose of worship that is uniformly considered idolatry as forbidden in Sharia law. There are manydepictions of Muhammad, Islam's chief prophet, in historical Islamic art.[26][27]

The calligraphic arts grew out an effort to devote oneself to the study of the Quran. By patiently transcribing each word of the text, the writer was made to contemplate the meaning of it. As time passed, these calligraphic works began to be prized as works of art, growing increasingly elaborate in the illumination and stylizing of the text. These illuminations were applied to other works besides the Quran, and it became a respected art form in and of itself.

[edit]Indian aesthetics

Indian art evolved with an emphasis on inducing special spiritual or philosophical states in the audience, or with representing them symbolically. According to Kapila Vatsyayan, "Classical Indian architecture,sculpture, painting, literature (kāvya), music, and dancing evolved their own rules conditioned by their respective media, but they shared with one another not only the underlying spiritual beliefs of the Indian religio-philosophic mind, but also the procedures by which the relationships of the symbol and the spiritual states were worked out in detail."

Of particular concern to Indian drama and literature is the term rasa referring generally to the emotional flavors crafted into the work by the writer and relished by a 'sensitive spectator' or sahṛdaya. Poets likeKālidāsa were attentive to rasa, which blossomed into a fully developed aesthetic system. Even in contemporary India the term rasa denoting "flavor" is used colloquially to describe the aesthetic experiences in films; "māsala mix" describes popular Hindi cinema films which serve a balanced emotional meal, savored as rasa by the spectator.

Rasa theory blossoms beginning with the Sanskrit text Nātyashāstra (nātya meaning "drama" and shāstra meaning "science of"), a work attributed to Bharata Muni where the Gods declare that drama is the 'Fifth Veda' because it is suitable for the degenerate age as the best form of religious instruction. While the date of composition varies wildly among scholars, ranging from the era of Plato and Aristotle to the seventh century CE. The Nātyashāstra presents the aesthetic concepts of rasas and their associated bhāvas in Chapters Six and Seven respectively, which appear to be independent of the work as a whole. Eight rasas and associated bhāvas are named and their enjoyment is likened to savoring a meal: rasa is the enjoyment of flavors that arise from the proper preparation of ingredients and the quality of ingredients. What rasa actually is, in a theoretical sense, is not discussed and given the Nātyashāstra's pithy wording it is unlikely the exact understanding of the original author(s) will be known.

The theory of the rasas develops significantly with the Kashmiri aesthetician Ãndandavardhana's classic on poetics, the Dhvanyāloka which introduces the ninth rasa, shānta-rasa as a specifically religious feeling of peace (śānta) which arises from its bhāva, weariness of the pleasures of the world. The primary purpose of this text is to refine the literary concept dhvani or poetic suggestion, by arguing for the existence of rasa-dhvani, primarily in forms of Sanskrit including a word, sentence or whole work "suggests" a real-world emotional state or bhāva, but thanks to aesthetic distance, the sensitive spectator relishes the rasa, the aesthetic flavor of tragedy, heroism or romance.

The 9th - 10th century master of the religious system known as "the nondual Shaivism of Kashmir" (or "Kashmir Shaivism") and aesthetician, Abhinavagupta brought rasa theory to its pinnacle in his separate commentaries on the Dhvanyāloka, the Dhvanyāloka-locana (translated by Ingalls, Masson and Patwardhan, 1992) and the Abhinavabharati, his commentary on the Nātyashāstra, portions of which are translated by Gnoli and Masson and Patwardhan. Abhinavagupta offers for the first time a technical definition of rasa which is the universal bliss of the Self or Atman colored by the emotional tone of a drama. Shānta-rasa functions as an equal member of the set of rasas but is simultaneously distinct being the most clear form of aesthetic bliss. Abhinavagupta likens it to the string of a jeweled necklace; while it may not be the most appealing for most people, it is the string that gives form to the necklace, allowing the jewels of the other eight rasas to be relished. Relishing the rasas and particularly shānta-rasa is hinted as being as-good-as but never-equal-to the bliss of Self-realization experienced by yogis.

[edit]Chinese aesthetics

Chinese art has a long history of varied styles and emphases. In ancient times philosophers were already arguing about aesthetics. Confucius emphasized the role of the arts and humanities (especially music and poetry) in broadening human nature and aiding “li” (etiquette, the rites) in bringing us back to what is essential about humanity. His opponent Mozi, however, argued that music and fine arts were classist and wasteful, benefiting the rich but not the common people.

By the 4th century A.D., artists were debating in writing over the proper goals of art as well. Gu Kaizhi has 3 surviving books on this theory of painting, for example, and it's not uncommon to find later artist/scholars who both create art and write about the creating of art. Religious and philosophical influence on art was common (and diverse) but never universal; it is easy to find art that largely ignores philosophy and religion in almost every Chinese time period.

[edit]African aesthetics

The Great Mosque's signature trio of minarets overlooks the central market of Djenné. Unique Malian aesthetic

African art existed in many forms and styles, and with fairly little influence from outside Africa. Most of it followed traditional forms and the aesthetic norms were handed down orally as well as written. Sculpture and performance art are prominent, and abstract and partially abstracted forms are valued, and were valued long before influence from the Western tradition began in earnest. The Nok culture is testimony to this. The mosque of Timbuktu shows that specific areas of Africa developed unique aesthetics.

[edit]Western medieval aesthetics

Surviving medieval art is largely religious in focus, and typically was funded by the State, Orthodox or Roman Catholic church, powerful ecclesiastical individuals, or wealthy secular patrons. Often the pieces have an intended liturgical function, such as chalices or churches.

Medieval Art Objects were made from rare and valuable materials, such as Gold and Lapis, the cost of which was often superior to the wages of the maker.

Art and aesthetic philosophy was a continuation of ancient lines of thought, with the additional use of explicit theological categories. St. Bonaventure’s “Retracing the Arts to Theology” discusses the skills of the artisan as gifts given by God for the purpose of disclosing God to mankind via four “lights”: the light of skill in mechanical arts which discloses the world of artifacts, as guided by the light of sense perception which discloses the world of natural forms, as guided by the light of philosophy which discloses the world of intellectual truth, as guided by the light of divine wisdom which discloses the world of saving truth.

Saint Thomas Aquinas' aesthetic theory is arguably more famous and influential among the medieval aesthetic theories, having been explicitly used in the writing of the famous writer James Joyce as well as many other influential 20th century authors. Thomas, as with many of the other medievals, never explicitly gives an account of "beauty" in itself, but the theory is reconstructed on the basis of disparate comments in a wide array of works. His theory follows the classical model of Aristotle, but with explicit formulation of beauty as "pulchrum transcendentale" or convertible with being among the other "transcendentals" such as "truth" and "goodness." Umberto Eco's The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas identifies the three main characteristics of beautiful things in Aquinas' philosophy as integritas, consonantia, and claritas. Aristotle identifies the first two characteristics, with the third being an "innovation" of Aquinas in the light of Platonic/neo-Platonic and Augustinian thought. In sum, medieval aesthetic, while not a unified system, presents a unique view of beauty that deserves an in-depth treatment in the history of art.Coleridge devises two analogous terms: multeity and unity, which lead to effulgence (Aquinas' claritas),arising from the other two, and then causing an "effluence of delight" in the perceiver. Gerard Manley Hopkins would later coin the terms inscape and instress to describe these effects.

Lorsch Gospels 778–820.Charlemagne's Court School.

As the medieval world shifts into the Renaissance, art again returns to focus on this world and on secular issues of human life. The philosophy of art of the ancient Greeks and Romans is re-appropriated.

[edit]Modern aesthetics

From the late 17th to the early 20th century Western aesthetics underwent a slow revolution into what is often called modernism. German and British thinkers emphasisedbeauty as the key component of art and of the aesthetic experience, and saw art as necessarily aiming at beauty.

For Baumgarten aesthetics is the science of the sense experiences, a younger sister of logic, and beauty is thus the most perfect kind of knowledge that sense experience can have. For Kant the aesthetic experience of beauty is a judgment of a subjective but universal truth, since all people should agree that “this rose is beautiful” if it in fact is. However, beauty cannot be reduced to any more basic set of features. For Schiller aesthetic appreciation of beauty is the most perfect reconciliation of the sensual and rational parts of human nature.

For Schelling, the philosophy of art is the "organon" of philosophy. Aesthetics is now the name for the philosophy of art. Friedrich von Schlegel, August Wilhelm Schlegel,Schleiermacher and Hegel have also given lectures on aesthetics as "philosophy of art" after 1800. For Hegel all culture is a matter of "absolute spirit" coming to be manifest to itself, stage by stage. Art is the first stage in which the absolute spirit is manifest immediately to sense-perception, and is thus an objective rather than subjective revelation of beauty.

For Schopenhauer aesthetic contemplation of beauty is the most free that the pure intellect can be from the dictates of will; here we contemplate perfection of form without any kind of worldly agenda, and thus any intrusion of utility or politics would ruin the point of the beauty.

The British were largely divided into intuitionist and analytic camps. The intuitionists believed that aesthetic experience was disclosed by a single mental faculty of some kind. For the Earl of Shaftesbury this was identical to the moral sense, beauty just is the sensory version of moral goodness. For Wittgenstein aesthetics consisted in the description of a whole culture which is a linguistic impossibility. That which constitutes aesthetics lies out side the realm of the language game.

For Oscar Wilde the contemplation of beauty for beauty's sake was not only the foundation for much of his literary career but was quoted as saying "Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful. It is the science of the beautiful though which men seek the correlation of the arts. It is, to speak more exactly, the search after the secret of life." [28].

Wilde famously toured the United States in 1882. He travelled across the United States spreading the idea of Aesthetics in a speech called "The English Renaissance." In his speech he proposed that Beauty and Aesthetics was not "not languid but energetic. By beautifying the outward aspects of life, one would beautify the inner ones." The English Renaissance was, he said, "like the Italian Renaissance before it,a sort of rebirth of the spirit of man".[29]

William Hogarth, self-portrait, 1745

For Hutcheson beauty is disclosed by an inner mental sense, but is a subjective fact rather than an objective one. Analytic theorists like Lord Kames, William Hogarth, and Edmund Burke hoped to reduce beauty to some list of attributes. Hogarth, for example, thinks that beauty consists of (1) fitness of the parts to some design; (2) variety in as many ways as possible; (3) uniformity, regularity or symmetry, which is only beautiful when it helps to preserve the character of fitness; (4) simplicity or distinctness, which gives pleasure not in itself, but through its enabling the eye to enjoy variety with ease; (5) intricacy, which provides employment for our active energies, leading the eye on "a wanton kind of chase"; and (6) quantity or magnitude, which draws our attention and produces admiration and awe. Later analytic aestheticians strove to link beauty to some scientific theory of psychology (such as James Mill) or biology (such as Herbert Spencer).

[edit]Post-modern aesthetics and psychoanalysis

Early twentieth century artists, poets and composers challenged the assumption that beauty was central to art and aesthetics. Various attempts have been made since then to define Post-modern aesthetics.

This challenge, thought to be original, is actually continuous with older aesthetic theory; Aristotle was the first in the Western tradition to classify "beauty" into types as in his theory of drama, and Kant made a distinction between beauty and the sublime. What was new was a refusal to credit the higher status of certain types, where the taxonomy implied a preference for tragedy and the sublime to comedy and the Rococo.

Croce suggested that “expression” is central in the way that beauty was once thought to be central. George Dickie suggested that the sociological institutions of the art world were the glue binding art and sensibility into unities. Marshall McLuhan suggested that art always functions as a "counter-environment" designed to make visible what is usually invisible about a society.[page needed] Theodor Adorno felt that aesthetics could not proceed without confronting the role of the culture industry in the commodification of art and aesthetic experience. Hal Foster (art critic) attempted to portray the reaction against beauty and Modernist art in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Arthur Danto has described this reaction as "kalliphobia" (after the Greek word for beauty - 'kalos').[30] André Malraux explains that the notion of beauty was connected to a particular conception of art that arose with the Renaissance and was still dominant in the eighteenth century (but was supplanted later). The discipline of aesthetics, which originated in the eighteenth century, mistook this transient state of affairs for a revelation of the permanent nature of art.[31] Brian Massumi suggests to reconsider beauty following the aesthetical thought in the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari.[32]

Daniel Berlyne created the field of experimental aesthetics in the 1970s, for which he is still the most cited individual decades after his death.[33]


Pneumaist aestheticism is a theory of art and a highly experimental approach to art negating historical preconceptions of the aesthetic.

Jean-François Lyotard re-invokes the Kantian distinction between taste and the sublime. Sublime painting, unlike kitsch realism, "...will enable us to see only by making it impossible to see; it will please only by causing pain."[34][35]

Sigmund Freud inaugurated aesthetical thinking in Psychoanalysis mainly via the "Uncanny" as aesthetical affect.[36] Following Freud and Merleau-Ponty,[37] Jacques Lacan theorized aesthetics in terms of sublimation and the Thing [38]

[edit]Aesthetics and information

Initial image of a Mandelbrot set zoom sequence with continuously coloured environment

In the 1970s, Abraham Moles and Frieder Nake were among the first to analyze links between aesthetics, information processing, and information theory[39][40].

In the 1990s, Jürgen Schmidhuber described an algorithmic theory of beauty which takes the subjectivity of the observer into account and postulates: among several observations classified as comparable by a given subjective observer, the aesthetically most pleasing one is the one with the shortest description, given the observer’s previous knowledge and his particular method for encoding the data[41][42]. This is closely related to the principles ofalgorithmic information theory and minimum description length. One of his examples: mathematicians enjoy simple proofs with a short description in theirformal language. Another very concrete example describes an aesthetically pleasing human face whose proportions can be described by very few bits ofinformation[43][44], drawing inspiration from less detailed 15th century proportion studies by Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer. Schmidhuber's theory explicitly distinguishes between what's beautiful and what's interesting, stating that interestingness corresponds to the first derivative of subjectively perceived beauty. Here the premise is that any observer continually tries to improve the predictability and compressibility of the observations by discovering regularities such as repetitions and symmetries and fractal self-similarity. Whenever the observer's learning process (which may be a predictive neural network - see also Neuroesthetics) leads to improved data compression such that the observation sequence can be described by fewerbits than before, the temporary interestingness of the data corresponds to the number of saved bits. This compression progress is proportional to the observer's internal reward , also called curiosity reward. A reinforcement learning algorithm is used to maximize future expected reward by learning to execute action sequences that cause additional interesting input data with yet unknown but learnable predictability or regularity. The principles can be implemented on artificial agents which then exhibit a form of artificial curiosity[45][46][47][48].

[edit]Applied aesthetics

As well as being applied to art aesthetics can also be applied to cultural objects. Aesthetic coupling between art-objects and medical topics was made by speakers working for the US Information Agency[49] This coupling was made to reinforce the learning paradigm when English-language speakers used translators to address audiences in their own country. These audiences were generally not fluent in the English language. It can also be used in topics as diverse as mathematics, gastronomy and fashion design.

[edit]Aesthetic ethics

Aesthetic ethics refers to the idea that human conduct and behaviour ought to be governed by that which is beautiful and attractive. John Dewey [50] has pointed out that the unity of aesthetics and ethics is in fact reflected in our understanding of behaviour being "fair" - the word having a double meaning of attractive and morally acceptable. More recently, James Page [51] has suggested that aesthetic ethics might be taken to form a philosophical rationale for peace education.

[edit]Truth as beauty, mathematics, analytic philosophy, and physics

Mathematical considerations, such as symmetry and complexity, are used for analysis in theoretical aesthetics. This is different from the aesthetic considerations of applied aesthetics used in the study ofmathematical beauty. Aesthetic considerations such as symmetry and simplicity are used in areas of philosophy, such as ethics and theoretical physics and cosmology to define truth, outside of empiricalconsiderations. Beauty and Truth have been argued to be nearly synonymous,[52] as reflected in the statement "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" in the poem Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats. The fact that judgments of beauty and judgments of truth both are influenced by processing fluency, which is the ease with which information can be processed, has been presented as an explanation for why beauty is sometimes equated with truth.[53] Indeed, recent research found that people use beauty as an indication for truth in mathematical pattern tasks.[54]

[edit]Computational inference of aesthetics

Since about 2005, computer scientists have attempted to develop automated methods to infer aesthetic quality of images. Large number of manually rated online photographs were used to "teach" computers about what visual properties are of relevance to aesthetic quality. The Acquine engine, developed at Penn State University, rates natural photographs uploaded by users.[55]

Notable in this area is Michael Leyton, professor of psychology at Rutgers University. Leyton is the president of the International Society for Mathematical and Computational Aesthetics and the International Society for Group Theory in Cognitive Science and has developed a generative theory of shape.

[edit]See also

[edit]References

  1. ^ Definition 1 of aesthetics from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.
  2. ^ Zangwill, Nick. "Aesthetic Judgment", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 02-28-2003/10-22-2007. Retrieved 07-24-2008.
  3. ^ Kelly (1998) p. ix
  4. ^ Review by Tom Riedel (Regis University)
  5. ^ Bruyn, Professor Severyn T. "Art and Aesthetics in Action", Boston College, 2002. Retrieved 07-22-2008.
  6. ^ Freeman, Lindsey (Phd) Remembering Debord cannon-beach.net
  7. ^ Definition of aesthetic from the Online Etymology Dictionary
  8. ^ Holm, Ivar (2006). Ideas and Beliefs in Architecture and Industrial design: How attitudes, orientations, and underlying assumptions shape the built environment. Oslo School of Architecture and Design. ISBN 8254701741.
  9. ^ Korsmeyer, Carolyn ed. Aesthetics: The Big Questions 1998
  10. ^ Consider Clement Greenberg’s arguments in "On Modernist Painting" (1961), reprinted in Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of Arts.
  11. ^ Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgment.
  12. ^ Barnett Newman Foundation, Chronology, 1952Retrieved August 30, 2010
  13. ^ The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art, By Arthur Coleman Danto, p.1, Published by Open Court Publishing, 2003, ISBN 0812695402, 9780812695403
  14. ^ Annemarie Gethmann-Siefert, Introduction to Aesthetics (Einführung in die Ästhetik), Munich, Wilhelm Fink, 1995, p. 7.
  15. ^ Davies, 1991, Carroll, 2000, et al.
  16. ^ a b Danto, 2003
  17. ^ Goodman,
  18. ^ Novitz, 1992
  19. ^ Brian Massumi, Deleuze, Guattari and the Philosophy of Expression, CRCL, 24:3, 1997.
  20. ^ Clement Greenberg, “On Modernist Painting”.
  21. ^ Tristan Tzara, Sept Manifestes Dada.
  22. ^ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  23. ^ Denis Dutton's Aesthetic Universals summarized by Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate
  24. ^ Grotesque entry in Kelly 1998, pp.338-341
  25. ^ Davies, Penelope J.E. Denny, Walter B. Hofrichter, Frima Fox. Jacobs, Joseph. Roberts, Ann M. Simon, David L. Janson's History of Art, Prentice Hall; 2007, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Seventh Edition, ISBN 0131934554 pg. 277
  26. ^ The Arab Contribution to Islamic Art: From the Seventh to the Fifteenth Centuries, Wijdan Ali, American Univ in Cairo Press, December 10, 1999, ISBN 9774244761
  27. ^ From the Literal to the Spiritual: The Development of the Prophet Muhammad's(s.a.w) Portrayal from 13th century Ilkhanid Miniatures to 17th century Ottoman Art, Wijdan Ali, EJOS (Electronic Journal of Oriental Studies), volume IV, issue 7, p. 1-24, 2001
  28. ^ "Oscar Wilde" by Richard_Ellman p 159, pub Alfred A Knopf, INC. 1988
  29. ^ Ellman, p164
  30. ^ 'Kalliphobia in Contemporary Art' in Art Journal v. 63 no. 2 (Summer 2004) p. 24-35
  31. ^ Derek Allan, Art and the Human Adventure, André Malraux's Theory of Art (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009)
  32. ^ Massumi, Brian, (ed.), A Shock to Thought. Expression after Deleuze and Guattari. London & NY: Routeledge, 2002. ISBN 0-415-23804-8
  33. ^ Daniel Berlyne (1924-1976): Biographical Analysis. http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/furedy/daniel_berlyne.htm
  34. ^ Lyotard, Jean-Françoise, What is Postmodernism?, in The Postmodern Condition, Minnesota and Manchester, 1984.
  35. ^ Lyotard, Jean-Françoise, Scriptures: Diffracted Traces, in Theory, Culture and Society, Volume 21, Number 1, 2004.
  36. ^ Freud, Sigmund, "The Uncanny" (1919). Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Work of Sigmund Freud, 17:234-36. London: The Hogarth Press
  37. ^ Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1964), "The Visible and the Invisible". Northwestern University Press. ISBN 0-810-10457-1
  38. ^ Lacan, Jacques, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book VII), NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992.
  39. ^ A. Moles: Théorie de l'information et perception esthétique, Paris, Denoël, 1973 (Information Theory and aesthetical perception)
  40. ^ F Nake (1974). Ästhetik als Informationsverarbeitung. (Aesthetics as information processing). Grundlagen und Anwendungen der Informatik im Bereich ästhetischer Produktion und Kritik. Springer, 1974, ISBN 3211812164, ISBN 9783211812167
  41. ^ J. Schmidhuber. Low-complexity art. Leonardo, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology, 30(2):97–103, 1997. http://www.jstor.org/pss/1576418
  42. ^ J. Schmidhuber. Papers on the theory of beauty and low-complexity art since 1994: http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/beauty.html
  43. ^ J. Schmidhuber. Facial beauty and fractal geometry. Cogprint Archive: http://cogprints.soton.ac.uk , 1998
  44. ^ J. Schmidhuber. Simple Algorithmic Principles of Discovery, Subjective Beauty, Selective Attention, Curiosity & Creativity. Proc. 10th Intl. Conf. on Discovery Science (DS 2007) p. 26-38, LNAI 4755, Springer, 2007. Also in Proc. 18th Intl. Conf. on Algorithmic Learning Theory (ALT 2007) p. 32, LNAI 4754, Springer, 2007. Joint invited lecture for DS 2007 and ALT 2007, Sendai, Japan, 2007. http://arxiv.org/abs/0709.0674
  45. ^ J. Schmidhuber. Curious model-building control systems. International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, Singapore, vol 2, 1458–1463. IEEE press, 1991
  46. ^ J. Schmidhuber. Papers on artificial curiosity since 1990: http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/interest.html
  47. ^ J. Schmidhuber. Developmental robotics, optimal artificial curiosity, creativity, music, and the fine arts. Connection Science, 18(2):173–187, 2006
  48. ^ Schmidhuber's theory of beauty and curiosity in a German TV show: http://www.br-online.de/bayerisches-fernsehen/faszination-wissen/schoenheit--aesthetik-wahrnehmung-ID1212005092828.xml
  49. ^ Giannini AJ (December 1993). "Tangential symbols: using visual symbolization to teach pharmacological principles of drug addiction to international audiences". Journal of clinical pharmacology 33 (12): 1139–46.PMID 7510314.
  50. ^ Dewey, John. (1932)'Ethics', with James Tufts. In: The Collected Works of John Dewey, 1882-1953 Edited Jo-Ann Boydston: Carbonsdale: Southern Illinois University Press. p. 275.
  51. ^ Page, James S. (2008) Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59311-889-1. [1][2]
  52. ^ Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry, Ian Stewart, 2008
  53. ^ Reber, R, Schwarz, N, Winkielman, P: "Processing fluency and aesthetic pleasure: Is beauty in the perceiver's processing experience?", Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(4):364-382
  54. ^ Reber, R, Brun, M, Mitterndorfer, K: "The use of heuristics in intuitive mathematical judgment", Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15(6):1174-1178
  55. ^ "Aesthetic Quality Inference Engine - Instant Impersonal Assessment of Photos". Penn State University. Retrieved 21 June 2009.

Indian painting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fresco from Ajanta, c 6th century.

Indian painting is a form of Indian art. The earliest Indian paintings were the rock paintings of pre-historic times, the petroglyphs as found in places like Bhimbetka, and some of them are older than 5500 BC. Such works continued and after several millennia, in the 7th century, carved pillars of Ellora, Maharashtra state present a fine example of Indian paintings, and the colors, mostly various shades of red and orange, were derived from minerals. Thereafter, frescoes of Ajanta and Ellora Cavesappeared. India's Buddhist literature is replete with examples of texts which describe that palaces of kings and aristocratic class were embellished with paintings, but they have largely not survived. But, it is believed that some form of art painting was practiced during that time.

Indian paintings provide an aesthetic continuum that extends from the early civilization to the present day. From being essentially religious in purpose in the beginning, Indian painting has evolved over the years to become a fusion of various cultures and traditions. The Indian painting was exposed to Greco-Roman as well as Iranian and Chinese influences. Cave paintings in different parts of India bear testimony to these influences and a continuous evolution of new idioms is evident.

Contents

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[edit]Sadanga of Indian painting

Around 1st century BC the Sadanga or Six Limbs of Indian Painting, were evolved, a series of canons laying down the main principles of the art. Vatsyayana, who lived during the third century A.D., enumerates these in his Kamasutra having extracted them from still more ancient works.

These 'Six Limbs' have been translated as follows:

  1. Rupabheda The knowledge of appearances.
  2. Pramanam Correct perception, measure and structure.
  3. Bhava Action of feelings on forms.
  4. Lavanya Yojanam Infusion of grace, artistic representation.
  5. Sadrisyam Similitude.
  6. Varnikabhanga Artistic manner of using the brush and colours. (Tagore.)

The subsequent development of painting by the Buddhists indicates that these ' Six Limbs ' were put into practice by Indian artists, and are the basic principles on which their art was founded.

[edit]Genres of Indian painting

Indian Paintings can be broadly classified as the murals and miniatures. Murals are huge works executed on the walls of solid structures, as in the Ajanta Caves and the Kailashnath temple. Miniature paintings are executed on a very small scale on perishable material such as paper and cloth. The Palas of Bengal were the pioneers of miniature painting in India. The art of miniature painting reached its glory during the Mughal period. The tradition of miniature paintings was carried forward by the painters of different Rajasthani schools of painting like the Bundi, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Marwar and Mewar. The Ragamala paintings also belong to this school.

The modern Indian art has seen the rise of the Bengal School of art in 1930s followed by many forms of experimentations in European and Indian styles. In the aftermath of India's independence, many new genres of art developed by important artists like Jamini Roy, MF Husain, FN Souza, and Gaitonde. With the progress of the economy the forms and styles of art also underwent many changes. In the 1990s, Indian economy was liberalized and integrated to the world economy leading to the free flow oif cultural information within and without. This period saw the emergence of Pseudorealism as a new genre in contemporary Indian art. Alongside this the country saw the rise of mahny young Turks in the field of art like Subodh Gupta, Atul Dodiya, Devajyoti Ray, Bose Krishnamachari and Jitish Kahllat whose works went for auction in international markets.

[edit]Murals

A mural painting depicting a scene from Mahajanaka Jataka, Cave 1, Ajanta

The history of Indian murals starts in ancient and early medieval times, from 2nd century BC to 8th - 10th century AD. There are known more than 20 locations around India containing murals from this period, mainly natural caves and rock-cut chambers[1]. The highest achievements of this time are the caves of Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai Cave (Tamil Nadu), Ravan Chhaya rock shelter, Kailasanatha temple in Ellora Caves.

Murals from this period depict mainly religious themes of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu religions. There are though also locations where paintings were made to adorn mundane premises, like the ancient theatre room in Jogimara Cave[2] and possible royal hunting lodge circa 7th century AD - Ravan Chhaya rock shelter[3].

[edit]Miniature painting

The pattern of large scale wall painting which had dominated the scene, witnessed the advent of miniature paintings during the 11th & 12th centuries. This new style figured first in the form of illustrations etched on palm-leaf manuscripts. The contents of these manuscripts included literature on Buddhism & Jainism. In eastern India, the principal centres of artistic and intellectual activities of the Buddhist religion were Nalanda, Odantapuri, Vikramshila and Somarpura situated in the Pala kingdom (Bengal & Bihar).

[edit]Eastern Indian painting

In eastern India miniature painting developed in 10th century. These miniatures, depicting Buddhist divinities and scenes from the life of Buddha were painted on the leaves (about 2.25 by 3 inches) of the palm-leaf manuscripts as well as their wooden covers. Most common Buddhist illustrated manuscripts include the texts Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita,[4] Pancharaksa, Karandavyuha and Kalachakrayanatantra. The earliest extant miniatures are found in a manuscript of the Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita dated in the sixth regnal year of Mahipala (c. 993), presently in the possession of The Asiatic Society, Kolkata. This style disappeared from India in the late 12th century.

[edit]Western Indian painting

In western India between the 10th to 12th century miniature painting developed. These small paintings were part of manuscripts written at the time and illustrate the subjects of the manuscripts. These miniatures are found in some Jaina manuscripts and are of 2 to 4 inches in size.

Earliest Jaina illustrated palm-leaf manuscripts include the texts Ogha-niryukti and Dasavaikalika-tika. Another surviving example of early illustrated Jaina palm-leaf manuscript is the Savaga-padikkamana-sutta-cunni written by Pandit Ramachandra (13th century).

It was in the 14th century, that paper replaced the palm leaf. Most common Jaina illustrated paper manuscripts include the Kalpasutra of Bhadrabahu and the Kalakacharyakatha.[5] The Jaina style of paintings attained a high degree of development by the late 15th and 16th century.

In the 16th century, a number of Hindu illustrated manuscripts appeared in western India, which include the texts, the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva and the Bhagavata Purana.

[edit]Malwa, Deccan and Jaunpur schools of painting

A new trend in manuscript illustration was set by a manuscript of the Nimatnama painted at Mandu, during the reign of Nasir Shah (1500–1510). This represent a synthesis of the indigenous and the Persion style, though it was the latter which dominated the Mandu manuscripts. There was another style of painting known as Lodi Khuladar that flourished in the Sultanate's dominion of North India extending from Delhi to Jaunpur.

The miniature painting style, which flourished initially in the Bahmani court and later in the courts of Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and Golkonda is popularly known as the Deccan school of Painting. One of the earliest surviving paintings are found as the illustrations of a manuscript Tarif-i-Hussain Shahi (c.1565), which is now in Bharata Itihasa Samshodhaka Mandala, Pune. About 400 miniature paintings are found in the manuscript of Nujum-ul-Ulum (Stars of Science) (1570), kept in Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.

[edit]Mughal painting

A 17th century Mughal painting.
A folio from the Hamzanama

Mughal painting is a particular style of Indian painting, generally confined to illustrations on the book and done in miniatures, and which emerged, developed and took shape during the period of the Mughal Empire 16th -19th centuries).

Mughal paintings were a unique blend of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles. Because the Mughal kings wanted visual records of their deeds as hunters and conquerors, their artists accompanied them on military expeditions or missions of state, or recorded their prowess as animal slayers, or depicted them in the great dynastic ceremonies of marriages.


Akbar's reign (1556–1605) ushered a new era in Indian miniature painting. After he had consolidated his political power, he built a new capital at Fatehpur Sikri where he collected artists from India and Persia. He was the first morarch who established in India an atelier under the supervision of two Persian master artists, Mir Sayyed Ali and Abdus Samad. Earlier, both of them had served under the patronage of Humayun in Kabul and accompanied him to India when he regained his throne in 1555. More than a hundred painters were employed, most of whom were Hindus from Gujarat, Gwalior and Kashmir, who gave a birth to a new school of painting, popularly known as the Mughal School of miniature Paintings.

One of the first productions of that school of miniature painting was the Hamzanama series, which according to the court historian, Badayuni, was started in 1567 and completed in 1582. The Hamzanama, stories of Amir Hamza, an uncle of the Prophet, were illustrated by Mir Sayyid Ali. The paintings of the Hamzanama are of large size, 20 x 27" and were painted on cloth. They are in the Persian safavi style. Brilliant red, blue and green colours predominate; the pink, eroded rocks and the vegetation, planes and blossoming plum and peach trees are reminiscent of Persia. However, Indian tones appear in later work, when Indian artists were employed.

After him, Jahangir encouraged artists to paint portraits and durbar scenes. His most talented portrait painters were Ustad Mansur, Abul Hasan and Bishandas.

Shah Jahan (1627–1658) continued the patronage of painting. Some of the famous artists of the period were Mohammad Faqirullah Khan, Mir Hashim, Muhammad Nadir, Bichitr, Chitarman, Anupchhatar, Manohar and Honhar.

Aurangzeb had no taste for fine arts. Due to lack of patronage artists migrated to Hyderabad in the Deccan and to the Hindu states of Rajasthan in search of new patrons.

[edit]Rajput painting

An 18th century Rajput painting by the artist Nihâl Chand.

Rajput painting, a style of Indian painting, evolved and flourished, during the 18th century, in the royal courts of Rajputana, India. Each Rajput kingdom evolved a distinct style, but with certain common features. Rajput paintings depict a number of themes, events of epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Krishna's life, beautiful landscapes, and humans. Miniatures were the preferred medium of Rajput painting, but several manuscripts also contain Rajput paintings, and paintings were even done on the walls of palaces, inner chambers of the forts, havelies, particularly, the havelis of Shekhawati.

The colours extracted from certain minerals, plant sources, conch shells, and were even derived by processing precious stones, gold and silver were used. The preparation of desired colours was a lengthy process, sometimes taking weeks. Brushes used were very fine.

[edit]Mysore painting

A painting of Laxmi

Mysore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting that originated in the town of Mysore in Karnataka. These paintings are known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail. The themes for most of these paintings are Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. In modern times, these paintings have become a much sought after souvenir during festive occasions in South India.

The process of making a Mysore painting involves many stages. The first stage involves the making of the preliminary sketch of the image on the base. The base consists of cartridge paper pasted on a wooden base. A paste made of Zinc oxide and Arabic gum is made called "gesso paste". With the help of a thin brush all the jewellery and parts of throne or the arch which have some relief are painted over to give a slightly raised effect of carving. This is allowed to dry. On this thin gold foil is pasted. The rest of the drawing is then painted using watercolours. Only muted colours are used.

Tanjore style painting depicting the tenSikh Gurus with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana.

[edit]Tanjore painting

Tanjore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu. The art form dates back to the early 9th century, a period dominated by the Chola rulers, who encouraged art and literature. These paintings are known for their elegance, rich colours, and attention to detail. The themes for most of these paintings are Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. In modern times, these paintings have become a much sought after souvenir during festive occasions in South India.

The process of making a Tanjore painting involves many stages. The first stage involves the making of the preliminary sketch of the image on the base. The base consists of a cloth pasted over a wooden base. Then chalk powder or zinc oxide is mixed with water-soluble adhesive and applied on the base. To make the base smoother, a mildabrasive is sometimes used. After the drawing is made, decoration of the jewellery and the apparels in the image is done with semi-precious stones. Laces or threads are also used to decorate the jewellery. On top of this, the gold foils are pasted. Finally, dyes are used to add colours to the figures in the paintings.

[edit]Madhubani painting

Madhubani painting is a style of uttradi mutt painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar state, India. The origins of Madhubani painting are shrouded in antiquity, and a tradition states that this style of painting originated at the time of the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, with Sri Rama who is considered to be an incarnation of the Hindu god lord Vishnu.

[edit]Pattachitra

Gita Govinda depicted in Pattachitra

Pattachitra refers to the folk painting of the state of Orissa, in the eastern region of India.'Patta' in Sanskrit means 'Vastra' or 'clothings' and 'chitra' means paintings.The tradition of Pattachitra is closely linked with the worship of Lord Jagannath. Apart from the fragmentary evidence of paintings on the caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri and Sitabhinji murals of the Sixth century A.D., the earliest indigenous paintings from Odisha are the Pattachitra done by the Chitrakars (the painters are called Chitrakars).[6]The theme of Odishan painting centres round the Vaishnava cult. Since beginning of Pattachitra culture Lord Jagannath who was an incarnation of Lord Krishna was the major source of inspiration. The subject matter of Patta Chitra is mostly mythological, religious stories and folk lore. Themes are chiefly on Lord Jagannath andRadha-Krishna, different "Vesas" of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, temple activities, the ten incarnations of Vishnu basing on the 'Gita Govinda' of Jayadev, Kama Kujara Naba Gunjara, Ramayana, Mahabharata. The individual paintings of gods and goddesses are also being painted.The painters use vegetable and mineral colours without going for factory made poster colours. They prepare their own colours. White colour is made from the conch-shells by powdering, boiling and filtering in a very hazardous process. It requires a lot of patience. But this process gives brilliance and premanence to the hue. 'Hingula', a mineral colour, is used for red. 'Haritala', king of stone ingredients for yellow, 'Ramaraja' a sort of indigo for blue are being used. Pure lamp-black or black prepared from the burning of cocoanut shells are used.The brushes that are used by these 'Chitrakaras' are also indigenous and are made of hair of domestic animals. A bunch of hair tied to the end of a bamboo stick make the brush. It is really a matter of wonder as to how these painters bring out lines of such precision and finish with the help of these crude brushes. That old tradition of Odishan painting still survives to-day in the skilled hands of Chitrakaras (traditional painters) in Puri, Raghurajpur, Paralakhemundi, Chikiti and Sonepur.

Various Hindu Gods are shown in Pattachitra

[edit]Bengal school

Bharat Mata byAbanindranath Tagore, 1905, a pioneer of the Bengal School

The Bengal School of Art was an influential style of art that flourished in India during the British Raj in the early 20th century. It was associated with Indian nationalism, but was also promoted and supported by many British arts administrators.

The Bengal school arose as an avant garde and nationalist movement reacting against the academic art styles previously promoted in India, both by Indian artists such as Ravi Varma and in British art schools. Following the widespread influence of Indian spiritual ideas in the West, the British art teacher Ernest Binfield Havel attempted to reform the teaching methods at theCalcutta School of Art by encouraging students to imitate Mughal miniatures. This caused immense controversy, leading to a strike by students and complaints from the local press, including from nationalists who considered it to be a retrogressive move. Havel was supported by the artist Abanindranath Tagore, a nephew of the poet Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore painted a number of works influenced by Mughal art, a style that he and Havel believed to be expressive of India's distinct spiritual qualities, as opposed to the "materialism" of the West. Tagore's best-known painting, Bharat Mata (Mother India), depicted a young woman, portrayed with four arms in the manner of Hindu deities, holding objects symbolic of India's national aspirations. Tagore later attempted to develop links with Japanese artists as part of an aspiration to construct a pan-Asianist model of art.

The Bengal school's influence in India declined with the spread of modernist ideas in the 1920s.

[edit]Modern Indian Painting

Three Girls, by Amrita Sher-Gil, 1935, now at the National Gallery of Modern Art inNew Delhi
Sneha-village belle, Oil on canvas byJohn Wilkins(Indian artist)
Setting Notes, by Devajyoti Ray, 2007, One of the major works in the Pseudorealism Genre of Modern Indian Art

During the colonial era, Western influences started to make an impact on Indian art. Some artists developed a style that used Western ideas of composition, perspective and realism to illustrate Indian themes. Others, like Jamini Roy, consciously drew inspiration from folk art.

By the time of Independence in 1947, several schools of art in India provided access to modern techniques and ideas. Galleries were established to showcase these artists. Modern Indian art typically shows the influence of Western styles, but is often inspired by Indian themes and images. Major artists are beginning to gain international recognition, initially among the Indian diaspora, but also among non-Indian audiences.

The Progressive Artists' Group, established shortly after India became independent in 1947, was intended to establish new ways of expressing India in the post-colonial era. The founders were six eminent artists - K. H. Ara, S. K. Bakre, H. A. Gade, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza and F. N. Souza, though the group was dissolved in 1956, it was profoundly influential in changing the idiom of Indian art. Almost all India's major artists in the 1950s were associated with the group. Some of those who are well-known today are Bal Chabda, Om Swami, V. S. Gaitonde, Krishen Khanna, Ram Kumar, Tyeb Mehta, and Akbar Padamsee. Other famous painters like Jahar Dasgupta, Prokash Karmakar, John Wilkins,Narayanan Ramachandran, and Bijon Choudhuri enriched the art culture of India. They have become the icon of modern Indian art. Art historians like Prof. Rai Anand Krishna have also referred to those works of modern artistes that reflect Indian ethos. Some of the new artists like Geeta Vadhera have had acclaim in translating complex, Indian spiritual themes into the canvas - Sufi thought [1], Upanishads and the Bhagwad Geeta, for example. From 1990 to till 2009 the Indian art is growing with powerful expression. one of them is Raj mehta working in lucknow, recent work on women the silent feature of women mind.the city of nawabs. it has the great history, ruled many kings and the loving place of all emperial power. Raj mehta work in painting and mural. kriti art gallery in varanasi explore his work in India. "Third Eye Series", is a new style of painting brought out by Narayanan Ramachandran, during 1990 to 2010.

Indian Art got a boost with the economic liberalization of the country since early 1990s. Artists from various fields now started bringing in varied styles of work. Post liberalization Indian art thus works not only within the confines of academic traditions but also outside it. Artists like Chittrobhanu Majumdar, A Ramachandran, etc have introduced newer mediums in art. In this phase, artists have introduced even newer concepts which have hitherto not been seen in Indian art. Devajyoti Ray has introduced a the new genre of art called Pseudorealism. Pseudorealist Art is an original art style that has been developed entirely on the Indian soil. Pseudorealism takes into account the Indian concept of abstraction and uses it to transform regular scenes of Indian life into a fantastic images.

In post-liberalization India, many artists have establisghed themselves in the international art market like Anish Kapoor whose mammoth artworks have acquired attention for their sheer size. Many art houses and galleries have also opened in USA and Europe to showcase Indian artworks.

[edit]Gallery

[edit]Some notable Indian paintings

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GHAZIABAD, Uttar Pradesh, India
कला के उत्थान के लिए यह ब्लॉग समकालीन गतिविधियों के साथ,आज के दौर में जब समय की कमी को, इंटर नेट पर्याप्त तरीके से भाग्दौर से बचा देता है, यही सोच करके इस ब्लॉग पर काफी जानकारियाँ डाली जानी है जिससे कला विद्यार्थियों के साथ साथ कला प्रेमी और प्रशंसक इसका रसास्वादन कर सकें . - डॉ.लाल रत्नाकर Dr.Lal Ratnakar, Artist, Associate Professor /Head/ Department of Drg.& Ptg. MMH College Ghaziabad-201001 (CCS University Meerut) आज की भाग दौर की जिंदगी में कला कों जितने समय की आवश्यकता है संभवतः छात्र छात्राएं नहीं दे पा रहे हैं, शिक्षा प्रणाली और शिक्षा के साथ प्रयोग और विश्वविद्यालयों की निति भी इनके प्रयोगधर्मी बने रहने में बाधक होने में काफी महत्त्व निभा रहा है . अतः कला शिक्षा और उसके उन्नयन में इसका रोल कितना है इसका मूल्याङ्कन होने में गुरुजनों की सहभागिता भी कम महत्त्व नहीं रखती.