Saturday, September 22, 2007

Donkeys do harbor lice

The creature he drew would have lacked a scale and a context, it might have been a mere grotesque or a fabulous monster from Mandeville's travels. What made the illustrations of microscopic observations so important was the use made of the new knowledge that they incorporated.
This happens to be precisely the point made by Michel Foucault in his book Les Mots et les choses, to which Professor Alpers appeals in her interpretation. He points out that the microscope was used in the seventeenth century to solve problems. Take the example of the Italian physician Francesco Redi who, in his book of 1668 (no. 9.45 in the catalog mentioned above), illustrated among other specimens a louse peculiar to donkeys.
He thus disproved Aristotle's contention that donkeys do not harbor lice, and apparently incurred the wrath of his contemporaries. But what is this slight contribution to knowledge compared with Redi's conclusion, derived from an examination of the reproductive organs of insects and fortified by experiments, that the universal belief in the spontaneous generation of maggots and vermin in carcasses was untenable, and that all these creatures emerged from eggs laid by files?
Here, surely, is a milestone on the road to Pasteur's achievement which could never have come about without the microscope, but never through the microscope alone, or, be it said, through a collection of pictures or specimens, however accurate and however complete. Important as was the art of describing, the art of thinking also needs its defenders.
NYREV, Volume 30, Number 17 · November 10, 1983 Review Mysteries of Dutch Painting By Ernst Gombrich The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century by Svetlana Alpers University of Chicago Press, 273 pp., $37.50 In the challenging book under review Professor Alpers argues convincingly that we are still the heirs of this tradition, which did indeed dominate the teaching of art in the academies of Europe.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Beyond aesthetics to the full extent of aisthesis

Aesthetics Beyond Aesthetics Wolfgang Welsch
to the benefit of art analysis too
If art constantly brings into play a whole palette of sorts of perception, then aesthetics too, as the reflexive authority of the aesthetic, obviously has to be in a position to take account of diverse sorts of perception and differing constellations, and to do justice to them. In other words: the perspective of perception - which I take to be essential for art altogether, because artworks are meant to generate perception - favors an aisthesis-focused type of aesthetics even for the purposes of art analysis. For this type is capable of accounting for the whole range of art-stipulated perceptions and therefore allows for a fuller comprehension of art altogether than any traditional, ostensibly art-directed aesthetics did.
Therefore an aesthetics which expands itself beyond aesthetics to the full extent of aisthesis, as advocated in this paper, is necessary not only for the sake of a full grasp of the aesthetic in its contemporary state, but also for the sake of an adequate understanding of art. This could ultimately be the penetrating argument for an aesthetic beyond aesthetics, motivating even the partisans of an art-centered aesthetics to give it a thought or even to switch sides. Home Curriculum vitae Research areas&Current projects Publication List Online Texts&Publication abstracts Department of Philosophy Contact

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

“Economy of the icon”

Christian Art Goes Back to School by Daniel A. Siedell
I have begun to think seriously about the icon as a place to begin a Christian contribution to contemporary artistic discourse. Nicaea II, the seventh and last (so far) of the so-called ecumenical councils in 787 declared not merely that the veneration of icons was allowed, but they were mandated in order to preserve the hard fought Christological and Trinitarian battles of the previous four centuries. (If you have any doubt about how tenuous and hard fought and far from inevitable those battles were, read John Behr’s two-volume study, The Way to Nicaea (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.)
The thought generated during these four centuries, particularly those of the Eastern Church, and which culminates in the dogmatic affirmation of the robust “economy of the icon,” is fertile ground for reflection on contemporary art. I must also confess a certain weakness for the Russian Slavophile philosophers, Pavel Florensky (1882-1937), Sergei Bulgakov (1871-1944), and Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900), with their evocative (and at times controversial) reflections on Divine Wisdom, “God-manhood,” and “total unity,” which derive from pushing the implications of Nicene Christianity and have been most helpful in reconfiguring ways that contemporary art can be understood. (I am at the moment reading Florensky’s magisterial and mystical The Pillar and Ground of the Truth [1914].)
I am not interested in offering another “Christian perspective” on modern and contemporary art, or offering one that is strictly “confessional,” that is, a perspective that is “Lutheran,” or “Reformed,” or even “Evangelical.” The goal is not, in scholastic fashion, to add another brick or two to a confessional edifice. It is rather to contribute to understanding the development of modern and contemporary art, which I believe can benefit from the language of early Christian thought. This approach affirms as well as challenges aspects of “secular” approaches to modern and contemporary art. Moreover, it also simultaneously extends and critiques various “Christian perspectives” on modern and contemporary art that are operative in (Evangelical) Christian intellectual circles... Posted by geoff holsclaw Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New works by Sujata Dere

"Spirituality is indeed the master key of the Indian mind, the sense of the infinitive is native to it."
These words of Sri Aurobindo are apt to describe the latest event of Brandsmith, a well-known name in the realm of events, promotions, media management & business consulting.
Brandsmith & Nitanjali Art Gallery in association with Alliance Francaise & Chateau Indage recently presented "Black on white" a sense of the infinitive, New works by well known artist Sujata Dere at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi. This niche event by Brandsmith saw top corporate honchos, socialites, diplomatic community, media & social activists dressed in black & white, the theme of the evening, coming together to appreciate the new works of the extremely gifted painter Sujata Dere.
Some of the notable people in attendance were His Excellency Carlos A Irigoyen with wife Regina, Rahul Mittra CEO Brandsmith with wife Sarina, former Miss India & social activist Nafisa Ali, Mandira lamba & Ridhi Bhalla from Nitanjali Art Gallery, noted artist Naresh kapuria and RL Bhatia, Chairman Kwality Group.
"This is a unique opportunity for art lovers and we are glad that Brandsmith is presenting this niche art exhibition along with Nitanjali Art Gallery & other partners, ' said Rahul Mittra, CEO Brandsmith, a company that is increasingly becoming a name synonymous with upscale events & campaigns in India & overseas. - End - Log onto for more information. Browse all Brandsmith press release » Subscribe to daily press alerts via email » new delhi, Delhi, IND, 2007-09-04 23:31:38 (

Monday, September 03, 2007

Eco believes that Maritain is reading more into Thomas than is present in the text

In chapter seven of his book, Redeeming Beauty: Soundings in Sacral Aesthetics, Nichols discusses, among other things, Jacques Maritain’s view of pulchrum (the beautiful). Maritain appeals to St. Thomas’ dictum in which beauty is defined as id quod visum placet. According to Maritain this definition relates to the effect, not the essence, i.e., the beautiful gives joy to the knower. However, as Nichols points out, Maritain is quick to add that the “bestowal of delight in knowing” is a “formal constituent of beauty” (p. 133). Here Maritain and U. Eco part ways, as Eco believes that Maritain is reading more into Thomas than is present in the text. According to Eco, “what Thomas actually says is, ‘people call things beautiful when they give pleasure on sight’. For Eco this is a ‘sociological finding’ with ‘introduces the problem’ rather than solves it” (p. 133). It seems to me the Eco’s point merits further consideration.
This brings us to Maritain’s account of the beautiful as found in Art et scolastique. According to Maritain, “[i]f a thing exalts and delights the soul by the very fact of being given to its intuition, it is good to apprehend, it is beautiful” (p. 36).[1] Here beauty is no doubt connected with the intellect, but following Thomas, beauty delights the mind through the senses. “‘Our [human] art’ works over sensuous matter to bring joy to the spirit. It is in a sense a taste of Paradise, the first Paradise, the Paradise of Eden, because ‘it restores for a moment the simultaneous peace and delectation of the mind and the senses’” (Art et scolastique, p. 37).[2] Notes [1] As cited in Nichols, Redeeming Beauty, p. 134. [2] As cited in Nichols, Redeeming Beauty, p. 134.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The artist was particularly inspired by the Kolkata cityscapes. The crumbling walls of buildings and the multitudes of people

A new book explores the life and works of the late artist, Bikash Bhattacharjee, by noted art critic Manasij Majumder. The late artist stood out among his contemporaries by making hard-edged chiseled realism the core appeal of his canvases when realism or naturalism of every shade was considered a retrograde trend.
At 2007 Saffronart Summer Online Auction, his Oil on canvas ‘King with Flute’ (47” x 47”) went for $87,400 (Rs.3, 496, 000).
The book, titled Close to Events-Works of Bikash Bhattacharjee, also analyses the technical and stylistic development of his art with detailed exposition of some of the themes and subjects in the major series of his paintings. Launching his creative career in the late ’50s, his strengths were his exceptional technical mastery and his power to charge the tangible appearance of the surface with the reality of the depth beneath. He was admired not merely for the near-illusionist evocation of realistic details, but for the obvious or subtle distortions in his imagery as a key to their complex multi-layered meanings.
The artist’s realistic idiom was fascinatingly robust and compulsive, laced with rich irony, strong-veined allegory and lush visual metaphors. His portrait-based images enacted his personal experiences and impressions of the prevailing period with all its dark social and moral tones and textures.
Close to Events: Works of Bikash Bhattacharjee (Pages: 250; Price: Rs. 2000) A detailed documentation of his art and life, the book analyses the techniques and styles through which his art developed. It depicts the artist’s early life in an old North Calcutta locality, the urban social ambience that shaped his creative personality and explores why he chose to remain ‘close to events’ and free from the dominant trends in post-Independence Indian art.
The artist was particularly inspired by the Kolkata cityscapes. The crumbling walls of buildings and the multitudes of people living there figured prominently in his work. His drawings formed a fitting introduction to his paintings, revealing the predilection of the artist for forms: forms that were consist in terms of tone rather than line. His work was a powerful combination of realism and fantasy, where reality and fantasy evaporated and reemerged on the canvas.
The artist created a varied cast of characters in his canvases - old men and women, children, domestic help. The ability to create an authentic milieu as a background to the characters heightens the drama. Female beauty remained a major preoccupation with him. His women subjects were a strange mixture of spirituality and sensuality.
The Author of the book, Manasij Majumder, a well-known name in the field of art writing in India, has to his credit other major titles such as Sakti Burman, Dreamer on the Ark and Art Moves, Works by Sunil Das. He first met Bikash Bhattacharjee in 1979. The writer, reminiscing on the late artist, mentions: He was one-year-old when his father died. He faced immense hardships and was witness to Partition and the pathetic lives of the poor in Kolkata. All his works are extremely metaphorical and allegorical in nature. All his creations were rooted in his experience. He was so overpowered by realism that he couldn't stick to abstraction that he first had attempted in the early 1960s.”
The book is enriched with over 200 photographs, providing an insight into the artist’s oeuvre. There are detailed illustrated explanations on the paintings, contained in the book. The sketches and writing used throughout the book has been taken from the late artist's own notes.