What is art

Today, is a first for this site. We have been showcasing heritage treasures for over a year, we carried a series on Art inspired by sculpture, which we will continue to do, but today we are entering a new sphere of art, aka breaking new ground. Inorder for any art to survive it should be capable of evolving, not to be restricted by set rules ( Agamas!!) but before that lets indulge in some notions on art…

What is art? We have seen umpteen sculptures, paintings, statues, panels, monoliths, bas reliefs, murals, frescoes, bronze figurines, wooden carvings – mostly works of men transcending time – one thing common among them is their universal appeal. Be it 400 – 500 -1000 years, yet these creations continue to capture our eye, create a sense of sheer joy when we see them. What is it that is there in art that is so universal in its appeal, that the Bas reliefs of a bygone era – a 1300 year legacy, can cast its spell on an uninitiated person, someone who traverses thousands of miles, from a culture that is alien to the craftsmen, someone who does not share the common heritage, the legends and myths sculpted in these forms,though alien, don’t shy away from inspiring him. Art appeals to something that is primeval in you.

Art is an expression, a medium through which an artist communicates his feelings, his emotions to his viewer. It is this freedom of expression, a willingness to be one with his audience, to make the viewer see what he sees, feels what he feels, that is art. There is an artist inside everyone, locked inside, waiting for a release. Training and exposure unchain this angel inside you, for your mind to fly – to seek release in an explosion of color, form – its sheer poetry on a canvas. The mind is a veritable treasure house of emotions, it captures everything it sees, how it does it is a puzzle, but the images with the strong emotions attached are stored with more priority. ( Just sit back and try to bring back a visible memory – am sure you would vision a scene thats got some powerful visual imagery associated with it). The artist seeks to release this visual imagery through a medium – which is his art. This release is universal in man and not restrained only to the creator, as a viewer, you are drawn into the canvas, sharing the anguish, joy, sorry, exuberance of the artist, a thing of beauty in front of you, brings out a feeling of sheer bliss in you – this ability to transmit your emotions, expressing them in a medium that appeals to others is true Art. Its a bonding that you feel with the creator, an invisible umblical chord, which despite being cut, somehow transmits the emotions felt by one to another. There are no set rules for this expressions, you can google for types of art today and comeup with a list of over 1000 different sounding names, some may appeal to you , some may not, but it is this lack of definition that gives art its magic sheen. An aura of sublime beauty that makes you think sometimes – is this a work of man? So this strong expression of visual imagery combined with a emotional outcry transcendenting barriers of race, creed, language is Art. So by its very nature art is subjective and with evolving times, art evolves as well. It is this constant evolution that gives rise to new styles -how long can you stick to the same staple diet. Art should be appealing to the new generation as well. So thanks to Artist Jeeva’s introduction, to Mr Bala, on whose introduction, we are going to showcase a masterful art by Sri Chalukyan.

A sadly ill maintained mural from the Tanjore temple, with its colors worn off is the inspiration for this work. The panel – Kaalasamhaaramurthy ( kaala – death, samhara – overcome) shows Shiva kicking Yama, the God of death to protect his devotee – Markandeya. We have already seen this story from the chola panel from inside the temple before, so we go straight to the stucco panel.

Proving that true art transcends time, Chalukyan has taken the panel that depicts Shiva stopping time for his devotee ( Markandeya was given a boon to remain 16 forever – how many of us would like to have that boon !!), a story of unconditional surrender to the supreme force and chosen to depict it in a medium that has been in use from prehistoric times – charcoal. A medium that mocks mortal existence, for its our ultimate end point – Ash, which is sported by Shiva.

Human existence is mortal, art is immortal.

Further works of Sri Chalukyan


8 thoughts on “What is art

  1. ‘கலைஞன்’ விஜய் என்று மின் தமிழ் பட்டம் கொடுத்தது மிகச் சரியானது என்பதை நிருபித்துள்ளீர்கள்.


  2. As usual, beautiful post. I am little confused as to how this is different from what you post normally (am talking about the first line where you say that this is a first. )
    Also, why did you have that long prologue about art. Is this art by Mr.Chalukyan that different from normal art? Sorry if I am asking too many questions.

  3. Hi Vamsee,

    We have been shocasing sculpture and art thats inspired by it – in only one genre …for want of better term maybe i should use realism or photorealism. This post is new in that sense, that it moves away into a bit of abstract ( talking of chanlukyan’s handling of the subject)


  4. @ chalukyan I should be thanking you

    @ chandra – welcome welcome, long time no see.

    @ dhivakar sir – am just an art appreciator – 2nd catergory!!!

  5. Unfortunately I do not have the ability to understand modern works of Art. It is beyond my comprehension. To put it the other way, I do not like to tax my brain to make it understand.

  6. Good post. Art is an experience. No words are enough to explain an experience. It touches the inner feelings which kindles the unexplainable ecstasy of joy.

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