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When Raja Ravi Varma Re-Imagined Manet’s Olympia
An artist ahead of his time, Raja Ravi Varma pushed the boundaries of Indian art and image-making and in many ways redefined iconography. The artist who belonged to the same time as some of the greatest European artists of the time like Paul Gauguin, Édouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh, and was most likely influenced by it is likely his style was influenced by artists such as Vermeer, Raphael, Rembrandt, and David, Ingres, Ravi Varma pioneered salon art in India; remarkably having never travelled outside the country or trained in an art school. Deliberately moving away from buxom anatomies, large-sized heads, droopy eyes, gaudy costumes and jewellery, heightened chiaroscuro effects, dark misty landscape settings, and palatial backgrounds, Ravi Varma’s realistic interpretations and portrayals of gods and goddesses and historical events left a deep indelible impression on the popular visual culture even to this day.
From his early Tanjore-style bejewelled paintings to mass-produced oleographs, Ravi Varma brought many popular stories to life with an illusionistic flair that mirrored the society of his time. Having mastered the oil medium he adapted Western Academic naturalism to “pure Indian sensibilities”, an example being Édouard Manet’s Olympia being adapted into Ravi Varma’s Reclining Nair Lady. In the artwork, we see a fair-skinned affluent Nair woman recumbent on a velvet couch being attended by her dark-skinned maid as she gazes directly at the viewer. Believed to have been modelled on the heroine of the popular Malayalam novel Indulekha by O.C. Menon, the painting alludes to Manet’s masterpiece of a nude woman (Olympia) lying on a bed and her black female servant bringing her flowers. The orchid in her hair, bracelet, pearl earrings and the oriental shawl on which she lies are symbols of wealth and sensuality. Since Ravi Varma operated in a different socio-cultural milieu he transfigured an unabashed Olympia into a fully-clothed but equally bold Indulekha. Coming up with his unique visual storytelling, the artist offers us a peek into the world of erudite and worldly Indulekha. Painted in 1902, the heroine is shown as an educated woman fond of reading and capable of holding her own, unlike other Raja Ravi Varma sensual mythological and sometimes coy heroines.
Published in 1889, O.C Menon’s Indulekha dealt with societal constraints on the romantic love of a young educated Nair woman in 19th century Kerala. In order to portray Indulekha’s fiercely independent spirit, Ravi Varma supplanted Olympia’s boudoir to an upper-caste woman from the Malabar region of India. As someone who painted many women from aristocratic and noble families, Ravi Varma’s works were documentation of their lifestyle and their society. In this painting, a quintessentially Malayalam heroine Indulekha can be seen wearing a mundum neryathum (a two-set upper and lower garment that eventually evolved into a saree), kasu malai (garland of coins), ruby-studded gold bangles, earrings and necklaces, and the top knot on her hair is bedecked with flowers, while her servant almost merges into the background as she fans her mistress. The naturalistic finesse and three-dimensional quality lend a sense of volume and perspective to this composition where we can feel the gauziness of the Nair lady’s mundum neryathum. She lies atop a narrow bed covered with a silk throw and a blue pillow. Like Olympia, the Nair lady also holds the gaze of the viewer while languidly resting her head on her hand. As much as the painting draws inspiration from Monet’s Olympia it also borrows narrative elements of Company paintings of aristocratic men and women, nawabs and bibis and their retinue of servants and handmaidens minus the inherent exoticisation. In many ways, this painting combining European influence and native tradition was reflective of a newfound redefinition of the modern Indian woman without any of the shocking elements of Olympia.
At a time when Victorian prudishness was seeping through the cracks of Indian society, Ravi Varma chose to model his young and educated heroine on a controversial figure proving once again that he was the first Modernist when it came to Indian art.
Édouard Manet, Olympia, 1863 (Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
Raja Ravi Varma, Reclining Nair Lady, 1902 (Image courtesy: Google Arts & Culture)
The dark-skinned attendants to fair-skinned mistresses
Left: Olympia Right: Reclining Nair Lady
Left: Olympia Right: Indulekha
This genre defying painting features in the first ever Exclusive Raja Ravi Varma NFT Auction.
Click the link here to participate in the First Ever Raja Ravi Varm NFT Auction .
The Coquette: Raja Ravi Varma’s timeless tribute to the Indian Female Form
Raja Ravi Varma, who brought the gods to life, imparted an ethereal aura to royalty and redefined feminine beauty with his timeless paintings. Overcoming flatness, flaccidity, and a lack of movement in the subject of earlier painting styles, Ravi Varma breathed a new life into classical Indian painting through his skillful combination of western academic realism and Indian narrative style. His creations, both mythological and social, evoke an emotional response in the viewer as they reveal myriad emotions on canvas, the psychological reactions of these emotions through their body language, gestures, and facial expressions. Though it is difficult to pick one iconic work of a painter whose works are ubiquitously known for their beauty and grace, colors, strokes, and finesse, his famous piece The Coquette (circa 1893) is an accurate representation of Ravi Varma's unique visual vocabulary filled with different registers of sensation, sensuality, symbolism, subtle metaphor without heightened drama, and a range of modes and meanings which resonate with social, cultural and artistic patterns. A beautiful woman holds a gooseberry as she looks directly at the viewer. Cast in an enigmatic and seductive avatar, the unknown woman clutches the edge of her saree as she playfully offers the fruit to the onlooker. Such was the admiration for this composition that the artist created another similar work titled Lady with a Fruit (1894), now housed at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. Admittedly, this could have been a popular theme at the time since other artists like Sekhara Warrier also played with the piece of a woman and fruit and came up with versions such as Lady with Fruit Plate (1890). However, Warrier's depiction of an upper-caste Nair woman holding a plate full of plump orange-like fruits is similar to and different from Ravi Varma's The Coquette. The woman in Warrier's work is a Nair woman dressed in a transparent white methukattu (or mundu) since they were not permitted to wear a blouse or an upper garment as per their religious customs. Gazing languidly at the viewer, Warrier's Nair woman is more 'real' and earthly - a regular privileged woman from 19th-century Kerala. At the same time, Ravi Varma's Coquette is a softer, more delicate, and ethereal 'Apsara-esque' woman who is boldly seductive. Perhaps this is why the other two paintings have specific titles, as there are not many subtle and suggestive hints. Still, The Coquette is special because it is a more layered interpretation of the ideals of femininity and womanhood. The visible difference in modeling the faces and bodies of both women is also not lost on the viewers. Interestingly, even the Lady with a Fruit is considered slightly paler compared to The Coquette regarding the composition's details and richness. On closer examination of the style of the two paintings, one would realize that The Coquette has been painted with a high level of precision and detail. At the same time, Lady With A Fruit appears to be a more hurriedly made work, as the stroke work in the painting is remarkably different. This evocative and powerful image opens up various possibilities regarding what Ravi Varma was trying to convey through this work. The word "coquette" is defined as "a woman who likes to attract attention by behaving as if she is sexually interested in people, in a pleasant but not serious way." If the tilt of her head, her slightly parted red-tinged lips, and the provocative look in her eyes depicts the woman's cheerful flirting, the exquisite jewelry, the green velvet blouse laced with brocade, and the translucent pink silk saree embellished with gold threads speak of her upper-class status. Gooseberry is said to have grown from the drops of Amrit, the heavenly nectar that fell from the abode of gods. Thus, a beautiful fair-skinned woman holding a gooseberry could be Ravi Varma's modern visual re-interpretation of Vishnu's Mohini avatar in an imaginative combination of eroticism and innocence. Or, she could be a Ravi Varma prototype of an earthly Apsara (celestial nymph) tantalizing her viewers with the fruit-bearing nectar of immortality. Or, it could be the artist's way of indicating the woman's pregnant state. As the genuine modernist he was, Raja Ravi Varma glorified women as Goddesses and the Goddesses as women. The Coquette seems to be an attempt in a similar vein without the overt sexualization or meaningless glorification of a young woman featured in the portrait. Even today, Ravi Varma's depiction of the Indian female form leaves us spellbound as his Devis, Nayikas, Apsaras, Maharanis, and many unknown women effortlessly transcend the real and the ideal. It seems like this painting was Ravi Varma's tribute to these women as he imparted each of their most distinctive qualities to this nameless woman called The Coquette. This painting is a part of the first-ever Exclusive Raja Ravi Varma NFT Auction. Check more on the auction details and join our waiting list here. Ravi Varma Coil Tampuran, The Coquette, Travancore, circa 1893 (Image courtesy: Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation) Raja Ravi Varma, Woman Holding a Fruit, late 19th century (Image courtesy: National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Google Arts & Culture) Sekhara Warrier, Lady with Fruit Plate, 1890 (Image courtesy: Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation; Google Arts & Culture)
Raja Ravi Varma and Shakuntala
Throughout the history of art, varied artistic reinterpretations of mythology have resulted in some of the most iconic works of art. Mythology resonated in the splendid Avalokiteshwara of Ajanta; Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus (1483-85); the cheap mass-produced Battala woodcuts; Picasso’s Minotaur Ravishing a Female Centaur (1933/39); MF Husain’s Mahabharata series (1971); and in some cases dominated entire repertoire of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. Known for his emblematic depictions of Hindu mythology, Raja Ravi Varma arrived at something that was never seen before - the archetypal Nayika or Heroine. With the use of oil paint and realism, Ravi Varma recreated the literary heroine as an empowered woman rather than a damsel in distress. It wasn't so that every other mythological character found a place in Ravi Varma’s canvas, but only those dramatic characters that had permeated into the Indian psyche over the centuries. Shakutala was one of many Nayikas that Ravi Varma resuscitated in a new avatar and it seems that she occupied a special place in the artist’s oeuvre. Kalidas’ eponymous heroine born to the great sage Vishwamitra and celestial nymph Menaka, Shakuntala’s life was full of trials and tribulations. Soon after her father and mother abandoned her, sage Kanva brought her up in his ashrama. As the story goes the sage found her in a forest amidst singing shakunta birds and named her Shakuntala. She later met Emperor Dushyanta of Hastinapur and married him only to be deserted by her husband in a forest while she was asleep. Their son Bharata, later became the emperor and the predecessor of the Kauravas and Pandavas. Her efforts to reunite with her husband is one of India’s most loved and much read literary saga retold in Mahabharata and Kalidas’ Abhijnanashakuntalam (The Recognition of Shakuntala). Ravi Varma’s fascination with Shakuntala resulted in many memorable creations including the first chromolithograph “Birth of Shakuntala” (Shakuntala Janma; also bears the spelling 'Sakoontala') that came out of Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press in 1894. Other such timeless Raja Ravi Varma lithographic compositions featuring Shakuntala include Shakuntala Patralekhana, Shakuntala Dushyanta, Menaka Shakuntala, Shakuntala Removing a Thorn from Her Foot, Shakuntala Sakhi, and many others. One of the lithographs, titled Shakuntala Sakhi portrays a young Shakuntala in sylvan surroundings with her sakhis (friends) Anusuya and Priyamvada. Ravi Varma who captured in her many moods and many more life incidents gives us a glimpse of a young and playful Skauntala adorned in flowers with Anususya, Priyamvada and a deer. Shakuntala’s white drape clashes against Anusuya and Priyamvada’s bright red and yellow sarees, a familiar trope used by artists to depict the nayika/heroine’s purity. The scene symbolically juxtaposes Shakuntala’s naive innocence where her friends tend to her with the deer’s fickleness. Unaware of the life changing events, Shakuntala here is bliss personified. Through his lithographic press, Ravi Varma also gave new meaning to the art of collecting and owning art. This pioneering step made it possible for the common man to own a piece of art produced by the incredible Raja Ravi Varma! Credited for many-a-firsts, Raja Ravi Varma was possibly the first Indian artist to master perspective and the use of oil paint; he also pioneered the use of human models to depict Hindu gods and goddesses and scenes and stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Puranas; the first Indian artist to gain widespread international fame at a time when painters and craftsmen largely remained either anonymous or unidentified; and the first to make his work available not just to a specific class of patrons but also to common people by way of his oleographs. RtistiQ brings to you the Raja Ravi Varma Phygital NFT art auction that will be held between the 28th- 31st July’22. Don’t miss out and collect them all by clicking here. https://art.rtistiq.com/en/auction/raja-ravi-varma-nft-drop2/lots Ravi Varma, Birth of Shakuntala, circa 1894, Ravi Varma Press Image courtesy: Google Arts & Culture; Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru Ravi Varma, Shakuntala Patralekhan, 1895, Ravi Varma Press Image courtesy: Google Arts & Culture; Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru Raja Ravi Varma, Shakuntala Removing Thorn from Foot, 1898 Image courtesy: Google Arts & Culture; Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru Ravi Varma, Menaka Shakuntala Sakhi, circa 1890, Ravi Varma Press Image courtesy: Google Arts & Culture; Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru Ravi Varma, Shakuntala Sakhi, circa 1890, Ravi Varma Press Image courtesy: Google Arts & Culture; Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru
Mohini - A Raja Ravi Varma Lithograph
Raja Ravi Varma was one of the most celebrated artists of India in the 19th century. He was a popular and significant artist of the time, who combined European sensibilities with traditional Indian artistic landscape, thus carving a niche for himself. Raja Ravi Varma’s early life was spent in the tiny hamlet of Kilimanoor, around 40 km north of Trivandrum in Kerala. He was from a princely family, closely linked to the ruling family in Trivandrum. His family was creatively inclined and had a profound effect on the young Ravi Varma. His father was a Sanskrit scholar, and his mother was a poet. His uncle was an amateur artist, who painted in the Tanjore style. So, when Ravi Varma began to exhibit artistic inclinations, it was his uncle who encouraged him with his early lessons. He was a pioneer in the field of art, having successfully combined Indian iconography with western painting techniques. His prolific repertoire included paintings of Indian mythological figures, Gods, Goddesses, studio-style portraits of royalty, and scenes from everyday life. He was one of the earliest Indian artists to exhibit his paintings abroad. He was revolutionary in his contribution to the Indian art scene, having established a lithographic press so that his paintings become accessible to the common man. He was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind, gold medal, for his service to the British Raj, in the year 1904. Even after a century, his work is still celebrated and sold for millions of dollars at the top art houses around the world. The lithograph Indian mythology is a veritable treasure trove of stories, filled with fantasy, adventure, heart wrenching tragedy, romance, and mystery. It is no wonder that the characters who populated these mythic legends have managed to capture the imagination of the people who read them. Being the extraordinary artist that he was, Raja Ravi Varma was successful in breathing a new life into these characters, by reimagining them and showing a rare human side to them, while transporting them to his wonderous paintings. The lithograph featured here is titled, Mohini, the temptress. It is based on the original oil painting by Ravi Varma, which was named, Mohini on a swing. This painting depicts, Mohini, the female form or avatar of Lord Vishnu, who features in the lore of yore. Mohini is mentioned in the puranas, as a seductress, enchanting and dazzling the demons with her beauty and beguiling them to concede and let the God’s taste the nectar of life first. The next time Lord Vishnu took Mohini’s avatar was to save Lord shiva from the clutches of the formidable and unvanquishable demon, Bhrahmasura. In this exquisite painting, Mohini is shown seated on a swing under a shade of a majestic tree. She is swathed in a white attire, presumably a saree, with a rich gold border and simple jewellery. The bangles and necklace seem to accentuate her delicate wrists and slender neck. Mohini is captured here in a rare, lighthearted moment, with her windswept hair trailing behind her and her feet in the air, as she attempts to swing higher. Image courtesy: Google Arts & Culture; Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru The scenic background, with Ravi Varma’s trademark artistic touches serves to accentuate the beauty of the painting. Ravi Varma as an artist often managed to cross the thin line between the real and the imaginary world, especially when it came to portraying women. He used many elements like richly decorated attire, jewellery, even flowers and fruits to accentuate the beauty of his muses and to bring out their mood in the painting. For instance, in his famous painting ‘Radha in the moonlight’, the nayika Radha, is seen sitting on the rocks, next to flowing water on which moonlight is reflected. The faint hint of smile and her gaze hints at the fact that she may have seen Krishna, approaching her. Her body language, the way her sari is pulled around her shoulders and her luminous beauty, reveal the fact that she is both a lover and devotee of Lord Krishna. The brass pooja thali next to her, with a medley of flowers, sweets, and fruits, symbolizes an element of piety and devotion present in Radha. Here, as the divine and mortal elements merge, the relationship is shown to be on a spiritual level as well. The whole mood of the painting seems to be one of serenity, while in the case of ‘Mohini’ there seems to be an element of sublime sensuality and playfulness. Mohini, despite her celestial status, indulges in a moment of mundane magic, as she swings higher. Her diaphanous sari and languid body language in carefree abandonment, as she enjoys the moment is an ode to her seductive nature and infuses the painting with an undertone of sensuality. The artist has skillfully combined the luminous beauty of a goddess and the seduction and playfulness of a nymph to create the original enchantress Mohini, in this lyrical and captivating composition. In 1979, the Indian government declared Ravi Varma paintings a national treasure and banned exports of the same. Most of his work is exhibited in museums or owned by private collectors. The rarity with which these paintings come for sales and auctions and their sheer exclusivity, make them a high-value investment. This auction is important as it gives the buyer the distinctive chance to own a rare piece of painting, that has captured the imagination of people, the world over. The fact that these prints are extremely rare to come by makes them a unique collector’s item. RtistiQ brings to you the Raja Ravi Varma Phygital NFT art auction that will be held between the 28th- 31st July’22. Don’t miss out and collect them all by clicking here. https://art.rtistiq.com/en/nftdrop
ARTICLES ON ART INSIGHT
How to Tell a Lithograph from a Painting: A Comprehensive Guide
Art enthusiasts and collectors often come across various forms of visual art, including lithographs and paintings. While both mediums have their own unique appeal, it is important to understand the differences between them. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to differentiate between a lithograph and a painting, considering their techniques, materials, and characteristics. By gaining insights into these key factors, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to identify and appreciate these art forms more effectively. Understanding Lithographs A lithograph is a type of printmaking technique that involves the process of drawing or painting on a stone or metal plate. It is based on the principle of oil and water repelling each other. The artist creates an image on the stone using specialized tools, and then applies ink to the stone's surface. The ink adheres to the image while being repelled by the wet areas, and a piece of paper is pressed onto the plate to transfer the image. A more detailed article on Lithographs can be referenced in the article What Is A Lithograph. Analyzing Painting Techniques Painting, on the other hand, involves the application of pigments onto a surface, typically canvas, using various tools like brushes, knives, or even fingers. Paintings can be created with different types of paints, such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, or gouache. Artists have greater freedom to manipulate the paint, creating textures, layering colors, and incorporating various brushstrokes, thereby resulting in a unique and original piece of artwork. There are a few key differences between lithographs and paintings that can help you tell them apart. Paper: Lithographs are typically printed on high-quality paper, such as rag paper or watercolor paper. Paintings, on the other hand, can be painted on any type of paper, including newsprint, canvas, or wood. Ink: Lithographs are printed with ink that is specifically designed for lithography. This ink is water-based and has a high viscosity, which means that it is thick and does not flow easily. Paintings, on the other hand, can be painted with any type of paint, including oil paint, acrylic paint, or watercolor paint. Printing process: Lithographs are printed using a process called intaglio printing. This process involves pressing the plate against the paper in a very controlled manner. Paintings, on the other hand, are painted by hand, and there is no such control over the application of paint. Texture: Lithographs typically have a smooth, even texture. Paintings, on the other hand, can have a variety of textures, depending on the type of paint and brushstrokes used. Signature: Lithographs are typically signed by the artist. Paintings, on the other hand, are not always signed. Examining the Surface One of the key ways to differentiate between a lithograph and a painting is by examining the surface closely. Lithographs typically have a flat, smooth texture with even ink distribution. Due to the nature of the printing process, the lines and colors in lithographs tend to be more uniform and consistent. In contrast, paintings often exhibit varied textures, visible brushstrokes, and an overall three-dimensional quality. The presence of texture is a strong indicator of an original painting. Inspecting the Signature Another important aspect to consider is the presence of an artist's signature. In most cases, lithographs are signed in pencil, usually at the bottom margin, while paintings are typically signed in paint directly on the artwork itself. Examining the signature can provide valuable insights into the authenticity and origin of the piece. Additionally, lithographs may have edition numbers or impressions indicating the total number of prints made from the original plate. Assessing the Color Saturation Color saturation is another distinguishing factor between lithographs and paintings. Lithographs tend to have more consistent color saturation throughout the print, with an absence of subtle variations that are commonly seen in paintings. Paintings, on the other hand, often exhibit subtle color shifts, gradients, and nuanced tonal variations, showcasing the artist's hand in mixing and applying the pigments. Considering the Frame and Glass The framing and glass used can also provide clues about whether you're looking at a lithograph or a painting. Paintings are usually framed with a mat and glass, which helps protect the artwork and enhance its presentation. In contrast, lithographs are typically framed without glass, as the glass can cause unwanted reflections and interfere with viewing the image. Moreover, lithographs are often mounted directly on the backing board to prevent any damage caused by the pressure of the glass. Conclusion Distinguishing between a lithograph and a painting requires a keen eye and understanding of the key differences in technique, materials, and characteristics. By examining the surface, signature, color saturation, and framing, you can confidently identify whether you are looking at a painting or a Lithograph.
Singapore Art and Artists: Exploring the Rich Cultural Tapestry and Creative Expression
Singapore is a vibrant city-state that has a thriving arts and culture scene. Over the years, Singapore has seen the emergence of numerous talented artists who have made significant contributions to the local and international art scene. In recent years, the art scene in Singapore has experienced significant growth and development, further solidifying its position as a vibrant cultural hub. Here's a glimpse into Singapore's art and artists: Art Movements in Singapore: Compared to European and other Asian counterparts, Art is relatively young in Singapore and driven mainly by the many cultures and traditions that make up Singapore society. What makes Singaporean Art more distinct is the merging of Chinese, Malay and European Art forms with a blend of localised cultural heritage, indigenous beliefs and popular practices in Singapore. Here is an overview of the key periods and milestones in the history of visual art in Singapore: Early Art Influences (Pre-19th Century): Before the 19th century, Singapore was primarily a trading port, and the cultures of the Malay Archipelago, China, India, and the West predominantly influenced art. Traditional art forms, such as batik, sculpture, and calligraphy, were practised by local artisans. Colonial Influence (19th-early 20th century): The arrival of British colonial rule in the 19th century brought Western influences to Singapore. European artists and art teachers introduced academic art practices, such as oil painting and portraiture, to local students. Notable artists during this period include Raffles Institution founder Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and his wife, Sophia Raffles. Nanyang Style and Cultural Identity (mid-20th century): In the 1950s, a significant art movement known as the Nanyang Style emerged in Singapore. Led by four master artists of the time, Liu Kang, Chen Wen Hsi, Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng, this movement combined Chinese ink painting techniques with Western art styles, creating a distinctive fusion. The Nanyang Style was a form of cultural expression exploring the identity of the Southeast Asian region and its people. Modern Art Society (mid-20th century): In the 1960s, the Modern Art Society was established, advocating for modern art practices and promoting local artists. This period marked a shift towards experimentation and exploring abstract and conceptual art forms. Artists like Lim Yew Kuan and Anthony Poon were instrumental in driving the development of modern art in Singapore. Contemporary Art and Global Recognition (late 20th century-present): In the late 20th century, Singapore's art scene continued to evolve and embrace contemporary art practices. The opening of institutions like the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) in 1996 and the National Gallery Singapore in 2015 provided platforms for local and international contemporary artists. Singapore's participation in international art events, such as the Venice Biennale and the Singapore Biennale, further propelled its global recognition. Most Notable Artists of Singapore Singapore has been home to many prominent Artists continuously gaining International reputations. Here are some of the most notable and significant artists from the city-state of Singapore Georgette Chen (1906-1993) was a Chinese-born Singaporean painter known for her realistic portraits and landscapes. She is considered one of the pioneers of modern art in Singapore and a key figure of the "Nanyang School" of Art. She had spent much of her early life in China, France and New York, before making Singapore her home in the year 1954 to spend later years of her life. GEORGETTE CHEN, BOATS AND SHOPHOUSES , (credit: Sotheby's) Chen Wen Hsi (1906-1991) was a Chinese-born Singaporean painter known for his lyrical landscapes and portraits. Similar to other prominent artists Chen Wen Hsi, had spent a good part of his life in China before making Singapore his permanent home. He along with four other prominent artists founded the Nanyang Style of Painting in the year 1953, creating a watershed moment for the Singapore Art scene. In 1964 he was awarded with the "Public Service Star" award. One of his paintings "Two Gibbons Amidst Vines", addorns the back of every $50 note of Singapore. The gibbons are there not only to beautify the note but they also signify a great artist who contributed his entire whole life to the art world. Cheong Soo Pieng (1917-1983) was another prominent Chinese-born Singaporean painter known for his abstract paintings. He along with Chen Wen Hsi, Georgette Chen and Liu Kang founded the Nanyang style of art, one of the most important movements of Singapore's cultural History. After migrating to Singapore in 1946, he took up Art teaching at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and began his fervent amalgamation of Western and Chinese pictorial styles. Best known for his stylized depictions of Malay and Balinese women, he worked in a unique aesthetic that blended Hindu, Chinese, and Modernist European influences. Lim Tze Peng (born 1921) is a Singaporean painter known for his Chinese ink paintings. He is considered one of the most influential artists of his generation in Singapore. His masterpieces have been exhibited in many local and international exhibitions and prominent art centers in Singapore, including the Singapore Art Museum and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.. Hundred and two years old Mr Lim currently is the oldest living Artist of Singapore and was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 2003 for his vast contributions to the Art and Culture of the Country. LIM TZE PENG (courtesy South China Morning Post) Amanda Heng (born 1951): Amanda Heng is a contemporary artist known for performing art and installations. She often addresses issues of gender, identity, and social norms in her works and has exhibited her art internationally. She rose to pominance in the 1990's and is considered a pioneer of Performance Arts in Singapore. She is among the first Singaporean Artists to win the distinguished Benesse Prize and also awarded Cultural Medallion for Visual Arts in 2010. Among the many firsts that she brought to the Art scene in Singapore, includes the founding of the Artists Village in 1988 and then later in 1999 she formed the Women in The Arts (WITA) Collective, the first Artists run collective in Singapore. Tan Swie Han (born 1943) Born in Indonesia Tan Swie Han is a Singaporean multi-disciplinary Artist who migrated from Indonesia in 1946 and is known for his Chinese calligraphy and Contemporary Art Sculptures. He is also distinguished as being the most expensive artist in Singapore after he sold his painting "Moon is Orbed" for S$3.7M in the year 2012 and later again broke his own record by selling his ink on rice-paper artwork "Bada Shanren" for S$4.4M. Tan Swie Han (courtesy Straits Times) Yeo Shih Yun (born 1976): Yeo Shih Yun is a Singaporean artist known for her abstract ink paintings. She combines traditional Chinese ink painting techniques with contemporary approaches, creating bold and expressive artworks reflecting her experiences and emotions. Jane Lee (born 1963): Jane Lee is a contemporary artist known for her experimental approach to painting. She often uses unconventional materials such as epoxy paint and polyurethane foam to create textured and multi-dimensional artworks that challenge traditional notions of painting. Lee has toyed with the painting structure to create rich and tactile abstract works that frequently combine two into three dimensions. These are just a few examples of the many talented artists from Singapore who have significantly contributed to the local and international art scene. The art scene in Singapore continues to evolve and grow, with new artists constantly emerging and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. Head on to our curated collection Inspired-By-Singapore with a selection of works created by Artists worldwide that could illustrate different sides of Singapore's cultural diversity. Part of this collection is a selection of paintings by the Australian artist Dean O'Callaghan painted and inspired by Singapore's cityscapes and exclusively available on RtistiQ.
Exploring the Intricate Techniques of Islamic Art
Islamic art is a rich and diverse artistic expression shaped by centuries of cultural and religious influences. From calligraphy to geometric patterns, this guide explores Islamic art's various styles and techniques and how they have evolved over time. What are Islamic Art styles and techniques in the contemporary art market? Islamic Art encompasses various styles and techniques, some of which have been adapted and incorporated into contemporary art markets. Here are some examples: Calligraphy: Islamic calligraphy is one of the most recognisable art forms in the world. It involves the writing of Quranic verses or other Islamic phrases in a decorative way. Contemporary artists have experimented with this style by incorporating it into paintings, sculptures, and installations. Calligraphy is also used to decorate buildings, textiles, and other objects, and is often combined with other forms of Islamic art, such as geometric patterns and floral motifs. The beauty of calligraphy lies in its ability to convey meaning and emotion through the careful arrangement of letters and words. Geometric patterns: Geometric patterns are common in Islamic Art and are often used to decorate mosques and other religious buildings. Contemporary artists have also incorporated these patterns into their work, creating modern pieces rooted in Islamic tradition. Some common geometric shapes used in Islamic art include circles, squares, triangles, and stars. These shapes are often combined to create intricate and mesmerizing patterns that are both beautiful and meaningful. Miniature painting: Miniature painting is a traditional Islamic art form that involves creating small, detailed paintings on paper or other surfaces. Contemporary artists have continued to use this technique, often with a modern twist, creating works that are both intricate and innovative. Metalwork: Islamic metalwork is known for its intricate designs and detailed craftsmanship. Contemporary artists have continued to use metalworking techniques to create modern pieces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Ceramics: Islamic ceramics are often decorated with intricate patterns and designs. Contemporary artists have continued to use this technique, creating modern ceramics that are both beautiful and functional. Islamic art styles and techniques have a rich history that inspires contemporary artists worldwide. By blending traditional Islamic techniques with modern styles and materials, these artists are creating a new and exciting form of Art that celebrates both the past and present. The influence of nature and floral motifs Nature and floral motifs are also commonly found in Islamic art. These motifs are often used to symbolize growth, renewal, and the beauty of the natural world. Islamic artists often use stylized versions of flowers, leaves, and vines in their designs, incorporating them into geometric patterns or using them as standalone elements. The use of nature and floral motifs in Islamic art reflects the importance of nature in Islamic culture and the belief in the interconnectedness of all living things. Working across various disciplines, Mobeen Akhtar details her fondness for arabesque by using natural pigments extracted from minerals, rocks and earth as she aims to practise the traditional methods so they may be recognised and enjoyed today, as they were in the past. The role of color and symmetry in Islamic art Color and symmetry are two important elements in Islamic art. The use of vibrant colors, such as blues, greens, and reds, is common in Islamic art and is often used to create a sense of harmony and balance. Symmetry is also a key feature of Islamic art, with many designs featuring intricate geometric patterns that are perfectly balanced on both sides. This symmetry is believed to reflect the order and balance found in the natural world and is a reflection of the Islamic belief in the unity and harmony of all things. Is Islamic Art a religious-only Art? Islamic Art is not solely religious but strongly connects to the Islamic faith and culture. Islamic Art encompasses various artistic forms and styles, including calligraphy, geometric patterns, miniatures, textiles, ceramics, metalwork, and architecture. Multiple cultures and regions have influenced these art forms throughout Islamic history and have been used for religious and secular purposes. Islamic Art can be found in various settings, from religious spaces like mosques and madrasas to secular areas like homes, palaces, and public buildings. In addition, Islamic Art has been appreciated and collected by people of various faiths and cultures throughout history. While Islamic Art often incorporates Islamic themes and motifs, it is not limited to religious subjects. Many Islamic artists throughout history have drawn inspiration from the natural world, human figures, and other non-religious subjects. In contemporary Art, Islamic art styles and techniques continue to inspire artists of all backgrounds and beliefs. By blending traditional Islamic techniques with modern styles and materials, these artists are creating a new and exciting form of Art that celebrates both the past and present. Is Islamic Art only practised by Muslims? Islamic Art has its roots in the Islamic faith and culture, but it is not limited to only Muslims. Islamic Art encompasses various artistic forms and styles, including calligraphy, geometric patterns, miniatures, textiles, ceramics, metalwork, and architecture. Multiple cultures and regions have influenced these art forms throughout Islamic history, and they have been appreciated and practised by people of different faiths and backgrounds. Many non-Muslim artists and artisans have contributed to the development of Islamic Art throughout history. In medieval Spain, for instance, Christian and Jewish artists worked alongside Muslim artisans to create some of the most stunning examples of Islamic Art and architecture. And in modern times, many contemporary artists and designers from diverse backgrounds have been inspired by Islamic Art and its techniques, incorporating them into their works. Furthermore, many Islamic art forms have been used for religious and secular purposes. Islamic architecture, for example, is often used for public buildings and private homes, regardless of the faith or background of the owner. Similarly, Islamic calligraphy and geometric patterns are often used in various artistic and decorative contexts, from book design to interior decoration. Final Thoughts! In conclusion, Islamic art is a form of art that is enjoyed by people of all backgrounds, cultures, and faiths. Its beauty and significance can be appreciated by anyone with an appreciation for art and culture. Head on to a very special collection of Islamic Art from Artists across different part of the world on RtistiQ - Cultural festivity Art Collection