Appreciating Art by Abhay K

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'Art Exhibition for Starters and What to Appreciate’ by AbhayK. As an art lover I find anything as art which in someway touches my heart and soul. There is no need to teach ourselves to appreciate one above the other or train our tastes. Let’s rely on our instincts to guide us what appeals us because what appeals us is art. It may be real or abstract, figurative or symbolic, high art of renaissance or tribal art, cubism of Picasso and Braque or Russian Avante Garde of Kazimir Malevich. What’s common among masterpieces of art is their un-diminishing appeal to art lovers across generations. I had never seen a painting in my childhood and the schools I went did not have any painting classes. I was already 18 when I came to Delhi. It was in Delhi I started visiting the art galleries and realized the power of art; power that could stir something deep within me. But these visits were occasional as I had little time to spare from my studies to visit art events. I remember in my college days I had found a calendar with prints of paintings by Indian artists and had pasted them on the wall at the rented place I stayed in Delhi. I remember visiting Picasso's exhibition of 122 paintings at the National Museum in Delhi in December 2001. I had heard and read about M.F. Hussain and Satish Gujral, some of India's most famous artists but beyond that I had no knowledge of either ancient or contemporary Indian art. In August 2005, I was sent on my first diplomatic assignment to Moscow. As soon as I arrived in Moscow I visited the Tretyakov art gallery. I don't know why, but an unknown force attracted me to this gallery. Moscow had opened a new wonderful world of art for me. The love of the Russian people for their paintings and literature stirred and inspired me. I bought my first paint brush and a set of painting colours at the 'Central House of Artists' and painted my first painting on the back side of a used chocolate box. As it is said that every writer is essentially a voracious reader; in the same vein every artist is essentially an art lover. Love for art and beauty is perhaps innate and instinctual in human beings. This is born out of internal need for harmony and beauty. Humans have been creating art since the prehistoric ages to contemporary times; earlier in caves and now in art galleries and museums. We are born with abilities to appreciate art and need not learn it. But what we can make ourselves aware is little bit of art history, major trends and personalities in art. This makes art appreciation a lot more fun. Paintings are like books with stories. A careful look at paintings reveals so much what is otherwise not visible at first glance. One needs to know a little background story as well to appreciate conceptual or symbolic paintings. Masterpieces of high renaissance period revolve around Greek mythology so if one is planning to visit either the Louvre or the Hermitage, planet’s two largest museums, it is important to read a little bit of basic literature on Genesis and Greek mythology. Just walking into the Louvre, off course will be a pleasure; no doubt, as we can instinctively feel beauty however being familiar with the background and the circumstances under which such art was created one will get immense pleasure. (Abhay K is a writer-artist-diplomat and has had several exhibitions of his art works in St. Petersburg and Paris. His current exhibition is running at Adzak Museum, Paris)