Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Museum of Buddhist Art - A Rare Collection of Buddha Statues

The Museum of Buddhist Art in Bangkok is reputed to have the biggest collection of Buddha statues, sculptures and figurines based on Buddhist art work from kingdoms dating back to the 6th century AD. The exhibits reflect the cultural heritage of the various kingdoms in Thailand and neighboring kingdoms as well.

Visitors to the Museum of Buddhist Art are usually advised to start their tour in an annex to the main building that houses the Kuan Yin Palace and Museum which displays statues of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The courtyard outside this museum has six miniature wooden palaces housing Chinese deities.

The main theme of the Museum of Buddhist Art, however, is housed in eight rooms upstairs in the main building displaying Buddha statues, sculptures and figurines from the different kingdoms that had an impact on Thai art and culture.

The various schools of Buddhist art of each era blended with the previous and added its distinct touch. Detailed explanations are provided for the Buddha statues, their characteristics, different postures and subtle variations in the folds of the robes.

The museum is a useful source of knowledge for the scholar of Buddhist art and Buddha sculptures. The casual visitor, seeking an overview of an important aspect of Thai culture, would find this museum interesting as well.

Buddhist art from the various kingdoms displayed in the Museum of Buddhist Art

Dvaravati art (6th - 11th centuries AD)

Dvaravati art is based on the culture of the United Kingdom of Dvaravati in Nakhon Phahom, Central Thailand established by the Mon from Burma. The Buddhist art work of this period is based on the Southern India and Sri Lanka models.

Srivijaya art (7th - 14th centuries)

The Srivijaya kingdom covered Sumatra, Java, the Malay Peninsula and Southern Thailand, right up to Surat Thani and Nakhon Sri Thammarat. The art form from this era had a rich mix of Indian, Khmer, Sri Lanka, Java and Sumatra cultures.

Khmer art (11th - 19th centuries)

From 6th - 14th centuries, the Khmer Empire in Cambodia ruled over Laos and northeastern Thailand (Isarn). Khmer art was to have an enduring legacy on Buddhist art work for centuries to come.

Burmese art (11th - 19th centuries)

Burmese art evolved from the various ethnic groups in the ancient Burmese kingdom of Pagan. The Burmese, Mon, Arakan, Tai-yai kingdoms developed Buddhist art during their respective reigns. All these groups had an influence on Thai art.

Sukhothai art (13th - 15th centuries)

Art flourished in the Sukhothai Kingdom under the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng. Classic Sukhothai art soon emerged from the Khmer influence and established its unique style.

Ayuthaya art (1350 - 1767)

The exhibits on Ayuthaya art in the Museum of Buddhist Art represents the longest period in Thai art. Pre-Ayuthaya art was a combination of Khmer art of the Bayon period (the Bayon temples in Cambodia) and Dvaravati art, a mixture which was known as U Thong Art.

The establishment of Ayuthaya produced a blend of Khmer and Sukhothai styles which gradually evolved into its own distinctive character in the 16th century.

Lanna art (13th - 20th centuries)

The Lanna kingdom (Land of a Million Fields) was established by King Mengrai in northern Thailand in 1296. Pure Lanna art developed when the kingdom was independent. Lanna came under Burmese rule and later under Thai rule. The Buddha statues during these periods had their subtle differences.

Lan Xang art (14th - 18th centuries)

The Lan Xang kingdom (Land of a Million Elephants) was founded by King Fah Ngum in the 14th century after the fall of Sukhothai. The kingdom covered present day Laos and parts of northeastern Thailand. King Fah Ngum made Buddhism the state religion and so began an art form that also left its mark on Buddhist art.

Thonburi art (1767 - 1782)

Thonburi art had a brief period as the kingdom lasted for only 15 years.

Rattanakosin art (1782 - present)

What followed was Rattanakosin art of the modern Bangkok era. The Buddha statues and sculptures during the reign of the Chakri Kings developed a distinct identity of their own.

The other eight rooms in the Museum of Buddhist Art are not directly related to the central theme but are equally interesting. These cover artifacts from the pre-historic Ban Chiang culture, Yao paintings, stone sculptures.

An unusual set of exhibits in this museum is the room displaying statues of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary, a reflection of the religious tolerance in Buddhist society.

The Museum of Buddhist Art embodies not just the art and culture evolved for more than a millennium through the rise and fall of several kingdoms. It symbolizes the philosophy of moderation and tolerance, values that serve as a beacon of light in these troubled times.

For more Bangkok Museums.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Is Art a "Pseudo Statement?"

We all are familiar with terms like self expression, catharsis or inner exposure, art is supposed to give vent to all the feelings, emotions, sensations, thoughts, ideas or thesis, we revolve around or try to do so, either they are religious, philosophical, psychological, ethical, romantic or sensual, we always want to share these emotions with others, so, created different ways of expression that mostly come under the comprehensive meanings of art. Right from the stone age or even before it, expression on solid rocks in the form of symbols, shapes and lines could be seen and understand even today with the full zeal and zest, that was present in the ancient human being at the time of creating those early sketches, in a very true, direct and enthusiastic way, that is still the source of finding the foot steps of early human civilization to enhance the modern one.

Art goes through different passions. When Classicism determined the hard and fast rules for any literary or artwork, all art that was art, was of divine origin it was the "witness of the glory of God". As a reaction, Romanticism sprouted out as a fresh wave of pure inner and individual point of view, then Expressionism, Impressionism and Realism added or tried to add some weight in the idea of "Expression" according to the desire and demand of an individual as well as the society. This force of let others know what we feel & how other should feel in a particular subject, drove Art into the geometrical thinking of Cubism and later on by breaking its edges adopted abstraction, not only just in subjects but also in shapes and colors. Dadaism also played its role up to some extent but it was just a quick baseless rejection of everything, without having any solid grounds for Judgment or criticism.

But if we look at art as a serious tool or way of real expression of soul then we will have to agree with Croc'ce, an Italian "Intellectual of Aesthetics". He said, "Art is nothing else than mere expression of perception." According to him a piece of art, even before created on canvass, is actually got shape in the artist's mind.
Knowledge is either imparted through intellect or images, and images do influence intellect or intellect has to carry itself through images. A complete expression is a blend of soul and perception through images.
Art conveys aesthetic perception of an artist to others, it can carry and convey sound, moments, contours, colors and words and make an artist's expression, a complete impression.

This is 21st century, the age of IT, where, not only colors, contours and shapes are enough, but also something more has made the viewer to chose and select by choice. The term "Multimedia" has broaden the vast of art to sounds, movements, changing colors and shades, and so the ideas, views and modes. No one has got ample time to ponder over, either it's the artist or the viewer, even the art itself running short of time to penetrate. Artist wants to produce masterpieces overnight, viewer is keen to have countless unique interests under his belt, so the art itself has lost its shelf life, paintings are hanged, sculptures are exhibited and then after few days everything is packed for good.

We, then refer to the photographs, journals, catalogues and websites, as there is no time to wander around in the galleries and try to absorb art from its own original flare or freshness. Now the most popular idea behind any art is "the artist's job is only to show". But even modern attitude will find it difficult to show creativity without imagination, so, without imagination, the best of art, might get the status of just a shadow or imitation. The quantitative aspect is over whelming the qualitative aspect.

New age is fast, and furious too. Now specific fields are not just bound to certain people, it's not the time when art is just confined to elites only. Today the idea of "everything for everyone" has brought about the change in art lover lobbies. Now there is another bunch of art lovers or if I could say them art critics who have nothing to do with the philosophies of subjects or the subtleties of technique, but they have every interest with the so called criticism on art as they have the opportunity to look at the art pieces by virtue of their contacts or habit of having a look at everything. That's why globally, very few real and true art critics are seen, while in our country, we have to be satisfied whatever is available in this regard as there is not much published and discussed on regular basis.

Once some body said, "the test of utmost fine-ness in execution in these arts is that they make themselves be forgotten in what they represent". This is the most ideal form for an artist and the viewer to be drowned in the magic of an art piece, but we all know, no body has got so much time in this crazy world now a day for such a practice. That's why we always take and give a bird's eye view; even the artist himself wants the economy of thoughts and ideas along with paints and strokes in his masterpiece.

No time for realism or super realism to present objects as the are in real life, camera is a better option for such practice, but the thing is, it does matter a lot that how much artist's interest and soul is reflected even in those simple and few strokes and straight forward ideas. The main feature of art is to convey the original message of artist's mind to the viewer. I.A. Richards, a European critic has the belief that any art or literature is created due to an active chain of interests in the creator's mind, and these very interests got activated in the mind of reader or viewer, when conveyed to him. So, art is always to carry something to others from its creator, and if it lacks in it, the art is not of great par.

There has always been a disbelief in ordinary minds that why we need such an intricate source to express even simple thoughts or emotions? Thoughts and emotions are never simple enough to be expressed through language only, actually our emotions are symbolic representation of our nature and attitude, and these very things are not as simple as one can guess, it is a chain of continuously changing phenomenon that affects our personality so much that we need to take something out of us. So the art, being the way of expression, is not simple to understand at all. One needs to take it at two different levels of understanding, one is emotional or imaginative and the other is intellectual level, but both are interlinked in comprehending an art piece as the skill and talent are, in the case of creating one. And this is not a "pseudo statement" at all.

So the imagination on which the art is based is the soil where it got its roots, therefore all the "Isms" were and are action or reaction of changing human mind collectively, which, afterwards change the society as well in a positive manner with reference of subjective atmosphere.

I conclude with a line of Shelley, he said, "Imagination is the organ of moral nature of man." So we can say that the art, as being based upon that very Imagination can and do determine the moral values in human minds and society as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

How to Select Art for Your Home

Selecting art for your home can be an exciting adventure and a source of enjoyment for years to come. Keys to success are figuring out what kind of art you like, how it will fit in with the rest of your interior design plans, and how to exhibit the art to the best effect in your home.

What kind of art do you like?

There are many opportunities to browse art within your community at local exhibitions, art fairs and galleries. Even small towns usually have a not-for-profit gallery space, or caf├ęs and restaurant that exhibit local artists. In larger cities, galleries often get together for monthly or periodic "gallery nights" where all the galleries hold open house receptions on the same evening. It's a great way to see a lot of art in a short time.

Today the internet provides the largest variety and depth of fine art available worldwide. You can visit museum websites and see master works from ages past, check out online galleries for group shows, and visit hundreds of individual artists' websites. One advantage of using the internet is that you can search for the specific kind of art you are interested in, whether it's photography, impressionism, bronze sculpture, or abstract painting. And when you find one art site, you'll usually find links to many, many more.

Should the art fit the room or the room fit the art?

If you feel strongly about a particular work of art, you should buy the art you love and then find a place to put it. But you may find that when you get the art home and place it on a wall or pedestal, it doesn't work with its surroundings. By not "working," I mean the art looks out of place in the room. Placing art in the wrong surroundings takes away from its beauty and impact.

What should you do if you bring a painting home and it clashes with its environment? First, hang the painting in various places in your home, trying it out on different walls. It may look great in a place you hadn't planned on hanging it. If you can't find a place where the art looks its best, you may need to make some changes in the room, such as moving furniture or taking down patterned wallpaper and repainting in a neutral color. The changes will be worth making in order to enjoy the art you love.

Sometimes the right lighting is the key to showing art at its best. You may find that placing a picture light above a painting or directing track lighting on it is all the art needs to exhibit its brilliance. If you place a work of art in direct sunlight, however, be sure it won't be affected by the ultraviolet light. Pigments such as watercolor, pencil and pastel are especially prone to fading. Be sure to frame delicate art under UV protected glass or acrylic.

How to pick art to fit the room.

Size and color are the two major criteria for selecting art to fit its surroundings. For any particular space, art that is too large will overwhelm, and art that is too small will be lost and look out of proportion. The bolder the art, the more room it needs to breathe.

As a rule, paintings should be hung so that the center of the painting is at eye level. Sculpture may sit on the floor, a table, or pedestal, depending on the design. Rules should be considered guidelines only, however, so feel free to experiment.

When selecting a painting to match color, select one or two of the boldest colors in your room and look for art that has those colors in it. You're not looking for an exact match here. Picking up one or two of the same colors will send a message that the painting belongs in this environment.

Another possibility for dealing with color is to choose art with muted colors, black-and-white art, or art that is framed in a way that mutes its color impact in the room. A wide light-colored mat and neutral frame create a protected environment for the art within.

Style is another consideration when selecting art to fit a room. If your house is filled with antiques, for example, you'll want to use antique-style frames on the paintings you hang there. If you have contemporary furniture in large rooms with high ceilings, you'll want to hang large contemporary paintings.

How to create an art-friendly room.

Think about it. When you walk into a gallery or museum, what do they all have in common? White walls and lots of light. If a wall is wall-papered or painted a color other than white, it limits the choices for hanging art that will look good on it. If a room is dark, the art will not show to its best advantage.

If you want to make art the center of attraction, play down the other elements of the room like window coverings, carpeting, wall coverings, and even furniture. A room crowded with other colors, textures and objects will take the spotlight away from the art. Follow the principle that less is more. Keep it spare and let the art star. Then relax and enjoy it.

Selecting and displaying art is an art in itself. Experiment to learn what pleases you and what doesn't. You'll be well-rewarded for the time you invest by finding more satisfaction both in the art and in your home.

Copyright 2006 Lynne Taetzsch

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Art Collecting Tips for Profit and Pleasure (A Six-Part Series): Part 1-Why Buy Art?

A SIX-PART SERIES ON SUCCESSFUL ART COLLECTING

PART 1: WHY BUY ART?

WHY BUY ART? To answer this question, ask yourself what your reasons are for
thinking of acquiring a piece of art. An artwork can cost a considerable sum, but if it
meets your needs, it’s worth every penny. Anyone can buy art, and for almost any
reason. Many people buy an artwork simply because they like it, even if the artwork
may be by an unknown artist. Art, as long as you enjoy it, is never a waste of
money. As John Keats puts it in Book 1 of Endymion:


“A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases”


Art Is For Enjoyment

Art is meant to be displayed, unlike shares or bonds. Don’t ever feel pressured to
buy something you won’t appreciate looking at day after day, no matter what other
people may say. Don’t buy something that doesn’t appeal to you just because it is
trendy, because the artist is famous, or because you have been advised that the
artwork will make a good investment. If you don’t like the artwork at all, don’t buy
it!An artwork should touch your soul, stimulate your thoughts and bring a smile to
your lips. It should bring you pleasure, and even joy.There are only 365 days to a
year (366 on leap years). Be selective about how you live those days. Avoid wasting
them on something you dislike.

Art Enhances Your Environment

Have you ever noticed that all beautiful homes have art as an integral part of the
decor? Art lends life and color to otherwise plain and ordinary walls, nooks and
crannies, and mantelpieces. A well thought-out art collection will help create a
unique ambience in your home and make it more attractive. For similar reasons, art
often graces commercial premises, such as office lobbies and the offices of top
executives.

Art Makes a Statement

The kind of art you surround yourself with says much about your personality, tastes
and values. Edna Hibel art, for instance, is associated with strong family values and
humanitarianism. See why at: [http://www.cherishcollectibles.com/site/
1256072/page/459196][http://www.cherishcollectibles.com/site/]
1256072/page/459196

Art truly is a mirror of the soul. It’s an expression of who you are. Be true to
yourself, and choose art which is meaningful to you.

Art Can Be An Investment

Art can pay handsome returns, but this very rarely happens overnight. If you’re
hoping to make a fast buck, art may not be the right avenue for you. There are
investors, of course, who like to put their money in art. They do this for two main
reasons: emotional as well as financial benefits.

Art is one of those peculiar investments which you can actually admire and enjoy.
And researching and hunting down a desired piece of art can be as much fun as
owning it! Many art collectors enjoy combing galleries, websites, auctions and even
flea markets in pursuit of their passion. Profiting eventually from the sale of a find
becomes a bonus.The promise of both pleasure and profit from art certainly adds to
the appeal of art collecting.

Art Enriches Your Life

At a conference on health and ageing, held in Brisbane, Australia, the founding
professor of complementary medicine at Melbourne’s RMIT University shared his
findings that love – even the love of an activity or an inanimate object, such as a
work of art – contributes to healthier living and a longer lifespan. Art should enrich
your life. Otherwise, why spend precious time and resources on it?

Art Makes An Impression

When you need to give a gift which will make a lasting impression, a delectable
piece of artwork is hard to beat. Any beneficiary will appreciate receiving such an
exclusive gift, and be honored that you valued her enough to give her something so
unique and precious.Just remember to select something which will appeal to your
recipient’s tastes, and keep to a sensible budget. Good art needn’t cost an arm and
a leg.Before you part with your money, there are several golden rules of art
collecting to consider. Look out for them in Part 2 of this series, titled
“SIX GOLDEN RULES OF ART COLLECTING”.

Happy art collecting!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Original Fine Art: Finding Your Art Personality

Most people are reluctant to buy art work because they don't understand it. Since the turn of the twentieth century, art has come out in increasingly bewildering forms. Who really gets Picasso? And what value really do melting clocks have for anything? Most importantly, what art do you like?

Sadly, most people aren't exposed to original fine art in any way as children. The art work they see is primarily found in children's books, or in history books. This results in an abysmal lack of knowledge about art.

Your Art Personality

To decide what kind of art you would be interested in, think about who and what you are. Do you tend toward the traditional? You would probably prefer a fine art print with a recognizable subject: floral prints, for instance, or an art print with human subjects or landscapes that do not make the viewer uncomfortable. A great choice when you buy art would be to look at some of the French Post-Impressionists: Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin and Seurat.

If you have an edgier personality, or you are the sort of person who likes to be daring, look at later art periods. Choose art that appeals to you without necessarily needing to understand it. Something by Jackson Pollock, with his colourful poured-art technique might give you a fine art print you'll enjoy displaying on your wall for years.

Perhaps you prefer history or religion for your art work. It's not likely you can afford an original, but fine art prints based on the remarkable works of Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci, if displayed in excellent frames on your walls, can bring focus to an entire room as well as telling your guests you prefer the classics.

If you prefer to buy art that is original, either for the cachet or for the uniqueness, you can haunt galleries or you can look online for art work that has been done by new and unique artists, for example at a reputable website like: [http://watermarkart.co.uk] There is no guarantee that original fine art like this will ever be worth anything, but many artists recognized today as great could not sell anything when they were young. If you have reasonable taste and are willing to take a gamble, original art works by unknowns can add personality and interest to your home while having a chance of being worth a great deal in the future.

Perfect Art Work for Your Home

The most critical consideration when choosing a fine art print or original fine art is that it should fit well in your home. A dark and brooding art work won't look right in a sunny and cheerful room, for instance. You may prefer a sensual art print in the bedroom, or to buy art work by new artists for your very modern living room.

No matter what you're told by a dealer or friend, never buy art work that does not appeal to you. You'll only grow to hate it. Instead, always purchase your art with yourself in mind. And maintain an open mind. Your favourite art work may be unusual or even disturbing, but if it appeals to you, that is what matters.