From Joy Springs All Creation

From Joy Springs All Creation #DurgaPuja

Devi Durga

From joy does spring all this creation, by joy is it maintained, towards joy does it progress, and in joy does it permeate.


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Ah! were it worse- who knows?- to be
Victor or vanquished here,
When those confront us angrily
Whose death leaves living drear?
In pity lost, by doubtings tossed,
My thoughts- distracted- turn
To Thee, the Guide I reverence most,
That I may counsel learn:

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François Boucher is undoubtedly rococo era’s most celebrated artist. Despite, accusations of painting shallow and frivolous subjects, he has his place secure in the history of the world of art. Boucher was instrumental in creating some of the most vivid portraits of his patron Madame de Pompadour. Besides, he loved depicting mythological and pastoral scenes on canvas in his characteristic decorative style.

François Boucher (September 29, 1703 – May 30, 1770) received his first lessons in art from his father. He grew up in an environment where both the artists and the audience were increasingly becoming restless with baroque or, more specifically, its merciless stricture, mindless exaggeration and undue emphasis on symmetry. They were yearning for a change and when the rococo style was introduced by artists like Antoine Watteau everyone embraced it wholeheartedly. 

Besides paintings, Boucher also created numerous porcelain pieces, designed theatre sets and tapestries. He maintained a large workshop where Jacques–Louis David spent his formative years. In the final years of his life, his once huge popularity began to wane. Critics, including the likes of Voltaire and Denis Diderot, were exasperated with his art that showed only lightheartedness, fun and frolic. They simultaneously attacked rococo, accusing the style to be devoid of any sense and proprietary. The movement that started with the masterful brushstrokes of Watteau, saw its exaltation and, perhaps, even its eventual demise through François Boucher.


Andreas Achenbach took up the challenge of assimilating the mute eloquence of nature in his paintings and pulled it through with aplomb. The tranquil or rough sea captivated his imagination, the signs of which were reflected in many of his painting. Born in a family of beer and vinegar brewer, both Andreas and his brother Oswald Achenbach used the power of art to transcend their mundane existences.

Andreas Achenbach (September 29, 1815 – April 1, 1910) learned the basic nuances of art from none other than Friedrich Wilhelm Schadow. Later, as he broadened his horizon and travelled afar to places like Italy, Scandinavia and St Petersburg his art grew into maturity. Still, Schadow’s influence was evident in his artworks and they were smeared into romantic ideals.

Andreas and Oswald Achenbach worked more as itinerant painters. Sometimes, their father too joined them on their trips. Lavish praises were bestowed on both the brothers and Andreas went on to receive state honours from Prussia and France. But his highest achievement remains in capturing the ‘rapture of the lonely shore’ and ‘music of the roaring deep sea’ so vividly on canvas.


Antoine Coysevox’s intricately sculpted busts used to bear remarkable semblances with the actual subjects. Such was the power of his innumerable terracotta, bronze and marble sculptures that be became one of Louis XIV’s most favourite artists. Antoine Coysevox (September 29, 1640 – October 10, 1720) created a large number of pieces for the decoration of Versailles. He became close to Charles le Brun, another famous artist of his time. Some of his best pieces were destroyed during the revolution. Yet, there still remains sufficient number of sculptures to understand and appreciate the elaborate artworks of this master.


Giovanni Comin was a tintore or dyer, so everyone used to call young Jacopo, his son, Tintoretto or ‘little dyer’. The name stuck with him forever and perhaps not inappropriately. For, Jacopo dyed vast canvases with the power of his imagination nearly his entire life. When he was about twelve years old, Tintoretto was sent to Titian’s workshop. The training did not last even two full weeks and Tintoretto returned home. There is no dearth of conjectures about the apparent frostiness between their relationships. From this point on, young Jacopo used Michelangelo’s sculptures, models and anatomical sections to perfect his skills in art.

Before long, Tintoretto (circa September 29, 1518 – May 31, 1594) established himself as one of the most revered figures of the Venetian School of art. His paintings were permeated with his proverbial energy and vigour, bordering on restlessness, something that earned him the title of Il Furioso. For thirteen years (1565 – 1587), the artist worked untiringly to create a vast series of paintings for Scuola di San Rocco in Venice. This is generally considered as the epoch of his career.

Noted renaissance artist, Andrea Schiavone used to assist Tintoretto during the creation of many of his frescoes. Later he also found able hands to support him in his daughter Marietta, both a musician and painter whose life was cut short by an untimely death, and son Domenico. However, it was El Greco, the master painter and sculptor from Spain, who became a torch–bearer of Tintoretto’s art. It is apt to recollect Rainer Maria Rilke’s words for summing up the enduring value of Tintoretto’ art,

Most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures.


Alexandre Cabanel’s precocious talent was recognised early in his life. He entered the famed École des Beaux–Arts at seventeen, exhibited at the Salon at twenty one and won the Prix de Rome at twenty two. His academic style painting earned him accolades, but his attachment to that also distanced him from the other revolutionaries of the world of art, like, Édouard Manet. While he himself could not prevent exalting beauty on canvas, he failed to appreciate the same in the works of the impressionists.

Alexandre Cabanel (September 28, 1823 – January 23, 1889) spent greater part of his early days in Montpellier, Hérault. Both his technique and knowledge of mythology were impeccable and he hardly ever endeavoured to disregard the popular taste of the day. His apprenticeship in Rome certainly influenced the former. Cabanel painted numerous elaborate portraits as well. He became a professor at the École des Beaux–Arts and continued in this role till his death.

The Birth of Venus, painted in 1863, remains one of Alexandre Cabanel’s most notable paintings to this date. When it was exhibited at the Paris Salon, it received mixed reviews. Émile Zola denounced it and many others derided its suggestive pose veiled in mythology. Interestingly later in the year, Édouard Manet’s Olympia was shown to public. Its erotic content, sans any affectation, created an even greater furore. Estranged by taste and style the two crossed each other’s path in undeserved public ignominy.

Alfred Noyes (via itsquoted)
Mystery: Time and Tide shall pass,
I am the wisdom Looking–Glass.
This is the ruby none can touch:
Many have loved it overmuch;
Its fathomless fires flutter and sigh,
Being as images of the flame
That shall make earth and heaven the same
When the fire of the end reddens the sky,
And the world consumes like a burning pall,
Till where there is nothing, there is all.


Cosimo de’ Medici, the patriarch of the Medici dynasty, was no artist himself. But the world of art is indebted to him forever, for he started a trend of patronising art, architecture and literature that were continued by those following him. From Fra Angelico to Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello to Michelangelo, nearly every illustrious artist of the era was benefitted by the patronage of the Medicis. Allegedly, the family used art to establish their dominance in Florence and advance their propaganda. But it must also be remembered that without their financial support renaissance might have been reduced to just another insipid art and intellectual movement.

Cosimo de’ Medici (September 27, 1389 – August 1, 1464) laid the foundation of his empire based on the Medici bank. In fact, the dynasty had existed since a century before him, but it rose into a prominence holding his hands. He was an astute businessman, policymaker and diplomat. He believed in humanism and supported its development through such scholars as Niccolo Niccoli and Leonardo Bruni. He commissioned the first ever complete translation of Plato’s work in Latin that was carried out by Marsilio Ficino. His grandson Lorenzo de’ Medici, one of the most notable statesmen of all time, benefitted the most from his ideals. Borrowing the words of Marsilio Ficino we may say,

Every movement directed towards a definite end first begins, then proceeds, then gradually increases and makes progress and is finally perfected.

This accurately defines Cosimo de’ Medici’s contribution in shaping the fate of his family, cultural and economic vista of first Florence and then entire Europe.