Artist

Vermeer’s Room

Short Commentary
The Geographer by Vermeer.
[Source – Wikipedia]

The Geographer and the Astronomer were in the same room as Vermeer for it is in the front room, on the second floor of a spacious house, Vermeer’s mother-in-law’s house, that he produced most of his work.

One good room and in this one good room, a window (usually on the left), a table, chair, cupboard, stool, curtains, draperies, tapestries and a picture-within-a-picture maintained a position, steady, jolly, known, homely, oozing warmth that allowed the artist to mix the pigments well.

And in these two paintings, the two silent globes – a celestial globe with its terrestrial pair for in the 17th century globes were sold in pairs as a direct, neat, calculable link between astronomy and geography was thoroughly entertained – appear in full support of the two sharp owners, a trust built on daily encounters in the same room.

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The Astronomer by Vermeer.
[Source – Wikipedia]

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The Japonsche rocken/ Japanese kimono worn by the two scholars here add to the room’s mood and colour; more like precious gifts for a selected few – back then these were not for sale, but presented in batches only to the merchants who were allowed to visit the Imperial Court in Edo (Tokyo) – the robes then feature seriousness, persistence and also recognition.

Many feel that the Geographer and the Astronomer are the same person with some guessing him to be modelled after the Dutch scientist, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who probably knew Vermeer.

The ultramarine, cyan shade that colours the two robes, derived from natural lapis lazuli, very expensive, deep, quietly presents the two scientists caught wondering, imagining, getting inspired by a source.

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The only supposed portrait of Jan Vermeer van Delft.
[Source – Wikipedia]

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And the artist painstakingly fine-tunes the details, adds layers, swirls and golden dots, folds, peaks and dips, floral touches, tiny tiles and shadowy walls, and signs the painting, sometimes signs it twice.

And the room, sitting patiently absorbing in light and darkness, also signs.

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Enlightenment Pocketed

Lotus Koan.
Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay.

“The enjoyment of art is an act of recreation, or rather of creation in the reverse direction, towards the source of intuition, i.e., an act of absorption, in which we lose our small self in the creative experience of a greater universe.”

Anagarika B. Govinda

I happen to have a small sweet book titled Art & Meditation (actually a few years back I took it from my brother), written by Lama Anagarika B. Govinda – an artist, a Buddhist monk, traveller and writer.

Sharing his paintings, poems and thoughts with us, he talks about the ineffaceable, elusive yet real, sublimely beautiful link between art and meditation; how true art merges with true religion and vice-versa.

It is not digressive or sluggishly cumbersome, this thought, rather it is stimulating for the one who is not in a hurry.

The author wishes his essays and artwork to serve as koans i.e. ‘meditative problems’ for his readers that churn our thoughts and act as an impetus for continuing the search.

I have gone through this insightful book twice now. What struck me this time was its size, how come Lama Anagarika Govinda’s lectures on art and meditation along with his artwork were capsuled in such a tiny book?

Of course, there must be other collections of his essays and pictures, surely in not-so-tiny a book.

But here I would intentionally turn this coincidence into a grand undertaking and happily say something ambitious.

This beautiful book holds, yes-yes it does, the secret to enlightenment and simply because of its humble, calm and forgiving nature, affordable price, elucidations of the artwork and colour schemes given and the profound ideas shared.

With these balmy thoughts, I will read this book again in the near future for then it will reveal a new secret to me.

Leaving you with an edifying thought –

“Art in itself is a sort of a paradox, a Koan in the deepest sense of the word, and that is why the followers of Zen prefer it to all other mediums of expression. For only the paradox escapes the dilemma of logical limitation, of partiality and one-sidedness. It cannot be bound down to principles or conceptual definitions, because it exaggerates or abstracts intentionally in such a way that it is impossible to take it literally: its meaning is beyond the incongruity of the words.”

Anagarika B. Govinda

Enlightenment, Pocketed-
Calm mind beams
Together with the heart.

– Haiku – Jagriti Rumi

Also read other posts on art and meditation –

Buddhahood

I wish to SEE Tibet

Thunderous Applause… And the Warli Drama Unfolds

कलाकार/ Artist

Transient Permanence


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कलाकार/ Artist

The wheel is spinning.
Image – Pixabay.

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सोमवार को दी एक पुकार

की जल्दी में क्यों हो सरकार

आना भी है, आकर जाना भी है….   

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मिटटी गुंधे जो बैठा है कुम्हार

जशन से टशन से घुमाएगा पहिया वो

आदर और अदब से फूंकेगा वो

जब जान, तब बनेगा एक घड़ा जो

जल से भरेगा, तरेगा, करेगा शोर

की जल्दी में कयों हो सरकार

समय से कब बंधा है कलाकार?  

Translation –  Artist  

I spoke to Monday once

That why was it in such a hurry

To come and in a hurry to go…  

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The potter who has kneaded the soil

Will spin the wheel in his style

Carefully and respectfully he will instill

A life force and the soil will take the shape of a vessel.

In usage this vessel will make some noise and ask

That why is time in such a hurry,

When it can never bind an artist’s creativity?

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