Art And Society Part II

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Often artists and art practitioners, through their subconscious have indulged in picture making

which has amazed the world . Surrealist the group of artist, who have tried to go in deep
into their subconscious ,and come face to face with their inner realities. Every epoch in art
has had a meaning behind it, thus a purpose to solve .

Art has always been used to popularize and propagate religion in older times .With the urge
to share and connect cave men painted and drew in order to build a relationship and for
conveying their message to the others. The cave painting gives a feeling of mystery and has
been a source of puzzle for many years. What they wanted to speak out is still unsure, maybe as
a way to document and record .Art was always an inevitable part of a society and culture. People
have produced art not only for the mere pleasure of senses, but as a matter of utility and a source
todocument. To speak out in coded language through symbols. In prehistoric time art was
produced with such unimaginable techniques .People with skill used to make these idols of
deities and helping the people to connect to lord in a more convenient way. An idol is a
symbolic form of the deity, hence a belief that we are close to god .Art has always been a mirror
to the society, a way of always reflecting the time and its needs .

If we view the world history, then we will realize an art practice that was developing in one
part of the world, was being subconsciously pursed in other part as well. This makes
us think on one factor that some where everyone is being connected through one universal
mind and then theory of Hegel comes into effect where he goes on to say that ”Mind is
inherently universal, but in its limited form ,as the minds of particular people do not see
themselves as all part of the one universal mind. Hegel describes this as a situation in which
mind alienated from itself – that is ,people (who are manifestations of mind )take other
people (who are also manifestations mind )as something foreign ,hostile and external to
themselves, whereas they are infarct all part of the same great whole.”[{Marx, a short
introduction} oxford]. This further leads us to think, that a common line can be drawn in
connecting the thoughts of human all over the world. It is like an unrealized part of us.

The simplicity, of art, further strengthen the fact how people used to make objects of utility
and everyday ritual purposes that is coined as art today .How art as a part of daily life is
being studied over a span of thousands of years. The Chinese and Japanese culture and over
many years the development of pottery and tapestries ,the form of art they practiced had a
huge impact on artist in modern times as many were inpired by the brush strokes ,some by
the pureness of colors. But to them it might just be a way of life. A tradition transcended
over by generations. In India till today such customs are followed, where art comes into
importance. During the festive seasons ,women make alpans and clay figures ,Dias have
been an inevitable part of Hindu customs and ritual for pooja, the idol worship ,Ganpati
pooja and Durga pooja idols are made and ceremonies are followed for a week and then
these huge sculptures are submerged in the water as a form of gesture of respect to the lord
of sea.

Indian culture has been very liberal since the very beginning. Where in if we take examples
of the explicit Khujarao temples which is a very profound example of erotic sculptures in
temples. Thus, with these we can very well draw references, that art helps us to relate to the
historical background of one’s country the environment at that time and the beliefs of that
time.

Ajanta caves were built in a horse shoe shape and to think how advanced and developed they
were in their approach then stimulates one’s mind. These paintings relate to Lord Buddha and
his life. These caves were thus in places where there were trade roots nearby and was a form
of propagating religion. Myths have been an inbuilt part of a society; every place has their
own myths and norms. It was said that the Buddhists monks painted these caves as
commissioned by some king at that time. But at the same time it reveals a lot of stories and
tales that relate to the lives of lord Buddha in his past ages in a narrative form. Thus art, was
used as a medium of propagation, as a visual has a stronger impact. As it has a quality to
transport a person from its existing place to another place, a place the artist is dealing .In the
end it helps to transform a person.

The excavation of the Harappa site exposed a series of sculptures namely the ‘Dancing girl’
and the ‘Bearded man’, this proved to us how developed the society was at that time and how
far were they in the process of creating art. A lot was uncovered about the way they used to
lead their life. Art can never be kept apart from the society and be looked on as a mere tool to
derive pleasure, but it has more value to it than being limited to such a concept.

This gives us an insight to the lives of the people then and the animal that even have
been extinct now. Art is a way of documenting and freezing the time. These paintings are an
inspiration to many in the world. The significance of the oceanic and tribal art has a sound
connection to the art practices of the cave men in the pre-historic times. Many artists of
modern times like Picasso and Paul Gauguin have searched and found simplicity in these
images which relate to the inner spirituality and peace.

Art was used as a source to pay a tribute to the dead, if we look at the Egyptian art
Practises. Where they used to believe in the concept of life after death, and buried along with
them all the possession they would need during their journey after death. For this reason
they built pyramids as a burial place for the dead, they painted the inside of the pyramid with
scenes related to the daily life and ritual scenes. These were meant to help the spirit, who
could call them to life by incarnations, and so surround himself with hordes of servants to
provide for the necessities and enjoyments of life. They believed in if the body of the
deceased, would be mummified it will then never be destroyed. The soul could enter these
mummified bodies. Inside the Mastaba there was a false or imitation door for the ‘Ka ‘, through
which the soul could pass and fetch the offerings put there. Ref from (A history of fine arts in
India and the west- Edith Tomory)

In fact every different epoch in art had its own significance and it was due to the change in
the mindset of the people that further probed the thought of changing the art scenario. Thus,
the society and the thinking of the people have a deep impact on the treatment of an artistic
procedure.

Byzantine art was more based on the propagating of Christianity, they used to make static
figures out of mosaic. Shadows and perspective was not a matter of importance to them
so every period is a thesis and an anti-thesis. A cycle that makes things move and this
process is called synthesis as by Meyer Schapiro .Then with renaissance started a period of
revival of Greek and roman art. It mainly focused on the factor of perfection in every
breath of the movement .

They wanted to create an art which seemed more than real and was very naturalistic,
it was thus a demand of the situation at that time as they believed in the fact that art practiced
before that period was static and no emphasis was reflected on the importance of utilizing
space ,chiaroscuro ,creating a depth so ,as an anti thesis for byzantine renaissance was the apt
thesis of that period .The art in the medieval period mainly focused on craftsmanship the
skills and the techniques, having been hired by the church and the kings to paint
commissioned works.
Thus is always attuned in with time and the occurrences in the society.

-Akanksha Khanna

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