Artists are influenced by…..
……their surroundings, life, nature, the silhouette of people and even something as simple as the structure of a leaf!
Artists are people with a very keen sense of perception. They feel, see and experience situations unlike others, and look for details and nuances in their everyday life. Many works of great artists have come about in such a way. Whether it was Jehangir Sabavala who was influenced by simplistic paintings of European artists or MF Hussain’s fascination with Bollywood and the Indian woman, these artists allowed such detailing to influence them and the work that they did.
Perhaps more than their surroundings, a majority of artists allowed themselves to be affected by the circumstances that they went through and the emotions that accompanied them. Art was then used as a medium to vent out their feelings. This is something that can happen with most of us, whether we are or aren’t an artist. Just hand over some bottles of color to a child to paint, and watch while he chooses a bright color if he is in a happy frame of mind or a dull one if he has been recently reprimanded!
In order to illustrate the point still further, below are a few examples of artists whose works were stimulated and influenced by the things around them.
Pablo Piccasso– 20th centurys most illustrious artist, Pablo re-defined modern art. His BLUE PERIOD paintings were characterized by somber paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green and were done in Spain in early 1901. Many paintings of gaunt mothers with children date from this period. In his austere use of color and sometimes doleful subject matter – prostitutes and beggars – Picasso was influenced by a trip through Spain and by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas.
SH Raza– A contemporary of MF Hussain and FN Souza, Raza has been known to create abstract paintings full of color and vibrancy. He was influenced by science and cosmology and created works that reflected his thinking and beliefs. One of his works, ‘Saurashtra’ was in fact sold as recently as 2010 for INR 16.42 crore at a Christie’s auction.
Edvard Munch– Norwegian artist Edvard Munch was a technically brilliant artist whose work was greatly affected by emotions and human angst. His close personal familial encounters with insanity affected the way he portrayed his subjects and their emotions. His most famous painting, ‘The Scream’ was just this, his way of expressing his inner feelings, a silent supplication of pain.
As he described his painting in his own words; “I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly, the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous infinite scream of nature.”
Vasudeo Gaitonde– Unlike his other fiery contemporaries like MF Hussain and Souza, Gaitonde was a very quiet and simple man. This is reflected in his paintings, which he described as ‘non-objective’, paintings which are based on the Zen Philosophy, emoting silence in his work and interspersed with calligraphy.