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Exhibit

Ganapati Praathal

An unusual and interesting subject, one that you’re not likely to see elsewhere – Lord Ganesha having his first meal of the day (praathal). And you can also see it on site – with Naveen and a well demolished meal before it! :o)

Ganapati Praathal
Ganapati Praathal
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Exhibit

Naveen’s Work at Thumpode Shiva Temple, Kallara

Thumpode - Shiva - WIP
The image of Shiva at Thumpode while the work was not yet complete.

 

A long shot of the temple to let you see the bigger picture!
A long shot of the temple to let you see the bigger picture!

 

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Blogroll

Vishu Greetings!

Vishu greetings to all - Naveen & family
Vishu Aashamsakal – Naveen & Family.
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Exhibit

Naveen’s work in the Kunnathurmedu Krishnan Kovil…

Naveen has completed the project at the Kunnathurmedu Krishnan Kovil in Kunnathurmedu, Palakkad. Added to the Gallery in the navigation, you can also jump from here…

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Exhibit

Naveen at work: Nritya Ganapati

A great new creation:

Nritya Ganapati
Naveen at work – Nritya Ganapati
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Exhibit

Naveen’s Work Being Exhibited In France!

Some great news for all you mural-painting lovers, particularly if you’re based in France, or happen to be traveling there between Aug-20 and Sep-19, 2013 – Naveen’s work is going to be exhibited at the Galerie De L’Excellence, 4 Rue Bourbon, 86270 La Roche Posay, during those dates!

Please consider yourself personally invited!

Naveen's Exhibition at the Galerie de l'Excellence at La-Roche Posay, 2013
Naveen’s Exhibition at the Galerie de l’Excellence at La-Roche Posay, 2013
Naveen's Exhibition at the Galerie de l'Excellence at La-Roche Posay, 2013
Naveen’s Exhibition at the Galerie de l’Excellence at La-Roche Posay, 2013
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Blogroll

New gallery added.

After a rather long gap. Check out the new gallery: The making of a Mural – Vettakorumakan.

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Background

Mattancheri Murals (contd.)

Murals in the Staircase Room

The themes are several and various in this room, which measures 18-ft by 17-ft. The paintings include a family portrait of Siva, Vishnu in his Sankarshana form, Ardhanariswara, or Siva as half-female and half-male, the coronation of Rama, Kirata-Siva, Anantasayanam, few themes from the Devi Mahathmyam, paintings of the ten incarnations of Vishnu, and also an unfinished painting of Vishnu. The picture of the deity of Tripoonithura Temple, which is painted in the adjacent room is comparitively good.

These paintings are fair imitations of the highly complex iconographical art of Kerala. The paintings of Vishnu and Goddess Durga will surely hold the attention of those interested in iconography.

The predominant color used in these paintings is of course ochre. Apart from ochre, there are also shades of green like light-green and parrot-green, black, golden-yellow, blue-black, blue and white. the color pigments are, as usual, extracts of minerals and vegetable dyes.

 

Paintings in the lower chambers

A short flight of steps leads down to a small and not so tall inner chamber. in this room, as well as in the room to the east of it, are several painted wall panels. These ladies’ chambers are nearly one-fourth below ground level.

The most beautiful frescoes of Mattancheri are doubtless the murals in these rooms. The main theme is the nuptials of Siva and Parvati. These paintings are only outline sketches in ochre. Amrita Sher-Gill was fascinated by the effortless ease with which these ochre lines seemed to flow over the white wall surface. It is likely that the artist may have drawn inspiration from Kalidasa’s Kumara Sambhava (The Birth of Kumara). What is most fascinating is the picturization of Parvati’s bridal toilet and bridal procession. Instead of Himavan, it is Vishnu who is shown giving away the bride. This is certainly one among the best murals in Kerala.

The adjacent painting is also decorated with paintings. The dance of Siva and Mohini, the jealous anger of Parvati, Krishna’s miraculous feat of holding aloft the Govardhan mountain, a family portrait of Siva, and Krishna flirting with a group of enamored gopikas.

Though written off as a highly erotic piece of art, it is quite notable and distinctive among the palace frescoes. The artist seems to have fully understood the ‘sringara’ of Madana Gopalakrishna. The reclining Madana Gopalakrishna holds his flute in his characteristic way with the first two hands, and with his other six hands, he caresses and fondles the fifteen gopikas flocking around him. There are very few paintings that display erotic love with such intense passion, and one cannot help but wonder whether this picture was done under the influence of the tantric practices of the Vaishnavas, which were once very popular in Kerala.

The painting of Krishna holding up the Govardhan mountain conveys very cleverly, the drama of the moment. While protecting his kinsmen from the fury of Indra, Krishna’s face also mirrors a mischievous amusement. the expressions of the people who flock around him speak eloquently of the drama and the trauma of the moment. A frightened child goes instinctively into the arms of its mother. Obviously scared by the roar of thunder, a boy closes his ears. Besides these, the general expressions of the group is awe and wonder. An interesting feature of this painting is the abundant representation of the wooded mountain, showing hunting scenes and the various animals and birds of the forest. It seems likely that the artist who had painted this picture could have been subconsciously inspired by the mimetic rendering of ‘Kailasodharanam’ of Koodiyattam.

If ochre is the predominant color of the upper chamber, turquoise, golden-yellow, and a light shade of blue add a rare charm and softness to the paintings of the lower rooms, which are the ladies quarters. Directness, strength, vitality and rhythm are the characteristic features of the Ramayana paintings, while freshness of color dominates the Bhagavatham murals.

In the lower rooms, many paintings of copulating animals are cleverly painted wherever occasion appears to have permitted. It seems likely that these paintings, the painting of Madana Gopalakrishna and the flirtatious dance of Siva and Vishnumaya were an overt attempt to instruct the royal ladies in erotic love.

The female figures in the frescoes of the lower chambers are charmingly voluptuous. By Vatsyayana’s classification of female groups, these women would be categorized as Padminis. On the other hand, the women of the Padmanabhapuram murals can easily be identified as belonging to the Sankhini category.

Chemical treatment of the walls in recent times had revealed a small drawing of a girl dancing before Tipoo Sultan, which is clearly a clue to the date of the murals in this room. Tipoo and his army had marched to Kochi in 1776, during the reign of King Rama Varma (1775-90). Before the discovery of this painting, the lower chamber paintings were considered to be a little later than this.

Anujan Achan ascribed the Ramayana paintings to the 16th century, i.e. during the period of Portuguese supremacy. But taking into account the various stylistic features, the 17th century seems to be more plausible.

The Bhagavatham paintings of the bed chamber, and the paintings in the staircase room were in all probability done at the end of the 17th century or later, by an inferior artist. But it is very clear that the murals of the lower rooms were also painted during the end of the 17th century, by a truly great artist belonging to a line of renowned muralists of Kerala.

[From the publication Murals Of Kerala by M G Shashibhooshan, Dept. Of Public Relations, Kerala State. Reproduced here without permission, please advice if this information may not be carried here.]

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Exhibit

New In Gallery

The Making of a Mural series has been expanded to include the making of the traditional Anantasayanam and Ardhanariswara murals.

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Background

Mattancheri Murals

Mattancheri in Cochin has the distinct smell of trade and commerce even today. The passage of the years has only retouched her trading face, large godowns still stand in and around the quayside.

Mattancheri had also been a former capital of the erstwhile rulers of Kochi. When the ‘adventurers from over the seas’ came to Kochi seeking trade, Mattancheri also bustled as a brisk trading port. First the Portuguese and later the Dutch beguiled the rulers with gold and gifts in exchange for spices, especially back pepper.

To please His Highness Veera Kerala Varma Thampuran (1537-61) the Portuguese built a palace, and also gifted him a gold crown. According to Huzur records, the palace was built and presented to the Kochi Raja in 1552 AD. With the coming of the Dutch in 1663 AD, the trade rivalries between them often led to bloody skirmishes. From contemporary literary works such as the poetry of Melpathoor Narayana Bhattathiripad as well as from the accounts of Father Bartolomeo, it is not difficult to get an idea about the Mattancheri court.

The palace originally built by the Portuguese had some extensions done by the Dutch. These were the porticos on the east and the south of the palace, and the decorated ceiling of the Coronation Room. Paradoxically, the name Dutch Palace somehow stuck to it, and still prevails.