I have studied, researched and appreciated Art in cities around the world, including Tokyo, Florence, Prague, Athens, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Milan, Paris, Nairobi, Lamu and London.
Here is a photo collection of my recent visits to galleries in London and in Oxford:
The Tate Gallery, London
The above painting by Johan Zoffany (1733-1810) depicts interactions between the British and the Indians at the height of the Raj (reign) in British India and is a clever and playful character study.
This magnificent portrait of Elizabeth the First (above), applies real gold in powdered form, inside the paint varnish, which elucidates the illumination of the entire painting, but especially the lower part of her regal formal wear for this portrait. Both Queens and Pashas worked together, such as Elizabeth and Victoria, with potentiates such as this Egyptian Pasha below, to propel, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer and for exploration and for exploitation, the ‘marriage’ between the old world and the new, the East and the West, the European and the African.
This above painting entitled ‘Pasha of Egypt’ is by the British painter David Wilkie (1785-1841).
This painting of mosque and prayer time (in which I can still hear the resonant mosque prayers from Lamu) is entitled ‘Idgah at Amroha’ by the British painter Thomas Daniel (1749-1840).
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
The manner in which the Ashmolean Museum is curated, really elucidates this contrast and comparison between East and West cultural history.
One of the most beautiful examples of this which we saw in the permanent exhibit was the overlap between the Italian (Florentine) Renaissance and the Indian (Mughal) Renaissance. Both periods of history occurred around the same time and both were enriched by the trading and exploration that occurred from the early part of the 15th century.
It was said that Italian marble masons came down to India to consult to the Mughal court with regard to the building of monuments such as the Taj Mahal. Advances in architecture design and horticultural methods were shared cross-culturally across oceans and lands. Italian painters sourced pigments for their masterpieces from remote parts of India. The synergy from all the cultural interactions and sharing of skills and knowledge resulted in a synthesis of new ideas and a rejuvenating energy, a rebirth, which blossomed in to the Renaissance.
We saw this Indian miniature painting of Lord Ganesh, the Elephant God (above), and we hoped that Ganesh was looking over the beautiful African Elephant and ensuring this precious species is protected from endangerment. We love all the Indian paintings that honor the elephant as a noble animal who has played a vital part in the history of India from a beast of burden, to a form of transportation for travelers and explorers through treacherous jungle terrain, to a soldier of war.