Art and Culture

The human race has been exposed to the ravages of time since time immemorial. In all their forms of evolution, the intellectual parameters of human civilizations have been constantly nourished by the eternal quest for aesthetic beauty and grace. Cultural exchanges have happened throughout the timeline of the human evolution as men stepped beyond their private frontiers to seek, explore and conquer the world that allured them. Right from the shores of the Nordic highlands, the erstwhile Viking stronghold to the distant seas bearing the Oriental influence, the unique identity of art and culture have been many a times, marauded upon, remixed and thus, preserved for posterity, as we see it today.

The Aryans while spreading from the cradle of their inception in central Europe, have traversed through terrains, proportionately friendly and inimical in nature have sown the seeds of various forms of arts in all these territories. While the early forms of art were primarily based on the motifs of nature, wildlife, religious beliefs and wars among others, with the passage of time, the focus shifted to entities centering on spirituality, beauty and materiality.

The Greek and Roman civilizations were at the helm of propagating the essential elements of ethereal art enriched by the contribution of stalwarts in the field of painting, sculpture, music, dramatics and architecture. Paintings in these regions have evolved through several periods, having graduated from the simple depiction of still life, landscapes, and portraits to complex imagery comprising frescos, murals bound by the rules experimented upon during the phases stretching from the early Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque to the modern days of Impressionism, Cubism and Abstract Art.

The early ages have seen seminal contribution by artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Goya, Monet, and Rembrandt among others. Other forms of art, for that matter had experienced the same vibrations during this period, having seen encouraging participation of the intellectual mass. While literature was shaped up through the inks of Homer, Goethe etc in the form of ballads, epics and odes, the rich heritage of the Greco-Roman civilization had thrown open musical incarnations of real-life events, dramas and a series of experimentations. Architecture was one of the important pillars of transformation, with the concept of vaults, spires, domes getting predominantly infused into cathedrals, basilicas, lighthouses.

The great Indus valley civilization opened the gates to the mesmerizing world of Indian identity which was going to establish a profound impact in the times to come. The generational invasion of the Aryans, Persians, Moghuls and the British in the later days, metamorphosed the prevailing cultural attributes of the country into a medley of rich hues and sentiments.

While the Persians had brought along the spiritual strands of musical and architectural elements, which left an indelible impression on the cultural fabric of this country, the Moghuls supplemented it with deft innovations through their styles. While the sounds of Sitar, Sarod, Tanpura, Tabla continue to reverberate as the feet swaying to Bharat Natyam, Odissi, Kathak etc convey the idyllic grandeur of our country, architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal, Jagannath Temple, Konark, Meenaxi have imparted the rich heritage of our country to the west since long. Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma still inspire the awed spectators, as the folk culture permeates an aura of nostalgia through the length and breadth of the country.