Museo Del Prado ticketThe brain can only take in so much. After some of the previous summer spent soaking in the Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay in Paris & the Uffizi gallery in Firenze it takes courage to step into a museum again. There is endless beauty; the light, the perspective, details , ideas, symbols and stories all demand intense attention. It’s interesting for me to observe my lack of knowledge about Western art growing up in the Indian art curriculum. We had a little book with about 30 tiny images of art from prominent Indian artists that we had to know about along with the styles and content of Indian miniature schools. But we never went to the museum as part of the course. If we wanted to find out more, we’d have to go on our own accord. Like all things good, information that is important for you will find you at the right time. Chiaroscuro was a word I heard in 11th standard in Kodaikanal from Mr. Adam Kahn our German art teacher at Sholai School who we shared with kids from Kodaikanal International School. I remember him showing us Lust for Life, Vincent Van Gogh’s story. I also remember an elderly Indian couple who visited our school and as a parting gift gave me a beautiful 1940’s booklet in French about exercises to practise light in drawing. I spent days making sketches of trees at night in the moonlight, in the misty mornings and in the sunny/cloudy afternoons. I was lucky to have all that time in a forest at the age of 16/17 because ten years later it’s hard to find time that stretches across the mountains till the horizon. One doesn’t really come across that feeling so often now, that time is as infinite as a single moment and you can stretch it as you wish. That’s the sort of mental state one needs to be in at a museum to truly benefit. Your life can be changed so you must open all the windows and dust that old brain as you doddle into the museum. Hieronymus Bosch was this visit’s discovery and I am pretty sure he’s started to change my brain cells themselves. I think I will write about him and a few more things next time around.

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