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ashokbhatia

A friend suggested visiting the National Gallery in Oslo. Having had the opportunity of admiring the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso and others in the last few years, I was naturally curious as to what Norwegian artists had come up with in the past. The visit turned out to be a truly instructive one. I realized the depth and range of work done by painters as well as sculptors and marvelled at the passion and artistic fervour of the artists concerned.IMG_1716

Founded in 1837, the National Gallery houses Norway’s largest public collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures. In its permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum presents older art, with principal emphasis on art from Norway.IMG_1652

Highlights from the collection are shown in the permanent exhibition “The Dance of Life – The Collection from Antiquity to 1945”.IMG_1664

The exhibition presents a chronological overview of more than 300 Norwegian…

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Artists appear to love depicting human beings in all conditions, including in the buff. Perhaps they are in awe of the wonderful creation known as the human body. Understandably so.

Somehow, members of the tribe of the delicately nurtured attract much more of their attention than those who happen to be members of the so-called sterner sex. One wonders as to why the latter have so far not formed a union of some kind and registered a protest at this kind of discrimination!

Madonna (Edvard Munch)

 

 

The Sleepwalker (Gustav Vigeland)

 

At the entrance

 

Dance of Life (Edvard Munch)

 

Female Nude (Per Deberitz)

 

Female Nude (Jean Heiberg)

 

Bathers at a Forest Pond (Eric Heckel)

 

Women on the Beach (Bjarne Engebret)

 

Fishing Boats (Max Pechstein)

 

Another one at the entrance

 

One more at the entrance

 

It is praiseworthy that Norway’s rich artistic heritage is being preserved and presented so well at the National Gallery in Oslo. To soak it in, all one needs to have is some time and interest.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/the-dance-of-life-at-the-national-gallery-of-norway

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/revisiting-the-national-gallery-of-norway-nature

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/revisiting-the-national-gallery-of-norway-humans-part-1)

 

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We continue our exploration of the National Gallery of Norway in Oslo.

In the previous post, we looked at the manner in which different elements of Nature have got captured in some of the paintings on display.

In this post, and in the next one, we admire the life-like depiction of human beings and their interactions with each other. Some are mythical, some are real and some are a product of the artist’s creative genius.

Woman Suckling an Infant (Ferdinand Bol)

 

Mary Magdalene penitent (Artisia Gentileschi)

 

A rustic party (David Teniers)

 

The Three Graces listening to Cupid’s song (Bertel Thorvaldsen)

 

The Farewell (Harriet Backer)

 

The Return of the Bear Hunter (Adolph Tidemand)

 

The Thinker (Auguste Rodin)

 

La Coiffure (Edgar Degas)

 

The Dreamer (Halfdan Egedius)

 

Portrait of Gerda (Richard Bergh)

 

Albertine to See the Police Surgeon (Christian Krohg)

 

Mother and Daughter (Edvard Munch)

 

The Girls on the Bridge (Edvard Munch)

‘Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.’

This is what Munch had to say. How very insightful!

(Continued…..)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/revisiting-the-national-gallery-of-norway-nature)

 

 

 

 

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An opportunity arose recently for yours truly to be able to revisit the National Gallery of Norway in Oslo. Time spent in its serene ambience, soaking in the artistic brilliance in each of its works on display, was time well spent, indeed.

This post captures some of the paintings which depict the beauty of nature in all its glory.

Oak Tree by the Elbe in Winter (Johan Christian Dahl)

 

The Labro Falls at Kongsberg (Thomas Fearnley)

 

The Grindelwaldgletscher (Thomas Fearnley)

 

Winter at the River Simoa (Frits Thaulow)

 

Storm, Evening (Eugene Jansson)

 

Street in Roros in Winter (Harald Sohlberg)

 

Flower Meadow in the North of Norway (Harald Sohlberg)

 

Summer Night (Kitty Kielland)

 

Moonlight (Edvard Munch)

 

Landscape from Holmsbu (Oluf Wold-Torne)

 

The White Horse in Spring (Nikolai Astrup)

 

In the Garden (Astri Welhaven Heiberg)

 

Each painting is unique, and captures a different mood of Mother Nature in a very effective manner.

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/the-dance-of-life-at-the-national-gallery-of-norway)

 

 

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Portrait Torvald Stang

 

Seated Model on the Couch

 

Summer in the Garden

 

Sunrays

 

The Pathfinder

 

The Sun

 

Tree

 

Two Backfisches

 

Two Maids

 

Two Women

 

Waves Against the Shore

 

Winter Landscape

 

Winter Night

 

Woman with Poppies

 

Edvard Munch

 

The creative outpourings of artists depend on several factors. One such factor is their upbringing, which shapes their value systems and their outlook towards life in general. Yet another is the kind of challenges life throws at them. The opportunities they get matter. The people who surround and support them in their work also matter.

Above all, the fact that their ideas find a resonance amongst those who have an eye for the kind of creative output they are capable of churning out.

 

(Note: The poor quality of reproduction of these paintings is surely not a reflection on the original work of the artist. These merely expose the limited photography and photo-editing skills of yours truly.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/a-saunter-down-the-munch-museum-in-oslo-norway-part-1-of-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/a-saunter-down-the-munch-museum-in-oslo-norway-part-2-of-3)

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Human Mountain in plaster

 

Kneeling Nude

 

Melancholy

 

Midsummer Night’s Eve

 

Model by the Wicker Chair

 

Mother and Daughter in Garden

 

Nude Female Back

 

Oslo Bohemians

 

Portrait Ingeborg Kaurin

 

Portrait Ingse Vibe

 

Portrait Self

 

(Note: The poor quality of reproduction of these paintings is surely not a reflection on the original work of the artist. These merely expose the limited photography and photo-editing skills of yours truly.)

Continued……

(Related Post:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/a-saunter-down-the-munch-museum-in-oslo-norway-part-1-of

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/a-saunter-down-the-munch-museum-in-oslo-norway-part-3-of-3)

 

 

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Edvard Munch (1863-1944) is well known for many of his paintings, like The Scream, Madonna and The Sick Child.

A possibility to visit the Munch Museum in Oslo some time back gave yours truly an opportunity to look up several of his other works.

 

 

Adam and Eve

 

Apple Tree in Garden

 

Beneath the Red Apples

 

Cabbage Field

 

Elm Forest Autumn

 

Elm Forest Autumn

 

Elm Forest Spring

 

Forest in Snow

 

Four Women in the Garden

 

Girls Watering Flowers

 

Continued……

(Note: The poor quality of reproduction of these paintings is surely not a reflection on the original work of the artist. These merely expose the limited photography and photo-editing skills of yours truly.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/a-saunter-down-the-munch-museum-in-oslo-norway-part-2-of-3

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/a-saunter-down-the-munch-museum-in-oslo-norway-part-3-of-3)

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A friend suggested visiting the National Gallery in Oslo. Having had the opportunity of admiring the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso and others in the last few years, I was naturally curious as to what Norwegian artists had come up with in the past. The visit turned out to be a truly instructive one. I realized the depth and range of work done by painters as well as sculptors and marvelled at the passion and artistic fervour of the artists concerned.IMG_1716

Founded in 1837, the National Gallery houses Norway’s largest public collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures. In its permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum presents older art, with principal emphasis on art from Norway.IMG_1652

Highlights from the collection are shown in the permanent exhibition “The Dance of Life – The Collection from Antiquity to 1945”.IMG_1664

The exhibition presents a chronological overview of more than 300 Norwegian and international masterpieces from the Renaissance, the Baroque period, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism, Cubism and modern abstract art. IMG_1658

Special attention is devoted to paintings by J.C. Dahl and Romanticism, Christian Krohg and Realism, Edvard Munch’s renowned works, as well as Norwegian evocative painting from the turn of the last century.The_Scream

Central attractions include Edvard Munch’s The Scream and Madonna and paintings by Cézanne and Monet.IMG_1672

Paintings by Picasso and several other artists are also on display.IMG_1683

In the exhibition on abstract art, one could see some striking works. A particular one I found of great interest was entitled ‘The Universal Flag.’IMG_1638

With more than 4,000 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and nearly 50,000 works on paper, the National Gallery’s art collection is the most comprehensive and wide ranging in Norway, and one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.IMG_1692

Michelangelo is said to have taken four years to adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have taken three years to finish ‘The Last Supper.’ Dahl is said to have taken six years to paint ‘Stalheim’; remarkably, he did it while he was nowhere near a fjord in Norway!Dahl-Stalheim

All these eminent artists worked in an age devoid of photography, computers, internet, trains, aeroplanes and mobile phones. They suffered innumerable hardships while creating their works. Since they simply loved what they were doing at the time, they would have surely derived immense joy and satisfaction while pursuing their creative goals.IMG_1678

Leads one to wonder how creativity originates. We may know the external circumstances and the trials and tribulations they faced. We may marvel at the outstanding works of art they have produced. We may surmise as to the motivation and the feeling behind each work. But would we ever know the precise moment when the germ of an idea really hit them? How long did it simmer within them before taking a tangible shape? Unless they have left behind an autobiographical account, or someone else has covered their life and times in some detail, we might never be able to identify the real point of origin of their creative outburst.IMG_1689

Surely, all great artists have a streak of divinity in them. Besides, they have passion for their form of art. Patience and perseverance would be only two of their several sterling qualities. They would also have been lucky to get mentors who spotted and nurtured their talents. Some blossomed in adversity, enabled perhaps only by their innermost conviction.IMG_1702

We may not know the exact point of conception. We may be unaware of the technical details or the process of eventual delivery. But we shall be forever grateful that they have left behind a rich tapestry of the dance of life, capturing its precious moments for posterity. It is a legacy which continues to attract, entice and inspire artists and laymen alike all over the world.

Note: ‘Scream’ and ‘Stalheim’ reproductions are courtesy Wikipedia. Others are a result of my photographic skills, which are severely limited. Please bear with me for deficiencies – if you notice any – in these.  

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Quite a few amongst us are fed up with our daily dose of bad news. Wars – covert or overt. Disasters – natural or otherwise. Genocides. Murders. Rapes. Income inequalities. Social prejudices. Accidents. Every single day, the media keeps reminding us of what is wrong with our world.

During the last three weeks, we were fortunate to have come face to face with institutions and bodies which try to do something good for the world.

Here is a quick recap of such encounters of the pleasant kind.

THE UN OFFICE at Geneva

A guided tour of the Palais de Nations in Geneva makes us realize the way the UN functions and the organs through which it operates in fields as diverse as health, education and sustainable development, besides matters of political import.

Palais de Nations

Palais de Nations

Other than United Nations administration, the UN Office at Geneva also hosts the offices for a number of programmes and funds. As many as 23 organs of the UN are located at Geneva – such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the International Labour Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Health Organization.

The General Assembly hall at Geneva

The General Assembly hall at Geneva

We get to witness a Human Rights Council meeting where records of countries are getting reviewed and commented upon.

The compound has impressive artefacts, including a statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi in the UN compound at Geneva

Mahatma Gandhi in the UN compound at Geneva

Where the League of Nations failed in 1939, the UN appears to have succeeded so far – keeping a global war at bay by a relentless effort to defuse tensions. However, several conflict zones remain active in various parts of the world, needing intervention.

The ICRC at Geneva

A visit to the global headquarters of the Red Cross brings us face to face with the kind of trauma, pain and suffering the denizens of our planet have undergone over the last 100 years.

The ICRC Headquarters at Geneva

The ICRC Headquarters at Geneva

The ICRC, established in 1863, works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence and to promote the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organization, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

At the permanent exhibition, testimonies of witnesses and survivors can be heard. A section on children missing from strife-torn areas moves us deeply. Records of persons missing during both the World Wars and the attempts made to reunite families leave us wondering as to why wars are waged at all.

An exhibit at the permanent exhibition at ICRC

An exhibit at the permanent exhibition at ICRC

Havoc caused by natural disasters like earth quakes, tsunamis and global warming can be experienced by means of movies, working models and testimonies of witnesses.

A painting lauding the efforts of Nelson Mandela

A painting lauding the efforts of Nelson Mandela

For those made of sterner stuff, some details of the treatment meted out to prisoners of war can be realized through a temporary exhibition of paintings, sculptures and short movie clips.

The NOBEL PEACE CENTER at Oslo

In an ironical twist of faith, Alfred Nobel, in his sunset years, decided to do something to help society overcome the damage some of his inventions had done. Of the five prizes conceived by him, he decided to allot the Peace Prize to Norway in 1905.

The Nobel Peace Center at Oslo

The Nobel Peace Center at Oslo

The Centre at Oslo captures the spirit behind the prize, the process of its finalization and details of all its 123 recipients till now. An electronic book about Alfred Nobel provides interesting insights into his life.

Use of technology to display the details of all the Prize recipients

Use of technology to display the details of all the Prize recipients

Activities of the 2013 winner – Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – are on display. We get to understand how the OPCW inspectors monitor, locate and destroy chemical weapons. It is interesting for us to know that it was only in 1997 that the protocol for control of chemical weapons came into force.

In a temporary exhibition entitled ‘Be Democracy’, we learn the extent to which the democratic form of governance has become popular all across the world. In an interactive section, one can form a message supporting global peace and leave it behind.

An interactive exhibition

An interactive exhibition

Mahatma Gandhi appears at different places in the exhibition. It is a matter of deep regret that a person of his stature could never get a Nobel Peace Prize.

A quote from Mahatma Gandhi

A quote from Mahatma Gandhi

In a small room, we come across some paintings done by children of different countries. We are delighted to see three by Indian children.

A Churning and Cleansing

Global bodies which try to do something good face tremendous challenges. Better access to health and education continues to cause concern; so does the rise of terrorism, the sophistication in weaponry, the change of a bipolar world into a multi-polar one, economic predation, sustainable development and non-compliance with humanitarian laws, just to cite a few.

Stop Terrorism, Spread Peace - a painting by Sudarshan V, 12 years, India

Stop Terrorism, Spread Peace – a painting by Sudarshan V, 12 years, India

We live in times when the spread of internet has changed the way we experience and interact with the world. Use of armed drones and robots and cyber-attacks are newer challenges on the horizon.

One may scoff at the idea that peace prevails. There are conflicts all around us. Possibly these are part of a churning which takes place within the collective soul of humanity. Such churning appears to be a cleansing process, designed by nature to rid us of the poisons within our collective conscience.

Beacons of Hope for Mankind

When hatred grows with no end in sight, it generates its own momentum. That is where the role of organizations like the United Nations, the Red Cross and the Nobel Foundation assumes relevance. It is a role which earns more brickbats than bouquets and is never short of generating controversies.

Voodoo dolls depicting the problems affecting humanity (ICRC, Geneva)

Voodoo dolls depicting the problems affecting humanity (ICRC, Geneva)

The good news is that despite political pushes and pulls, they continue to discharge their obligations towards humanity. Going forward, a conscious drive to make them more inclusive – providing better role in decision-making to the emerging economies – would surely help.

The presence of dynamic institutions and bodies which stand up for righteousness and work for the collective good assures us that there is hope for mankind. May be, a day would dawn when ‘Vasudhaiv kutumbukam’ (let the whole earth be one family) would become a reality!

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With temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius, it is summer time in Norway. Flowers of all hues are in full bloom. The birds and the bees are going about their daily chores with gay abandon. Streams are in full flow. Fjords present a majestic tapestry of greenery interspersed with charming backwaters.

Denizens of the Land of the Midnight Sun are out in full force, soaking in the scarce sunlight, enjoying the greenery, swimming and indulging in other outdoor sports. That is, the ones who have not decided to take a vacation to some exotic locale in Italy, France or Switzerland.

Time to venture out and explore Oslo! We decide to start with the Oslo City Hall, which is the seat of the City Council and the City Government.

Outside the City Hall, an Astronomical Clock uses five hands to indicate time, sidereal time, the phases of the sun and moon, and eclipses.IMG_1445

The swan maidens Alrund, Svankit and Alvit are the first ones to greet us in the outside courtyard.IMG_1425

Fables of pre-historic times are beautifully presented in finely chiselled wooden reliefs, all works of Dagfin Werenskiold.IMG_1433

Embla and Ask, the Scandinavian version of Eve and Adam – the first human beings who appear from the mythical power of creation – are also there to receive us.IMG_1435

Inside, we find the main hall where the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony takes place.IMG_1473

All around, the walls are lovingly painted. There is Henrik Sorenson’s oil painting ’Work, Administration, Celebration’ adorning the back wall. Alf Rolfsen’s three ornamental works dominate the rest of the hall.IMG_1486

The fresco at the bottom of the staircase represents Oslo’s patron saint, St. Hallvard, and the woman he tried to rescue.  IMG_1469

Upstairs, we walk through the Hadrade Room, named after the founder of Oslo city, the Munch Room with his painting ‘Life’ adorning the back wall, the Festival Gallery and the Banquet Hall with the portraits of the royal family.IMG_1477

The Krohg Room has fascinating frescoes on changing seasons. The City Council Chamber is an open political arena where the public is allowed to observe the proceedings and the Storstein Room where a mural depicts how human rights and the torch of freedom were carried from the French Revolution in 1789 to the signing of Norway’s Constitution 200 years back, in 1814.IMG_1499

We are delighted to see a replica of the Taj Mahal, a miniature marble piece, gifted by an Indian Ambassador.IMG_1502

At noon time, a twelve gun salute declares the birthday of Queen Sonja who turned 77 on the 4th of July, 2014, the day we happened to be visiting the Oslo City Hall.IMG_1482

Within a space of two hours, thanks to elaborate paintings, frescoes and murals, we get a whiff of the history and culture of Norway. We also get a sneak preview of the artistic, literary and commercial accomplishments of the country.

Each nation has a unique culture of its own. It is justifiably proud of its accomplishments. The fact that a nation chooses to showcase its essential character in a magnificent manner touches a chord within us.IMG_1506

Our thoughts wander to the basic concept of a nation. Given the diversity in cultural values, ethnic origins and aspirations of people across our planet, it makes eminent sense to let a collective identity get perpetuated through the concept of a nationality. This fulfils the basic need of a unique identity being acquired by a group of people. By it’s very nature, the concept of a nation is a truly democratic one.

Unfortunately, boundaries also create problems when greed, avarice and envy rule the roost and replace the credo of freedom, equality and fraternity!

(Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/a-trip-to-norway-the-land-of-the-midnight-sun)

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