Sunday, January 07, 2007

Buddhism and Art

I have been lucky enough to have been bought a copy of Smile of the Buddha. Eastern philosophy and Western Art From Monet To Today by Jacquelynn Baas. I’ve only just started reading it, but am very excited about what is being said.

I have always wondered about the possible spiritual dimensions in Monet’s Water lilies, and so it is great to find from Jacquelynn’s research that Monet was indeed interested in Buddhism. His friend and collector, Tadamasa Hayashi was knowledgeable about Japanese art and the Buddhist philosophy behind it. Monets friend and biographer Georges Clemenceau was also apparently attracted to Buddhism. And The Art historian Louis Gillet wrote that Monet’s art was truly related to Chinese thought, on detachment, on nirvana, on the religion of the Lotus. Jaquelynne talks about Monet’s work and life, giving more examples on where information about Buddhism came from at the time.

There are chapters on Van Gogh, Gauguin, Redon, Kandinsky, Brancusi and a host of other artists. I shall enjoy reading the book.

I have been painting a few watercolours over the Christmas period, One arrived as the Angel of the wheels of time, on New years Eve, which I’ve only just realised was probably very appropriate.

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