Indepth Arts News: |
"Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Tibet, and Nepal"
2002-03-02 until 2002-06-02
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Santa Barbara, CA,
The collection of John and Berthe Ford is one of the most important
private holdings of Indian and Himalayan art in the world. Certain objects
have been widely exhibited, such as the Green Tara, a painting
executed in India around 1100 for a Tibetan patron and recognized as
both a masterpiece and a cornerstone for the study of Tibetan painting.
Other works have never been publicly shown. This exhibition brings
together works from both India and the Himalayas, demonstrating the
range and depth of the Ford collection; it provides an extraordinary
overview of 2,000 years of history and illustrates the enduring themes in
the art of southern Asia.
Chronologically and geographically, the
exhibition of 150 objects falls into three
chief divisions. First, Indian sculpture in
clay, stone, metal, and wood, dating from
the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD
(33 works). Secondly, 10th- to 19th-century
Himalayan metal sculpture and paintings
(51 works from Tibet and 26 from Nepal).
The final section consists of Indian
miniature painting from the 17th to 19th centuries (40 works). With few
exceptions, the objects are
either Hindu or Buddhist.
The exhibition is held
together by certain recurring
topics or themes, chiefly
having to do with the human
body. Systems of ideal
beauty, based on fixed
were established early and have remained
constant for centuries. The gods are depicted
with perfected bodies. Sculptures and pictures
of both humans and deities also express
sentiments such as serenity, anger and desire.
These sentiments are the outward
manifestations of internal mental processes
that are directed toward a supreme end:
Serenity represents an enlightened mind;
anger represents the mind's battle with evil;
and desire represents the mind's engagement
with philosophical perfection. These themes
will be discussed in the catalogue, wall texts,
Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, former curator of Indian
and Southeast Asian art at LACMA and now consulting curator for Chicago Art Institute and the Norton
Simon Museum, will be the principal author of the catalogue.