By P Abigail Sadhana Rao
Winter and art share a strange affinity, it is in fact very peculiar and ever so fascinating. However transfixing wintry scenes may be, their depiction in paintings was scant. Early European paintings did not depict snowy scenes mostly because their subjects revolved around religious themes. Artists avoided painting landscapes for the very same reason.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the earliest representations of snow appeared. Since then, they have inspired countless artists and their renowned works of art, from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s intimate yet grand masterwork Hunters in the Snow to Amrita Sher-Gil’s depiction of Hungarian winter and many more spanning across different art movements, Renaissance, the era of Romanticism and Impressionism. Contemporary artists have explored winter through an abstract lens using a fusion of techniques and styles.
Over time, the portrayal of winters has evolved, the subject is no longer just snow. Wintry Landscapes have witnessed a gradual emergence of many other elements, mountains, incidental human interaction, human emotion, a realistic sense of place, a palpable feeling of cold, and an appreciation of the scene. The foregrounding evolution of the subject of such paintings reflects a change in perspective. Over time, winter as a subject has grown to be appreciated and loved not only by artists but also by collectors worldwide.
The majority of Plein-air paintings of winter landscapes from art history make use of the unique qualities of the gloomy winter light to produce a distinct winter feel. They closely observed the various colours of light that were reflected from objects and captured those colours in their paintings. The same can be found in several Indian landscape paintings exploring the motif of winter. Embrace the beauty of this season with five breathtaking paintings on Mojarto.
Life Of A Sherpa
Mopasang Valath is an Ernakulam-based Indian artist who predominantly works with watercolours. This marvellous view from a valley in Nepal portrays a day in the life of a Sherpa. Sherpas are mountain-dwelling folk who live their life on the edge. This landscape portrays their sheer determination in putting their lives at risk and embracing the cold harsh weather. Valath adroitly uses a stronger mix of blues and purples within the shadowed areas, adding texture to the snow on the mountain.
Snowy Kashmiri Mornings
As snow descends and surrounds, it quietly whispers the season’s bliss. This painting by Masood Hussain, a prolific watercolourist, brings to life a beautiful Winter In Kashmir, it leaves one spellbound, and at peace. He once said, “Kashmir being very close to my heart has always been a part of my work, its beauty, its tragedy, and my feelings for it all come together in my work.” His inquisitive eye and immaculate brush carry us to a world that lies beneath the apparent romance of Kashmir, thus portraying the actual while transcending the real, fathoming the essence of Kashmiri life.
Misty Morning In Kolkata
The city of joy is shrouded in mist and fog, artist Amlan Dutta paints this stunning acrylic depicting a pre-dawn foggy morning in Calcutta highlighting a hand-pulled rickshaw. He believes that beneath the chaos that surrounds the mundane, there is an inherent grace and magnetic life worth exploring and discovering by peeling away the unnecessary layers.
Market On the Banks of Dal Lake
Dal lake is said to be the jewel in the crown of Kashmir, known for its serenity and beauty. Another painting by Masood Hussain takes one into a land that has seen much, terror and bloodshed and yet this painting here leaves the beholder enchanted. It well-justifies Amir Khurso’s infamous quote, “If there is a heaven on earth, it is here…it is here… it is here…”
Life On Water
British poet, Edith Sitwell, was right when she stated, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.” Zargar Zahoor strongly emphasises the effects of light, much like impressionists. He captures the essence of the houses, dimly lit on an icy reflective plane. With thick strokes of paint, using muted neutral tones, he evades the viewer, wherein the houses seem to be floating on water, eliciting a surreal feeling of cold comfort amidst the gloomy days that winter brings with it. Thus, justifying the name given to this artwork.