Posting this for Miscellaneous for Sunday Scribblings.
In July 2007, I joined a course for Art Appreciation conducted by National Museum in Delhi. There are twenty classes of two hours duration each every Thursday for 6 months, that is, until mid December. One has to attend at least 16 lectures and submit an assignment consisting of answering five questions out of many at the end of the course. After that is evaluated, one gets a certificate through convocation, held by the museum.
The big question is why I joined it and what does it entail?
Since I was in school, I had heard of this course conducted by National Museum. I had wanted to attend it. Something or the other came up and I could never get around it. This course is not really meant for those arty types! It is in fact for the nonprofessional, who has no knowledge of art, to create awareness about what is art, how it developed through the centuries, why we should learn about it. Therefore, people from diverse fields who are interested to know about art, join this course. From journalists to diplomats, to bureaucrats, teachers, students, homemakers and of course, foreigners.
Every Thursday, it felt good to attend the classes from 5:30-7:30 pm. It had been a long time since I took any kind of course. The lectures were good and interactive. Those covered history of art right from Stone Age to present times. It dealt mostly with Indian art although Japanese and Chinese art were taken separately. The influence of religion was taken in a detailed way. The centuries were seen through development of art, i.e., sculptures, terracotta, architecture, collages, various forms, certain nuances pertaining to those prevailing times. Via art, architecture, I learnt about history, those finer points of it, I knew nothing about.
We were shown films, slides and provided with materials for certain lectures. Although, National Museum is a familiar place for me but a guided tour was in the agenda of the course and it was very enlightening to see it through the eyes of the academicians. There was a field trip too for the various monuments in Delhi at the end of the course. One had an enhanced sense of understanding those various art forms on those monuments. There was a difference in our outlook before and after the course. Writing those assignments too taught me a lot. I had to look around from books, internet and photographs. After a long time, I was doing assignments and that too I opted for hand written ones.
What did it teach me? Mainly history and how to look for finer details to know what period it might have been made. It also taught me about mindset of rulers. The subtle shift of religion... when, where, why and how was somewhat understood. It felt good to interact with such a varied group of people. Our discussions were good. In a way, I was richer for the experience. I think more people should opt for it. I am trying everyone I know to get enrolled into it..:D