Monday, May 21, 2018


' The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq 
and Willem van Ruytenburch '

Visitors' movement in the hall where 'Night Watch' is displayed.

When we planned to visit  families in Helsinki and Houston in 2017, I  selected Amsterdam as the Airport to disembark in Europe not only for its connectivity, but also for a visit to  Rijks and Van Gogh Museums as well as a boat-ride in its canals.

View of a bridge across a canal : 
Photo taken during our boat-ride in Amsterdam.

Rijks Museum allows photography without flash, hence we could bring camera-load of memories . This time, I decided that I shall take snaps of parts the large paintings displayed  so that I can study the details later on a computer screen.  To get an opportunity to click a straight  photo , without watchers' heads obstructing the view, was never easy. Not having enough elbow-room, in some cases, caused framing of  selected portions improper.

 The full picture from as close a position as possible. 
The lighting very aesthetically accentuates the painter's highlighting. 

 'Night Watch' was painted in 1642 AD by Rembrandt . The painting  was commissioned by  the Klovenier company under the command of  Frans Banning Cocq and used to be displayed at Kloveniersdoelen [ ' musketeers' shooting range' ] till 1715 AD. In 1715 AD, it was shifted to the Amsterdam Town Hall when its all four sides were trimmed. Its current size is 11.91 ft X 14.34 ft .

 Captain Frans Banning Cocq , dressed in black, with a red sash, and his lieutenant 
Willem van Ruytenburch, dressed in yellow, with a white sash.

Rembrandt's painting stand out for two reasons : perception of movement of the group and effective use of light & shade. it is stated that   for quite a long time, the painting had a coat of dark varnish, giving a wrong impression  that Rembrandt painted a night scene, hence the name 'The Night Watch'.

 Who is the 'mystery' girl in this painting ?

There are paragraphs written about the mystery girl in this painting, highlighted by sunlight and shade. She holds a dead chicken in her hand, representing a defeated adversary. Does she have any resemblance with Rembrandt's wife whom he lost before he started the painting ?  There are more symbols associated with her depiction. Interested reader may pl refer to :

Friday, February 23, 2018



Making  notes from Travel Brochure of Ljubljana.

Travel literature on Ljubljana  projects its old town, castle and contributions of architect Joze Plecnik as the major points of attraction. There are numerous tours across the Old Town throughout the day, offering several options of interest areas.

When it drizzles,  umbrella are out but 'walk' is on.....:
Ardent Tourists  at Mestni trg - Town Hall and Fountain of ThreeCarniolan Rivers.  

 One option among such  tours - both walking and riding on bicycles -  showcase  'Plecnik's Ljubljana'.The most famous among his contributions is the Tri-Bridge across the rivulet Ljubljanica. There was a wooden bridge here in the 13th century. Later , in 19th century, Ljubljana had a 'stone arch bridge'. Plecnik added two pedestrian bridges here to avoid congestion during 1930s. In 2007, it became a part of the pedestrian zone.

Tri-bridge illuminated. 
Open Market Building - also Plecnik's design - on photo's left.

Another famous design of Plecnik is National & University Library. I, however, did not find it eye-catching. Regret that I  missed out clicking photo/s of this building when I was walking in the pedestrian zone to click whatever attracted my attention . In its neighbourhood, at Kongresni trg square, the two buildings which attracted my notice were  University of Ljubljana and  Ursuline Monastery.

The University of Ljubljana, with 63000 enrolled students, is one largest university of Europe. I found the facade of the University beautiful.Earlier, it was a provincial Mansion. The building  was re-built in 1902 AD after a devastating earthquake in 1895 AD. Since 1919 AD, this building housed the University. The building was  designed by architect Jan Hrasky and later revised by Josef Hudetz.The building has four different facades, two main and two side ones , designed in the style of German Renaissance with neo-Gothic elements.

Front facade of the University building. 
The facades are decorated with 14 medallions 
depicting the coats of arms of Carolinian towns.

Ursuline Monastery and Church of the Holy Trinity, according to the Guide book of Slovenian Tourist Information,can be considered as 'the most beautiful and extra-ordinary example of Baroque architecture in Ljubljana'. The church was built during 1718-26 AD according to design of Carlo Martinuzzi. The  entrance staircase in the front is also designed by Plecnik in 1930.

Holy Trinity Column.
Ursuline Monastery in the background.

In front of the Church, stands the Holy Trinity Column, erected in 1693 AD as gratitude of the city having been spared from an epidemic of plague. What we see in the photo is replica of the original, presumably created by Francesco Robba , while the original is preserved in the City Museum.

Butcher's Bridge,love 'pad-locks' and serpent.

Closer view : 'Love' Locks

The riverside has been looked after very well the Town Admin as well as the citizen.Very admirable is the display of urban aesthetics ! The Open Market , designed by Plecnik, looks wonderful when illuminated. The Butchers' bridge is remarkable too - with its railings fitted with 'love' padlocks and sculptures around and semi-transparent footpath. Adam , Eve and Serpent's photos are here.

Adam and Eve

I end with two photos of interesting objects :
First one of the several bronze sculptures along Petkovoskovo nabrezje. 

Second one is a relief of the face of Julija Primic,the lady love of poet  France Preseren, mounted across Presernov trg square.

Saturday, December 9, 2017



Francisian Church of Annunciation across Tri-bridge.

The most  notable buildings of Ljubljana are either in Presernov trg Square or  clustered in the Old Town which covers Mestni trg, Stari trg, Gorjni trg Square  and Levstikov trg. Tourist Brochure of Ljubljana has given a reasonably detailed guide of what we should  watch in particular. We, however, did not go much by the 'book' within the O/Town. We walked around for several hours in these areas at our convenience -easy we  were conveniently housed in a Homestay in Stari trg.

 City Walk on a Sunday morning : Scene in 'Old Town' .

I found the 'Old Town'  area remarkably and noticeably clean. Hordes of people would walk around, tourists among them often accompanied by local guides, moving in groups. Roadside restaurants bustled with customers in the evenings. Yet,the cobbled roads stayed clean and unlittered  except for a few cigarette buts noticeable towards the end of the evening.

In the 'Old Town' side, we [ Ruby,Surath and I ] have photographed buildings which caught our fancy, not necessarily what are mentioned in the Travel Brochure.  In fact, at least two buildings  recommended  in the brochure in context with the areas we went around caught just our passing attention.More on this later.

I tried to capture photos of domes and steeples on old buildings, building lining along curves of cobbled streets and .... designs of windows/doors. [Through 2018, I intend to pick out at least 25/30 'windows' from the photos I have taken during the two trips in Europe and the USA in 2015 and 2017 . This, however, can happen when I would  be back to my desk in Kolkata  and have cleared a large part of my pending work. ]   Our efforts were somewhat affected by bad weather of 10/09/17 morning and cloudy sky we faced throughout our stay.

Bronze Scale Model of Ljubljana.2.2M X size. Installed in Preseren square.
Gifted by city's Urban Planning Institute in 1991 AD.

Ljubljana's bridges,like other old cities of Europe,offer interesting sights. Tri-Bridge , built in 19th century with extension designed by the revered architect Joze Plecnik in 1930s and Dragon Bridge (1901 AD) , designed by Giorgio Zaninovich of Viennese company Pittel and Brausewetter are two most well-known bridges across the river Ljubljanica in this area of tourist attraction - Preseren trg Square , Tri-bridge and Town Hall being by-and-large in the same line . More on Tri-bridge and Town Hall in a subsequent post.

Dragons adorn both the ends of this iconic bridge of Ljubljana . Built during  Austro-Hungarian rule of Slovenia, 'dragon' reminds people of the legend of Jason and his Argonauts setting their feet here and killing  a dragon when attacked.

Mentionable here is that according to local legends, whenever a virgin crosses Dragon bridge, dragons wag their tails.Thus,this bridge has acquired a nickname : 'the mother-in-law'.

Presernov trg Square is named after France Preseren ( 1800 - 1849 AD). He is a much revered poet of Slovenia. His poem - A Toast ( Zdravijica) - has been adopted as Slovenia's national anthem. His poems has been translated into English, French, German, Spanish,Italian, Hungarian, Russian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Belorussian ,Bengali as well as to all the languages of former Yugoslavia. In 2013 AD, a complete collection of his poems, titled 'Poezije' was translated in French.The city paid its tribute to him through this monument :

Preseren Monument, designed by Ivan Zajek, unveiled in 1905 AD.
Muse hails above the statue of Preseren clutching his Poem's collection. 

Around his statue, stand several iconic buildings of Ljubljana .The most majestic among the same is  Franciscan Church of the Annunciation. Its red colour is symbolic of Franciscan monastic colour. 
Couple of notes in this context : Firstly, in the front facade , we find  a statue of Madonna with Child - ' Our Lady of Loretto'.It has been made of beaten copper by Matej Schreiner. But, the plan was drawn by another artist while the faces and hands were executed by yet another artist ( source - Wikipedia). The statue replaced an older wooden statue of ' Black Madonna'. Secondly, many of the original frescoes inside the Church were ruined during the earth quake of  1895 AD. Fresh frescoes were painted by Slovene impressionist painter Matej Stemen in 1936 AD.   

The Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, viewed from Tri-Bridge. 
Built between 1646 & 1660 AD , replacing an older building. 
Front facade built in Baroque style in 1703 - 1706 AD. Redesigned in 19th century.

As I have mentioned earlier, staying in the 'Old Town' gave us a lot of advantage in terms of sight-seeing. The ambience was  - we enjoyed the it a lot ! Apart cleanliness, a very noticeable feature here was  deployment of electric vehicles in the 'No-Automobile' zone which transport people from one point in this zone to another.We  had a ride in this car for a round in the 'Old Town',starting from from Tri-bridge to Kongresni trg through Hribarjevo nabrezje through footpaths of neighbouring city road to Preseren trg to the station for Funicular ride to Castle.
 Our Homestay @ 15 Stari trg.

Our Homestay was at 15 Stari trg , close to the Schweiger House @ no 11a , which is adorned with buildings which date back from Baroque period. Located between 11 and 15, its number should have been 13, but, '11a' was, very understandingly, allotted to  it. The  balustrade is supported on the shoulder of a man who puts his finger on his lips, requesting the passers-by to be silent . [Schweiger is a German word which means a silent man.]

  Schweiger House.
 A closer view of the man with his finger on his lips and a bust of Lily Novy.

 On commission from Franz Karl Schweiger von Lerchenfeld, it was rebuilt from an older house to a design by the architect Candido Zulliani between 1748 and 1749.  Schweiger House is considered to be his most important surviving work.The silent man motif also appears on the Schweiger family's coat of arms attached to the facade just below the roofing. Next to the entrance, there is a portrait statue of one of the building's later owners, the poetess Lily Novy, sculpted by Lujo Vodopivec in 1985.

  Cathedral's Dome and Bell Towers in view. 
Robba's Fountain's replica in foreground.

Most attractive sights in this side of the river Ljublajanica, in my opinion, are Francesco Robba's Fountain of  Carniolan Rivers' replica  and Town Hall in Mestni trg and Saint Nicholas Cathedral, a little ahead,on Dolnicarjeva ulica.Photography is a delight in this area both during daytime and evening.

 Cathedral's side door - 
with 20th Century Bishops depicted on it. 

Seminary Palace & Library - a building next to the Cathedral.

The Cathedral, as we find it today,  has replaced a three-nave Romanesque church dating back to 1262 AD. In 1700 AD, a Baroque hall Church was designed.Following year, a Jesuit architect Andrea Pozzo designed it as a Basilica  and complemented it with a Dome .He did not supervise the construction. Builders added to the design two belfries, resembling Salzburg cathedral. The construction was completed by 1706 AD.The exterior and interior have long history , depicted in detail in Wikipedia. We, however, viewed this Cathedral from outside only. I did not find The Pieta on the facade very impressive, but,liked  the side door with 20th Century Bishops depicted on it .

I initially  thought that all three of us have missed out two prominent buildings , namely , Souvan House , located at 24 Mestni trg, opposite to Town hall and Drofenig House , an Art Nouvaeu building, with prefabricated black marble facade. Fortunately, we have two photos, one taken in the morning and the other in the night, though not very good front views.

Drofenig House' black facade is very prominent in both the photos.
Souvan house on its left.
[ Photo on RH by RC]
 The Souvan House or the Hohn House is the tallest building in Town Square.Originally built in the late 17th Century, it was renovated in the early 19th Century.The plan was by Francesco Coconi.Its facade is decorated with motifs from trade,art and agriculture - one of the highest quality example of Bidermeir period architecture in Ljubljana - work by traveling sculptor Martin Kirshner. The present day Drofenig House replaced a medieval 'tri-axial building'. Reconstructed in early 20th Century, it was designed to be a building for commercial use . It still continues to be the same.
Rain-soaked Sunday morning @ Mestni/Stari trg - 
tourists'  colourfull umbrellas add colour to the dull weather.

Sunday, March 5, 2017



When I re-visited my Blog written after a trip to the above places in 2012, I noticed several photos are just not opening.I worked for an hour trying to  re-insert the photos which were part of the blog. Yet , it was found corrupted. Hence, I have re-produced that blog under a fresh title.

A friend of mine  requested me to post 15 best photographs from the ones we have taken during our trip to 'Rarh' Bengal in flickr/kodak/picassa. It is a difficult choice to make.Besides, I am slow about editing and often I work with writing blogs as a target.

Anyway, as I was progressing with listing and PSing the photos, I  picked up a few from our albums for sharing the same with my friends and relatives.I started with  a mosque , which I thought is the best among the Muslim terra cotta architecture we saw.

Among the  work in  Muslim terra cotta architecture of medieval Bengal at Gaur , I have selected two as the most representative ones :

Lottan Masjid. 1475 AD ( 500+ years old !) 
Built @ the behest of a courtesan.
Attributed to Sultan Yusuf Shah.
Slope of the roof domes,extension on the far end and terra cotta motifs very impressive.
( Photo by RC )

Pillars & Arch in a monument under restoration @ Gaur.
( In absence of notice from ASI , no details were available.)
Grand view of such displays, when all the coloured tiles were intact 
can be imagined by the viewers.

Terra cotta decoration on Western wall @ Adina Masjid built by 
Sultan Sikandar Shah between 1364-74 AD,
supposedly the largest in Asia.
Simply majestic !

The history of construction of this huge Masjid stares at your eyes as you come across scores of Hindu deities abounding the structure ! But, this subject can be basis of another blog. Here we  celebrate the great work of the artisans of the medieval Bengal who contributed to aesthetics of our architecture.

No caption needed . 
From one of the pillars of the gate to the Nave.

Terra cotta and other temples of Baronagar were overwhelming .'Char Bangla' - the complex with four temples - demonstrate the height of aesthetics this region reached during tenure of Rani Bhavani.These temples are maintained by ASI. Gangeswar temple, a little away from the Ganges is a small 'JorBangla' temple with intricate details. This one is maintained by CAST. Besides these five, which are well-known , there are a few dilapidated temples which have  remarkable stucco work.

LH - Krsna kills Kansaraj as Balaram looks on & cheers. RH - Krsna kills the 'mahut' of Kubalayapeerh while Balaram tackes the elephant. Later, Krsna would kill the elephant.
Baronagar. 1755 AD . ( Photo by RC)

Ravan had a special place in the heart of the person/s who decided on depiction of Ramayana scenes in Charbangla and Gangeswar temples. Those who are interested in more on this aspect may pl open : View this Ravan, placed separately, armed and dressed regally.

Those at Sribati can be called cute. I must add that villagers of Sribati were very bitter about indifference of Govt regd. support to the maintenance efforts . They do not get even 1 rupee for removal of growth after every monsoon. These temples have panels with lots of stories to tell . Let us try to contribute to the preservation of these temples .

This panel, placed centrally above one of the arches of octagonal panel, has no figure of mythology !

The eternal battle between Shakti & Asura.

Saturday, March 4, 2017



 The ' Three Temples' - Trimandir - of Shiva.

 Among all the terra cotta temples we have visited , the three Shiva temples  of Sribati hold a special place in my heart. When we visited  Sribati in February of 2010, these three temples were managed without Government aid. The villagers  we talked to did regret this indifference , yet were proud that they kept the site clean, arranged for a floodlight - view it atop the Panchratna temple @ the centre - to protect the cluster against vandalism. 

The Octagonal Temple  on our right.
Inset - Insignia of Lion ( ?) - reminded me of Yali of South India !

'MrityuLata', 'Triumvirate' and other gods , KrsnaLeela, a study of  head-gears and dresses. Wonderful vegetal art too.

The site has been maintained carefully for years. I have seen in a photograph taken by Amitabha Gupta during his September,2014 visit , the site was clean as ever. The stack of hay on the left side of the photo taken by me was no longer there.

মানভঞ্জন -  Husband coaxing wife . A bedroom scene.
                        ( Drama -1)

    Drama between an European woman and 
a reluctant Indian male while his wife dozes off.
                                (Drama -2)

                                                   Beauties and the Saint
                                  (Drama -3)

These temples were built by Chandras , a family of traders, during  nineteenth century. Tucked away from  a main road by at least 15/20 minutes drive , a slightly arduous journey to Sribati - these temples would reward travelers handsomely who visit temples for aesthetics and photography.

Kartikeya in battlefield with Asura-s.

The artists and artisans who worked over here have packed the walls with scenes from Epic and Purana, social scenes full of drama , 'MrityuLata', art of grotesque, armed men, figures with different types of head gears and superior vegetal and ornamental  motifs . A visit here is a photographer's delight . Unfortunately, we had less than two hours of afternoon sun. Several portions of the octagonal 'Deul' on our right-hand was somewhat dark . During 2010, we did not possess a DSLR either. Serious photographers should have at least three hours  for photography & noting.

           'Mrityulata' and vegetal/ornamental art.

Chains of human faces, figures and art of Grotesque.

Special mention need be mentioned of social scenes and art of grotesque. These are what elevate this cluster from many 'Me-Too' wall-reliefs of terra cotta temples.

I share here a few samples of the wide variety of  art displayed on the wall-reliefs.  Surely, visitors to my page will enjoy the same. For those who want to visit Sribati, a few note on logistics :
  • By train, reach Katwa. Stay in a hotel, if traveling in the evening. Next morning,  travel to Kurchi More by bus & change to reach Sribati Singhi More.
  • By car from Kolkata,  follow the route to Katwa till Kurchi More. Take a turn towards Sribati. Stay watchful about bumps.


As she peeps out of the window !

Thursday, November 3, 2016


33 Pally Sarbajanin - 
Inverted umbrella made out of rear-view mirrors.

This year ( 2016 ) , I have come across two Puja pandals with remarkable and very aesthetic  use of mirrors to decorate the interior of the pandals.

The first one I would mention is a very well-known Durga Puja of this year - ' 33 Pally Sarbajanin '. Over-all planning here is by Shibshankar Das . He has used Ambassador cars and its parts to decorate the pandal - demonstrating  the height Kolkata's installation art reaches during Durga Puja.At the entrance , he has installed an 'inverted umbrella'-shaped  canopy decorated with 500+  rear view mirrors  on the pathway that leads to the pandal.

33 Pally Sarbajanin - 
A closer view of the above.

Inside the pandal, he created two  giant  'haat-paakhaa' ( hand held fan)  on each side of the podium the idols are placed. The surfaces of the 'fans' have quadrants of .mirror, reflecting the idols . Here is one comment  - I could not  find out the position from where I could see reflection of  Devi's face .

33 Pally Sarbajanin - 
Reflection of the idols on quadrants of mirrors.

Kali Puja at Parnasree is a big event. Surya Sangha started very early with their pandal construction and decoration. Huge chandelier was installed inside with  lots and lots of mirrors on the inside walls. Very impressive decoration as the mirrors framing added to the  effect created.

'Surya Sangha , Parnasree  -
The Dark Goddess and Illumination around Her .