Marie Alles Fernando
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The great works of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were funded by a) the State b) the Roman Catholic Church c) Orthodox churches d) Wealthy, secular Patrons and e) Aristocrats. The Medici family of Italy and the Borgias of Rome (which included several Popes), Kings and Emperors of Rome, India. China, maintained studios and artistic workshops (or ateliers) where many artists were employed on church decoration and urban embellishment.

Akbar the Great (c. 1598) was a great patron of the arts in India. A broadminded person, with the necessary sophistication to understand the meaning of real creativity and refinement, his reign saw a cultural and religious synthesis in India. His favourite grandson Shahjehan commissioned the world’s most beautiful and romantic building, the Taj Mahal at Agra, on the banks of the river Yamuna. Shahjehan inherited a flourishing atelier, consisting of a band of skilled painters and craftsmen, some of whom had begun their careers in Akbar’s royal workshop. Their importance to society may be seen from the fact that they formed part of the imperial entourage, and travelled wherever and whenever the royals went.

Between the 17th and 20th centuries Western aesthetics underwent a slow revolution, emerging eventually as what is today called MODERNISM, though I prefer to use the term CONTEMPORARY in describing it.

There is so much to say, but time is limited. This brief discussion has merely scratched the surface of a fascinating and complex subject, but I hope I have managed to give you plenty of food for thought and reflection.

Thank you, my dear friend Priyani, for inviting me today, and making me feel so special. My grateful thanks are due to all the friends who have helped me thus far in my artistic career. That includes, of course, my husband Cyril, a never-failing source of support and encouragement. I would like to say, finally, that it’s time in my life to reflect on the thought that my inner and outer life are based on the labours of other men and women living and dead, too numerous to mention, and that I must give back in the same measure that I have received, and am still receiving. I feel so blessed.

Thank You.
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