Archive for September 2007

Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World

Top Ten Most Expensive Paintings of All Time
Millions and Hundreds of Millions of dollars are spent every year by the wealthy seeking a highly sought after piece of art. Following is a list of the Top Ten Most Expensive Paintings of All Time and an explanation of what makes them so special and worth the exorbitant price.

1. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt ($135,000,000)

This record breaking sale was enabled by a court order by the Austrian government to return the painting to the Artist's rightful heir. The entire dispute lasted over a year and was necessary to return the painting that was looted by the Nazis during World War II. Skillfully painted in 1907 by the art nouveau master Gustav Klimt, the painting was purchased by Ronald S. Lauder, the cosmetics heir, in 2006.

2. Garçon à la Pipe by Pablo Picasso ($104,100,000)

Created during the Rose Period, Garcon a la Pipe showcases Picasso's exceptional use of cheerful orange and pink palatte. The oil on canvas painting, measuring 100 × 81.3 cm (slightly over 39 × 32 inches), displays a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand. The record price auction at the time on May 4, 2004 in Sotheby's was a bit of a surprise to the core art buyers, because it was painted in the style not usually associated with the pioneering Cubist artist.3. Dora Maar with Cat by Pablo Picasso ($95,200,000)
Another enormous surprise followed in 2006, when this painting near doubled its inaccurate presale estimate and brought in new record $95,200,000 at auction at Sotheby's on May 3, 2006. Painted in 1941, Picasso's controversial portrait (one of his last) is sometimes described as an unflattering depiction of his mistress, Dora Maar, who was an artist/photographer and mistress of Picasso whose relationship lasted ten years during the 1930s and 40s.4. Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh ($82,500,000)
This painting by the Dutch Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh suddenly became world-famous when Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito paid $82.5 million for it at auction in Christie's, New York. Saito was so attached to the painting that he wanted it to be cremated with him when he died. Saito died in 1996 ... but the painting was saved. Vincent van Gogh actually painted two versions of Dr Gachet's portrait. You can view the other version, with a slightly different color scheme, at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.5. Bal Au Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir ($78,000,000)
Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre was painted by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1876. On May 17, 1990, it was sold for $ 78,000,000 at Sotheby's in New York City to Ryoei Saito, who bought it together with the Portrait of Dr Gachet (see above).6. Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens ($76,700,000)
This painting by Peter Paul Rubens, painted in 1611, is the only painting in this list which was not painted in the 19th or 20th century. It was sold to Kenneth Thomson, 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet for $ 76,700,000 at a 2002 Sotheby's auction.7. Portrait de l'Artiste sans Barbe by Vincent van Gogh ($71,500,000)
Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe ("Self-portrait without beard") is one of many self-portraits by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. He painted this one in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France in September 1889. The painting is a oil painting on canvas and is 40 cm x 31 cm (16" x 13"). This is an uncommon painting since his other self-portraits show him with a beard. The self-portrait became one of the most expensive paintings of all time when it was sold for $71.5 million in 1998 in New York.8. Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier by Paul Cézanne ($60,500,000)
This painting by Paul Cézanne, painted in ca. 1893-1894, sold for $60,500,000 at Sotheby's New York on May 10, 1999 to "The Whitneys". Whitney, born into one of America's wealthiest families, was a venture capitalist, publisher, Broadway show and Hollywood film producer, and philanthropist.9. Femme aux Bras Croisés by Pablo Picasso ($55,000,000)
This work, painted in 1901, was a part of Picasso's famous Blue Period, a dark, sad time in the artist's life. The beautiful & various tones of blue are typical. The painting depicts a woman with her arms crossed staring at the endless nothing. Femme aux Bras Croisés was sold for $55,000,000 November 8, 2000, at Christie's Rockefeller in New York City.10. Irises by Vincent Van Gogh ($53,900,000)

Vincent van Gogh painted this at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France in 1889, only one year before his death. In 1987, it became the most expensive painting to date. It was sold for $ 54,000,000 to Alan Bond and later resold to the Getty Museum.

Friday, September 28, 2007 by Hari
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The Prince of Ayodhya --- Ashok. K. Banker

The Prince of Ayodhya --- Ashok. K. Banker

This is by far, the best 'version' of Ramayana I've ever read till date.]

So .. Here we go after a long long time .. :)

I read the book over a period of 5 days and let me tell u, that everyday I was waiting for a chance to read this book ! The book starts on a surprisingly startling note that Jatayu was Ravana's spy and that Manthara was already a follower of Ravana ...!!!!

The story starts with Vishwamithra undertaking a journey to Ayodhya to ask Dashratha, his son Rama for the purpose of protection of his yagna. Meanwhile, the uncle of Ravana KalaNemi comes to Ayodhya in the disguise of Vishwamithra,to destroy Ayodhya and Dashratha would be just about to wash his feet, thinking him to be the great mage, when suddenly the original Vishwamithra challenges him .. and the story takes a very interesting turn .

All Battle scenes have been written with a lot of creativeness and sense of perspective. Noteworthy is the scene, when Rama takes on Tataka and her 'creations' in the forest. It showed the skill and prowess of the author in attempting something very different in a tale that has been oft repeated for ages.

The story ends on a very intriguing note with Vishwamithra telling Rama that he (Vishwamithra) was going to Mithila to attend Rama's Marriage ..!!!
Certain facts have been taken for granted in the story. Some examples would be the fact that Dashratha did a putrakameshti yagna for the progeny. Also, it is told that Sita was Rama's many times removed maternal cousin and that Janak was like an uncle to Rama and the fact that Rama already had a soft corner for Sita ..!!! It, though is interesting, gives the story a juvenile touch ... !!! But, it is quite interesting to read .. no doubt ...

Brilliantly explored story line. Well Researched and a very bold and successful attempt on a story that has been retold for generation in India.

My comments ..??? Go Read the Book .. It is definitely not worth missing this wonderful book.

Download the Book Here

( Sorry People, Ashok Banker had personally mailed me and asked me to remove the book from the download section .. so very sorry. Because I respect the author very much and also his sincere desire to prevent anybody from getting into some problem ... HATS OFF TO YOU Mr. Ashok .K. Banker

Saturday, September 8, 2007 by Hari
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A Thousand Splendid Suns --- Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns --- Khaled Hosseini

Yet another 'too good' book from Hosseini. :)

The story starts with a girl called Mariam who is an Illegitimate daughter of man called Jalil Khan, who already has three wives. Jalil however always has a soft corner for the girl and comes every thursday to visit her. Fate plays a different game, when one day the girl desires to go to her father's house in the city and meet his other childred. She goes there inspite of the repeated requests of her mother. She returns disappointed from Jalil's when she sees her mother hanging from the branch of the tree. Things take an ugly turn when she realises that Jalil Khan's family had decided to marry him off to a man called Rasheed, who lives in Kabul.

Rasheed and Mariam begin to live together and that is the beginning of a life of misery for Mariam.Rasheed wants a child and Mariam carries one when all of a sudden the child is aborted. This destroys Mariam at heart level. This continues for a number of pregnancies.

In the meanwhile, a girl called Laila lives in Afghanistan and she loves a one legged man called Tariq. Tariq had lost his one leg in the war. Laila lost both her brothers in the Afghan war. Her mother lost all her health because of these tragedies. The day Laila's family decide to move to Pakistan as Refugees, a bombshell hurled at Laila's house, kills her parents and herself, injured beyond critical.

She ends up at Rasheed's house who not only tells her that Tariq had died due to war injuries but also looks at her with an intent to marry her, which breaks Mariam's heart.Laila agrees to marry Rasheed because of the circumstances. Laila gives Rasheed a girl and a boy, but there is a slight twist in the tale, because after sometime Laila and Mariam become close friends.

What follows is a very moving part of the story when Laila's daughter is forced to stay in the Orphanage due to lack of food. Finally Mariam gets a Death Sentence for a crime that she commits in order to save Laila.

The story is very very moving. It gives a very poignant and serious perspective of Afghanistan and its people while all along interweaving real life characters in the story.

This is perhaps one of the most moving pieces of Literature i've ever read till date.

My comments ??? Too Good to say No ... :)

Download the Book Here

by Hari
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