The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus is a painting by the Italian artist Sandro Botticelli made in the mid 1480s. It depicts the goddess Venus arriving at the shore after her birth, when she had emerged from the sea fully-grown; the painting is in the Uffizi Gallery in Italy. Although the two are not a pair, the painting is discussed with Botticelli's other large mythological painting, the Primavera in the Uffizi, they are among the most famous paintings in the world, icons of the Italian Renaissance. As depictions of subjects from classical mythology on a large scale they were unprecedented in Western art since classical antiquity, as was the size and prominence of a nude female figure in the Birth, it used to be thought that they were both commissioned by the same member of the Medici family, but this is now uncertain. They have been endlessly analysed by art historians, with the main themes being: the emulation of ancient painters and the context of wedding celebrations, the influence of Renaissance Neo-Platonism, the identity of the commissioners.

Most art historians agree, that the Birth does not require complex analysis to decode its meaning, in the way that the Primavera does. While there are subtleties in the painting, its main meaning is a straightforward, if individual, treatment of a traditional scene from Greek mythology, its appeal is sensory and accessible, hence its enormous popularity. In the centre the newly-born goddess Venus stands nude in a giant scallop shell, its size is purely imaginary, is found in classical depictions of the subject. At the left the wind god Zephyr blows with the wind shown by lines radiating from his mouth, he is in the air, carries a young female, blowing, but less forcefully. Both have wings. Vasari was correct in identifying her as "Aura", personification of a lighter breeze, their joint efforts are blowing Venus towards the shore, blowing the hair and clothes of the other figures to the right. At the right a female figure who may be floating above the ground holds out a rich cloak or dress to cover Venus when she reaches the shore, as she is about to do.

She is one of the three Horae or Hours, Greek minor goddesses of the seasons and of other divisions of time, attendants of Venus. The floral decoration of her dress suggests. Alternative identifications for the two secondary female figures involve those found in the Primavera. Flora is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Chloris. However, the roses blown along with the two flying figures would be appropriate for Chloris; the subject is not the "Birth of Venus", a title given to the painting only in the nineteenth century, but the next scene in her story, where she arrives on land, blown by the wind. The land represents either Cythera or Cyprus, both Mediterranean islands regarded by the Greeks as territories of Venus; the painting is large, but smaller than the Primavera, where, a panel painting, this is on the cheaper support of canvas. Canvas was increasing in popularity especially for secular paintings for country villas, which were decorated more cheaply and cheerfully than those for city palazzi, being designed for pleasure more than ostentatious entertainment.

The painting is on two pieces of canvas, sewn together before starting, with a gesso ground tinted blue. There are differences to Botticelli's usual technique, working on panel supports, such as the lack of a green first layer under the flesh areas. There are a number of pentimenti revealed by modern scientific testing; the Hora had "low classical sandals", the collar on the mantle she holds out is an afterthought. The hair of Venus and the flying couple was changed. There is heavy use of gold as a pigment for highlights, on hair, textiles, the shell and the landscape; this was all applied after the painting was framed. It was finished with a "cool gray varnish" using egg yolk; as in the Primavera, the green pigment -- used for the wings of Zephyr, Zephyr's companion, the leaves of the orange trees on the land -- has darkened with exposure to light over time, somewhat distorting the intended balance of colours. Parts of some leaves at the top right corner covered by the frame, have been less affected.

The blues of the sea and sky have lost their brightness. Although the pose of Venus is classical in some respects, borrows the position of the hands from the Venus Pudica type in Greco-Roman sculptures, the overall treatment of the figure, standing off-centre with a curved body of long flowing lines, is in many respects from Gothic art. Kenneth Clark wrote: "Her differences from antique form are not physiological, but rhythmic and structural, her whole body follows the curve of a Gothic ivory. It is without that quality so much prized in classical art, known as aplomb, she is not standing but floating.... Her shoulders, for example, instead of forming a sort of architrave to her torso, as in the antique nude, run down into her ar

Jam River

Jam is a river in central India originating in the Betul District of Madhya Pradesh. It flows through several villages and towns during its short run draining itself off in Kanhan River; this confluence is located at the border with Maharashtra. An ambitious water project in the form of a dam has been proposed by Maharashtra in anticipation of the growing water needs of metro Nagpur; however the project has been shelved for now due to lack of co-operation from the state government in Madhya Pradesh. A gotmar fair is organized every year on its bank; the river originates through a convergence of several rivulets and streams flowing down the hill slopes situated around Chilhati village in the Betul District in Madhya Pradesh at an altitude of 762m. Snaking along south east the river enters the Chhindwara District and hits flatter terrain where it collects two rivers, each of them being spill offs from dams; the first one is the overflow stream from an earthen dam located near Mandvi. The other, longer of the two streams, flows out from the Borgaon Dam, runs parallel to NH69, merges with Jam river at Teegaon.

Here the river widens out and continues its run southeast of the town receiving another tributary on its left bank near the village Chichkheda. It travels through the outskirts of the town Pandhura changing course to run in an eastward fashion. Just before reaching the village Jam, it receives its largest tributary River Sarpini. From here the river again flows southeast-ward passing the town Lodhikhede and ends its course by draining off in Kanhan River at the border of the two states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

Krishna Kant Shukla

Krishna Kant Shukla is a physicist, poet and educator. He lives in Varanasi and travels all over the world, giving music concerts and lectures, he is a disciple of Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan. His concerts and interviews have been aired on National Radio in India several times, his interview on a U. S. radio station has been acclaimed. His interview has appeared on the front page of Times of India, his music concerts consist of singing the poetry of the self realized saints of India, such as Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas, Meera on a base of Indian classical music. He has translated these songs into English and reads out his translation before singing the song in the original vernacular, he has extensively researched and recorded the folk songs of rural India, which are becoming extinct. Some of these songs belong to endangered living oral folk traditions that are over fourteen hundred years old, he sings these songs. His lectures on "Spiritual ecology" have received wide acclaim in India and abroad; this is a newly emerging field in the general area of Religion and the Environment.

He is founding trustee and member of Saha Astitva Foundation, a charitable organization that has built a model eco village and organic farm in a tribal area in Maharashtra. This project is the practical aspect of his work on Spiritual Ecology. Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla is considered by many to be a national treasure, he is an empaneled member of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, an arm of Ministry of External Affairs Government of India. This entitles him to represent India and Indian culture as a Cultural Ambassador in foreign countries. Krishna Kant Shukla was born in Patna, Bihar and raised in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Youngest of four boys, both his parents were professors in Banaras Hindu University, he was musically gifted as a child. Encouraged by his mother, he had taught himself to play several musical instruments by the time he reached his teens; when he was ten years old, he went to U. K. with his mother, who had gone there to pursue her doctorate. There, he studied first in St. Edmunds Primary School and in Dudley Grammar School.

Here, he topped in all subjects, including Physics, Music, Chemistry, Biology and French. He recalls how he heard, for the first time, Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik and, the same evening, he came home and worked out the whole score, by memory, on the recorder. After three years in U. K. at the age of thirteen, Krishna returned to Bharat and joined India's top school, the famous Modern School, founded by Mahatma Gandhi to impart the best of Eastern and Western education to deserving children. After graduating with a distinction in Math, Krishna joined India's top institution, St. Stephen's College, Delhi for his undergraduate degree in Physics Honours, he enrolled in the Doctoral program in Physics at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Here, he was appointed as "visiting lecturer" and taught full courses in undergraduate Physics, he was given an award for "Excellence in Teaching" by his University. While pursuing his doctorate, Krishna started studying Indian Classical Music with Shrimati Lakshmi Shankar and Dr. Tapan Bhattacharya.

While still a graduate student in Buffalo, New York, Krishna was involved in organizing Indian Classical Music concerts for visiting musicians from Bharat, many of whom were living legends. In his own words, "This period turned out to be crucial for my metamorphosis from a Physicist and a Mathematician to a Musician". Krishna would go to each of these visiting stalwarts, ask them to teach him something of their art, he thus took classes from Ustaad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty, Shree Vijay Kichlu, Ustaad Rashid Khan, Pandit Sandeep Ghosh, several others. During this period, Krishna became much influenced by the music of the legendary Great Pandit Kumar Gandharva. In particular, he was entranced by the "Nirguna Bhajans" of Pandit Kumar Gandharva; these songs composed several centuries ago by Kabir and others, were and are sung by wandering troubadours in Bharat and belong to a living folk Oral Tradition, over fourteen hundred years old. Pandit Kumar Gandharva had brought these songs to the classical stage.

In Krishna's own words, "These songs tugged at my soul incessantly until I had no other option but to give my life to them". Physics Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla's PhD work is titled "Calculations of Electron Effective Mass based on 3-D Kroenig Penny Model with Application to Solids". A pioneering mathematical model to predict the behaviour of electrons in simple crystal lattices; this work was published in the book "Quantum Statistical theory of Superconductivity" edited by Dr. Van der Meswe. After his Doctorate, Dr. Shukla joined Hartwick College, New York, as an assistant professor in Physics and Astronomy, in 1991, it was here. Music In 1992, Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla resigned his job as physics professor and went to Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California to study Indian Classical music with the great Maestro Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan, he studied Sarode here. In 1994, he returned to India to study, research and perform, the Bhajans belonging to the living oral folk traditions of Kabir and Gorakshanath and other saints, such as Tulsidas, Tukaram, Purandara Dasa and Surdas.

Between 1994 and 2004, he traveled through much of rural Northern India to learn and record the folk songs of the villag