The Objective Art

The Soul of the Empress Mumtaz-I-Mahal,  1914 – excerpt from ‘A New Model of the Universe’. P.D.Ouspensky

…….”I passed through the arch and out on to the broad stone platform, and stopped to look about me. Straight in front of me and right across the garden led a long broad avenue of dark cypresses, divided down the middle by a strip of water with a row of jutting arms of fountains. At the further end the avenue of cypresses was closed by the white cloud of the Taj Mahal. At the sides of the Taj, a little below it, the cupolas of two large mosques could be seen under the trees.

I walked slowly along the main avenue in the direction of the white building, by the strip of water with its fountains. The first thing that struck me, and that I had not foreseen, was the immense size of the Taj. It is in fact a very large structure, but it appears even larger than it is, owing chiefly to the ingenious design of the builders,

who surrounded it with a garden and so arranged the gates and avenues that the building from this side is not seen all at once, but is disclosed little by little as you approach it. I realised that everything about it had been exactly planned and calculated, and that everything was designed to supplement and reinforce the chief impression. It became clear to me why it was that in photographs the Taj Mahal had appeared unfinished and almost plain. It cannot be separated from the garden and from the mosques on either side, which appear as its continuation. I saw now why the minarets at the corners of the marble platform on which the main building stands had given me the impression of a defect. For in photographs I had seen the picture of the Taj as ending on both sides with these minarets. Actually, it does not end there, but imperceptibly passes into the garden and the adjacent buildings. And again, the minarets are not actually seen in all their height as they are in photographs. From the avenue along which I walked only their tops were visible behind the trees. Continue reading “The Objective Art”