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Raja Ravi Varma's heritage paintings on display at NGMA

Bengaluru, July 07, 2016, DHNS 2:05 IST
masterpieces Raja Ravi Varma's heritage paintings titled 'Kadambari' and 'Sudhanva-Prabhavathi' are among the works to be displyaed at Manikyavelu Mansion, NGMA, Bengaluru, from 10 am to 5 pm (excluding Mondays and national holidays) from July 8 to August 14.
National Gallery of Modern Art and Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation are holding an exhibition of 131 lithographs produced by the legendary artist during his lifetime, starting from July 8.

Of the 131 lithographs to be displayed at the exhibition titled ‘Royal Lithography and Legacy’, 126 are from the private collection of Bengalurean-lawyer Ganesh Shivaswamy. Shivaswamy, who likes to think of himself of a ‘rescuer of cultural heritager’ rather than a collector, has several interesting stories about how these artworks came into his possession.

“I was driving along near Ashoka Pillar in Jayanagar when I noticed a scrapdealer’s shanty with a pile of artwork. Only the frames had value for him, so he sold 40 of the lithographs to me for a dirt cheap price of 40 rupees,” he said.

Shivaswamy’s ‘hunting expedition’ took him to the bylanes of Bengaluru, Mysuru and even Mumbai, where he bought the most expensive Raja Ravi Varma artwork in his collection for Rs 25,000.

The curated artwork is to be displayed under the themes of Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Krishna, kings and Rishis, damsels and nymphs and plays and mythology.

Artist’s vision
Apart from Shivaswamy’s collection, four lithographs belong to Aniruddha Haldipurkar from Karwar and one is from the collection of Hasta Shilp Heritage Village in Manipal. Gitanjali Maini, CEO of The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, said, “Our exhibition is a step towards preserving the artist’s vision of throwing open the doors and welcoming one and all to celebrate art and artistic excellence.”

This will be the first comprehensive display of all of Raja Ravi Varma’s lithographs, many of which were printed after his demise in 1906.

The exhibition will be inaugurated on Friday by the former Chief Justice of India M M Venkatchaliah and Rupika Chawla, the author of ‘Raja Ravi Varma: Painter of Colonial India’, will be the guest of honour.

Movie screenings and a curated walk will also be part of the display which will continue till August 14 at Manikyavelu Mansion, NGMA from 10 am to 5 pm (excluding Mondays and national holidays).

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