Come International Museum Day on May 18, one can virtually explore the galleries of Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) at the click of a button, courtesy the Google Arts and Culture project, an official said.
The project, which spans diverse locations such as the Paris Opera, Smithsonian National Museum of History and Gateway of India, offers viewers a 360-degree walkthrough traversing the galleries, in Google Street View mode. There are so far 354 museum views from India, including those of the Indian Museum in Kolkata, National Museum and National Gallery of Modern Art from New Delhi. Going live on the same day are three curated exhibitions: The Art of Abanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore: Painter and Personality and The Magnificent Heritage of India as seen by the Daniells.
“Over 200 paintings by Bengal School of Art exponents Abanindranath Tagore and Gaganendranath Tagore will be featured in total, in the first two virtual exhibitions. They have been curated by the leading art historian Ratan Parimoo, the author of ‘Art of Three Tagores: From Revival to Modernity’,” said Jayanta Sengupta, Secretary and Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall.
This exposition includes Abanindranath’s famous water colour ‘Bharatmata’ (Mother India) dating back to 1905. It depicts a four-armed saffron clad woman, holding a book, sheaves of paddy, a piece of white cloth and a garland in her four hands. In the ‘Magnificent Heritage of India’ assemblage, artworks by 18th-century English artists Thomas and William Daniell will be showcased. They include a mix of aquatints and oil paintings.
English landscape painter Thomas and nephew William spent around nine years in India from 1785 and made extensive studies, sketches and drawings of the scenery, architecture and antiquities in both oil and aquatints.
“The exhibition on the paintings of Thomas and William Daniell has been curated in-house over a long time, and showcases their finest work,” Sengupta added. The Victoria Memorial Hall has the largest collection of the Daniells’ works in India (144 hand-coloured aquatint plates). The VMH was opened in 1921. It was conceived by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India, as a tribute to Queen Victoria.