National Art Gallery
Built in the year 1907, this intricately designed red brick building is an integral part of the Government Museum. Situated in the Egmore region of the capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, it was designed by Henry Irwin and built by T. Namberumal Chetty representing an Indo-Saracen structure. This magnificent red sand stone edifice bears impressions of Mughal architecture and was first famous as Victoria Memorial Hall. >
The National Art Gallery hosts hundreds of valuable paintings from different eras and schools of India. Some of the traditional paintings include a fabulous collection of Tanjour paintings. This refers to a certain style of painting acquired during the Maratha period usually depicting deities and saints on exotic media such as ivory and glass. These paintings, flamboyant yet with their own touch of elegance, with their gold gilt and gem set technique are a true national treasure. There are also a number of handicrafts from the 11th and 12th centuries as well as medieval sculptures and scriptures. The paintings from the Mughal period are magnificent. The rock and cave art gallery hosts a number of paintings collected from various rock sites such as Alambadi, Vellarikombai and Keezhvalai.
A splendid collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, the pioneer of modern Indian art of the 19th century is displayed in the contemporary art gallery. He primarily painted scenes from Hindu mythology and introduced the technique of large bright areas of colour in his portrays and landscapes. Another national treasure, these paintings have been placed under fibre optic lighting in the gallery. These not only give dramatic effect to the pictures, but also reduce Ultra-Violet and Infra-Red rays which are harmful to the longevity of the paint. The Dichoric Halogen lamps installed in 2001 were the first for museums in India. The National Art Gallery holds within its brick red walls hundreds of invaluable treasures of Indian art and a pride and joy to every Indian patriot.
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