Monday, March 22, 2010

Private Residential Museum - Mysore style paintings

If one wants to look at the private collection of Mysore paintings of royal family of Wodeyars, then the best place in Mysore is the Private Residential Museum. This museum is inside the premises of Mysore palace, just behind the main palace, near Kille Venkataramana temple.

I went there yesterday after a gap of almost 12 years to have a look at the paintings. The entry fee is Rs. 25 (Rs. 200 for foreign nationals, I find this ridiculous). Exhibits there contain many things, objects, furnitures etc., that were used by the royal family. But my main interest was Mysore paintings which are in quite a good number.

The first gallery is around an open-to-sky hexagonal thotti. At the far end of the thotti, the walls are adorned with paintings from Bhagavata illustrating the childhood and leelas of Krishna. Unusual thing is that these are done on canvas with oil colours. The sizes of canvas vary and seems to me that these were made for decorating the walls of a temple.

Adjoining this thotti is a big quadrangle, once again the center is open to the sky. All four walls have wooden galleries for royal ladies to sit and see the proceedings in privacy. Royal robes, accessories, palanquins are on display in this hall. Two narrow rooms adjoining this central hall have Mysore style paintings. The first of these two rooms have smaller paintings. There are two paintings which are round in shape which is quite unusual. One of the corner room has a painting by palace painter Y. Sundaraih which depicts Bheema receiving the blessing of Shiva. One painting depicts Nagas (snakes) which is very unusual. All snakes bear names.

In the second narrow room there are three paitings. One is Chakra which depicts Ramayana in small niches within. The second is Tripundra with Dashavatara and Lakshmi. Third painting is Shankha depicting Krishna leela from Bhagavata. As I moved away from this painting and on to the next, I was awe struck with what I beheld! A magnificent painting of Saraswati. My mind is still reeling recalling the minute detailed work all over this painting. Artist has not stopped with the canvas, he has painted with gesso on even the frame with same finesse and detail. Undoubtedly this is a masterpiece done by a master artist. Hats off to the artist. Another painting (Mahisha Mardini) of the same artist adorn the next frame. My day was made by these two paintings.

After this I just glided through to the exit.

If you are a connoisseur of Mysore style paintings, then these two paintings are a must see.

1 comment:

Exploring said...

This post of your has made me regret not visiting the private museum behind the main palace.

However, I have a question around a comment you made regarding the canvas. I have just started learning the art of Mysore painting and I am finding it hard to find any information regarding colors that were used, materials that were painted upon etc. I was under the impression that paintings were done on paper and not canvas, however in your post (last paragraph) you mention canvas. This has left me confused. Are you aware of any books in English or even Kannada(or any other language) that might provide me some details? I am as interested in the history of the materials used as the in history of the paintings themselves.