21 Aug 2015 18:37 IST

Chicago’s famed arts museum to showcase Krishna paintings

Visitors will be allowed to leaf through pages of the manuscript via touchscreen kiosks

A famed arts museum in Chicago would exhibit a series of paintings on Lord Krishna which includes some of the rare collection of such paintings from India.

Christened “Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings” at the Art Institute Museum of Chicago, the exhibition from September 13 to January 3, 2016 would include over 100 artworks from India and the US, a media release said.

“Gates of the Lord” comprises drawings, pichvais, paintings, and historic photographs borrowed chiefly from two major private collections in India, the Amit Ambalal Collection (Ahmedabad) and the TAPI Collection (Surat).

“These rare loans are augmented by important objects from a number of public and private collections within the United States, including the Art Institute’s own permanent collection, in order to present the richest possible story of Pushtimarg art and tradition,” the museum said.

Said to be the first major US exhibition to explore the unique visual culture of the Pushtimarg, a Hindu denomination from Western India, the lead sponsorship for the exhibition has been provided by industrialist Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita and the Reliance Foundation.

The exhibition takes visitors through a year in Nathdwara, where the daily worship of Shrinathji is characterised by the changing seasons and a bustling festival calendar.

Gallery by gallery, visitors are introduced to the pichvais used as backdrops for Shrinathji in his shrine, each uniquely suited to a particular season or festival.

The accompanying miniature paintings offer further insight into the Pushtimarg sect: its mode of veneration, history, and important priests and patron families.

Enhancing the experience of the sect’s rich culture are festival and devotional music, a shrine reconstruction, and touchscreen kiosks that allow visitors to page through religious manuscripts, an artist’s sketchbook, and a historic photo album.

The exhibition concludes with an exploration of the works, sketches, and observations of prominent 20th and 21st century Nathdwara artists who have kept the painting tradition flourishing through the present day.

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