Good news awaits the artists and art admirers in Bengal. Connoisseurs of art will now be able to study great art works of legendary artists from Bengal, works that were until now out of sight, locked up for ages in the strong rooms of Rabindra Bharati Society (RBS) at their Jorasanko campus. But before going for public display, there is a hurdle to cross. There is a need for restoration and authentication of these famous paintings.
Neglected for ages, stacked in almirah, trunks and racks carelessly wrapped in papers had detrimental effects to these priceless assets. The ministry of culture stepped in to have them shifted to Victoria Memorial and has undertaken the restoration works of 5,000 paintings, a tedious job for sure. Rabindra Bharati Society (RBS) has handed over the paintings on permanent loan for which the Union ministry of culture has agreed to release Rs 10 lakh to RBS every year.
The artworks comprise the Bharat Mata and Krishnaleela series of Abanindranath Tagore, father of Indian modern art, paintings of Gaganendranath Tagore and sketches by Jyotirindranath Tagore. Works of eminent artists like Nandalal Bose, Bratinindanath, Mukul Dey and the likes of Kalipada Ghosh, Surendranath Ganguly of the Bengal School of Art are also part of the treasure trove.
A high-security zone of the Victoria Memorial is being used for authentication and listing of these works, in the presence of RBS members and the Victoria Memorial staff, between Wednesdays and Saturdays. Following this tedious affair, preservation work will commence. Many of these works are too valuable to undergo restoration, hence will be taken care of to prevent further deterioration.
Veteran painter Shuvaprasanna said, "This is the best thing to have happened to the paintings. I hope the authentication is done properly, in the backdrop of the scam relating to fake Tagore paintings. Also, the best restoration professionals should be involved."
Jayanta Sengupta, curator of Victoria Memorial said, "We do understand the sensitivity and delicacy of this mammoth task. Once the authentication and restoration are done, the paintings would be put up as the prized possessions of Victoria Memorial."
The RBS became the main repository of Abanindranath's works after his death and only a few had been collected or given away in his lifetime.
Now, people will be able to gaze at all of his artworks along with works of other renowned artists. This surely is a reason to cheer up the art lovers.
This is really great news for art lovers of the city. Seeing the works of maestros like Abanindranath Thakur and his student Nandalal Bose will be a great experience for us.
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