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Thanjavur's Gilded Gods: South Indian Paintings in the Kuldip Singh Collection
Published by The Marg Foundation
- Comparatively little scholarly work has been done on South Indian paintings from Thanjavur and Mysuru - The works illustrated here display a variety of idioms within the South Indian tradition, both religious - images of deities, saints and temple plans - and non-religious - portraits of maharajas, religious personalities and ordinary devotees - Featuring many previously unseen pictures Tanjore paintings remain among the most popular artworks in our homes - avidly collected but little understood. This volume presents an enhanced understanding of the subject through an in-depth study of South Indian paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries from Thanjavur and its allied style of Mysuru. The richly researched and illustrated text showcases and engages with Kuldip Singh's unique collection of 300 paintings. Also included are painted prints, some reverse-glass works and a few lithographs. These cover a wide range of idioms and themes. From the domain of gods and goddesses and the sites and stories associated with their worship, we come down to the realm of their human patrons with portraits made of maharajas, priests and ordinary individuals. We also gain a glimpse of the different regions and schools that come under the larger ambit of the term 'South Indian' paintings. A historical and cultural background provides an overview and context to the material while a description of technique and an analysis of styles highlights an aesthetic appreciation. In addition to a focus on the process of conserving and preserving these works, the book looks at the contemporary status of this form which is experiencing a revival within the art market.
Anna L. Dallapiccola, formerly professor of Indian Art at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, is Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University. Her most recent publications are South Indian Painting: A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection (2010); The Great Platform at Vijayanagara (2010); Indian Painting: The Lesser Known Traditions (2011); Kalamkari Temple Hangings (2015) and Reverse Glass Painting in India (2017). A monograph on the Lepakshi temple, co-authored with George Michell, is forthcoming. She is presently collaborating with Anila Verghese on a research project concerning the art of the Vijayanagara successor states. Kuldip Singh is an architect and town planner, functioning as a consultant on important urban design projects. During extensive travels over 40 years in South India he gathered a collection of Thanjavur and Mysuru paintings. He is self-taught about the art and crafts of South India, and recently organized a conservation laboratory in his office at Delhi where the work of dating the paintings continues. R.G. Singh is the Secretary of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, Mysuru, an art trust. He has been collecting Mysuru paintings since 1987, and has been instrumental in patronizing the revival of this style. A sizeable collection is housed in a private museum of the trust. He has lectured extensively on art and heritage, written several monographs and organized exhibitions.
Reviewer: Katja Rangsivek
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