A painting is a poem without words, they say. Probably that is why, while staring at a huge blank wall with nothing but a fascinating piece of art, even the most eminent writers and masters of literature often fall short of words. Would you want to be left speechless too? Well, we have narrowed down a list of five most iconic art galleries in India that have been the doyens of the Indian art world. By Sushmita Srivastav
Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata (1933)
Taking up a huge space in the art landscape of Kolkata, the Academy of Fine Arts has been around since 1933, holding ever-changing exhibitions of local artists in eight of its bright gallery rooms. Established by Lady Ranu Mukherjee, it is home to some famous paintings here like ‘Saat Bhai Champa’ by Gaganendranath Tagore and ‘Shiva with Ganesh’ by Jamini Roy. It is also a hotbed for theatre artists who perform at the theatre-on-site located here. Check-out some of the most amazing upcoming young talents and engage with senior artists. Also, visit Rabindra Gallery to see a collection of Indian textiles, sculptures, and miniature paintings.
National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (1954)
Do you live in the capital and have a heart for true art? Arrive at the National Gallery for Modern Art (NGMA) that houses over 10,000 pieces of art! Housed in the former palace made for Maharaja of Jaipur in 1936, Delhi’s flagship art gallery has random art installations scattered across the premises that set the mood upon arrival. Other than holding regular exhibitions, walk-throughs, and lectures on old and new collections, the place is also an auditorium, a preview theatre, library, conservation laboratory, academic section, and the quintessential museum shop and cafe.
Government Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh (1968)
The impressive Government Museum & Art Gallery in Chandigarh is a treasure trove of artworks, sculptures, and stunning architecture. Opened for public viewing in 1968, it features different sections for different categories of art. The best sections of the museum are kept for miniature paintings, contemporary art, and portraits. Paintings by some of the most celebrated artists like Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gil, Jamini Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Abanindranath Tagore, etc. are kept safe here. History buffs can enjoy a 45-minute documentary synced with a great light and sound show, on the evolution and planning of the city of Chandigarh scheduled every weekend here.
Government Museum, Chennai (1851)
The second oldest museum in India, the Government Museum in Egmore is Chennai’s best-kept secret. A life-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibit at the Natural History section, the bronze sculptures from the seventh-century Pallava era preserved at the Bronze Gallery, tribal artefacts at Anthropology Gallery, and stunning Vijayanagara works at Archaeological Galleries are some of the gems to look for. The National Art Gallery here has traditional paintings from Tanjore, Rajput, and Mughal era, as well as paintings of legendary artists like Raja Ravi Varma on display. There’s also Contemporary Art Gallery and Children’s Museum for the exhibition of modern-day works.
Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (1952)
Established by Sir Cowasji Jehangir Second Baronet in 1952, the Jehangir Art Gallery can be a good start if you are looking your way around the Kala Ghoda district in Mumbai. It is believed that the inception of the gallery had brought along a new movement, and has been inspiring local and international artists ever since. The likes of MF Hussain and SH Raja have showcased their work here at a time when modern art did not have a place in the Indian art scene. A gallery spread across two floors, an auditorium hall, and even a terrace gallery space saved for photography and visual art exhibitions, it also hosts the well-known Kala Ghoda Art Festival every year.