In the lead-up to the 175th birth anniversary of Raja Ravi Varma on April 29, the Bengaluru-based Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation loaned nine chromolithographs to Louvre Abu Dhabi as part of the museum’s fifth anniversary culture season. These artworks by the Indian master are part of a larger exhibition titled ‘Bollywood Superstars: A Short Story of Indian Cinema.’
Organised in partnership with Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and France Muséums, the show pays tribute to the richness of cinema from the Indian subcontinent and also explores its history from its beginnings in the late 19th century. The list of Raja Ravi Varma’s chromolithographs on loan to the Louvre include his works titled ‘Lakshmi,’ ‘Saraswati,’ ‘Shankar,’ ‘Shesha Narayana,’ ‘Vishnu Garuda,’ ‘Vahan Shanmukha,’ ‘Subramuniyaswami Mohini,’ ‘Krishna with Radha’ and ‘Sakhi Go Dohana.’
Furthermore, digital images of two original oil paintings by the artist, which belong to private collectors from India, will feature in the catalogue produced by the Louvre for this exhibition.
Gitanjali Maini, Managing Trustee and CEO of the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, said the idea behind sharing its prized assets with the Louvre and those looking to know more about this “great artist” was the very premise of her organisation.
“Working with Louvre Abu Dhabi, shortlisting the chromolithographs from our collection and brainstorming with them for this landmark exhibition was exciting,” she added. “We are grateful to the entire team at the Louvre for thinking of including Raja Ravi Varma and his work into such an important international exhibition.”
Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre, said: “This exhibit provides a unique insight into an art genre that has a vast history and powerful present. Visitors will discover the depth of the Indian filmmaking industry since its beginning and gain a unique perspective into the richness of forms that pervaded its creation.”
The exhibition is on view at Louvre Abu Dhabi until June 4.