The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj museum at Fort will open its newly renovated Ratan Tata gallery of European Paintings on August 28. The collection, comprising 210 paintings, was bequeathed to the museum by Jamshedji Tata’s son, Ratan Tata, who died in 1919, from his personal collection. This collection will be rotated every six months, in batches of 26.
The gallery, which has been under renovation and restoration for eight months, now houses a mini-library, an ‘activity desk’ and a detailed catalogue of the paintings. The mini-library will house about 40 books and periodicals on European art and on the Tata collection of antiquities.
The catalogue will offer descriptions of the paintings’ elements, information about where each piece of art was created and in what style along with a detailed description of the situation, moment or event depicted.
“The biggest challenge that the curators in a museum face is getting viewers to engage with the art on display,” says museum director Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
The gallery has been provided with a desk where visitors can try their hand at reproducing images from the paintings. Paper, pencils and colours will be provided by the gallery. “If a viewer is physically engaged in an activity, he or she will be more interested in learning about the work, hence the drawing desk,” explains Mukherjee.
The gallery’s old fluorescent lights have been replaced with special lighting that generates lesser heat, ensuring that the paintings are not damaged over time, says Dilip Ranade, curator.