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By Prakhar Patidar
Ramayan; one of the two great epics in Hinduism is the tale of good and evil that has not only forged some of the ways of Hinduism but has inspired generations with the ideals of life. The story of Rama, the righteous kind of Ayodhya who lived beyond his years to become a god with masses of believers has not only been told and retold in various ways but has been adapted to different artforms. In not so fortunate circumstances, it has been at the centre of political and communal unrest too.
Such has been the following and massive influence of this epic that it lives on in the essence of a religion, its people and the stories and art they produce. National Museum of India as a part of their online endeavours provides us with a great opportunity to appreciate Ramayana's visualisation through miniature painting art from the comfort of our homes.
Currently live, this exhibition features Ramayan depicted through the internationally known Rajasthani miniature painting artform. Miniature painting was introduced to India by Mughals. Adopted by the local artists, it metamorphosed into Rajasthani miniature: a style that utilised the best of the miniature style and are lauded for visual aesthetics created by perfect detail. When looking at these paintings, one is in awe of the minute details and intricate patterns created using bold colours. Preparing colours for these paintings is an elaborate process that can take up to weeks and uses vegetables, minerals, stones along with real silver or gold.
This virtual exhibit called RAMAYAN: VISUALISATION IN INDIAN MINIATURE ART, curated by Dr. Kanak Lata Singh under the guidance of Shri Raghuvendra Singh and Shri Subrata Nath, allows the viewer a virtual walk-through the exhibition through well done digitisation of the art. It comprises 49 virtual miniature paintings (17th - 19th century) illustrating different stages of Lord Ram's life such as his learning days with sage Vaishishtha, Sita's swayamvar, encounter with Surpanakha and more. Though the exhibition takes some time to load, the artworks have been digitised well enough for the viewer to be able to enjoy the details these paintings are known for.
If you love Indian art or like to revisit Ramayan or looking for a culturally rich afternoon with your family, this one is definitely for you. It opens into a 360 view of the gallery with an entrance into 'Hall 3' and 'Hall 4'. One can navigate through it as if in a video game and enjoy the miniature paintings.
You can visit the exhibition here: https://nmvirtual.in/Virtual_Tour/Ramayan/
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