Art in Print
Review | Divine Pleasures: Painting From India’s Rajput Courts – The Kronos Collections
Divine Pleasures is an uncommon show at the Met, featuring nearly 100 watercolour and ink paintings from northern India. Illustrations of the Ramayana and other holy texts, portraits of rajahs with horses and elephants, and love scenes both spiritual and erotic plot the development of Indian aristocratic taste over three tumultuous centuries.
The exhibition celebrates a promised gift to the museum from the scholar and collector (and a former Met curator) Steven M. Kossak, who has assembled a prodigious collection of Asian and other non-Western art. Most of the paintings on show will enter the Met’s collection. In reviewing the exhibition, Jason Farago writes: “The Met will need time to look beyond the gorgeous surfaces of these paintings and to integrate them into a larger and more critical narrative of Indian and pan-Asian history and society.”
Divine Pleasures: Painting From India’s Rajput Courts – The Kronos Collections is on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until 12 September.
Donors could be given naming rights for the restored space at Somerset House
The Courtauld Institute of Art has said that naming rights for the Great Room in its home at Somerset House could be given to donors who contribute to a £50 million “transformation” project. Starting in the 18th century, the room was used by the Royal Academy for its annual exhibition at which Constable and Turner would hang their latest works on the packed walls. It was partitioned into four rooms earlier this century but the institute wants to restore it to its original size.
The institute said that restoration of the Great Room was the pinnacle of its project, which has already received £9.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It also plans to remodel its “jumble” of buildings, add more exhibition spaces and create a new learning centre.
Unveiled: Adam and Eve naked again after centuries-old cover-up
Adam and Eve are once again as naked as the day they were created, centuries after some prudish hand wrapped his loins in a grass skirt and draped a veil around her, in an illustrated book to go on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The original naked figures – correct according to the biblical account where Adam and Eve only became ashamed of their bare bodies when they ate the forbidden fruit and were expelled from the Garden of Eden – were considered perfectly suitable by Queen Anne of Brittany in 1505, who commissioned the book as a gift for her five-year-old daughter, Claude. The recreation of their original appearance for an exhibition of some of the Fitzwilliam’s most treasured illuminated manuscripts, has been done digitally, without removing a flake of paint from the 500-year-old pages.
The book will be part of the exhibition Colour: the Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscriptsat Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge until 30 December.