The restoration and conservation work of the National Art Gallery at the Egmore Museum is complete, and work is currently underway to set up the frames, boxes and lighting for the artefacts that will be on on display. “This work will take about two or three months after which the Gallery will be thrown open to the public,” a senior official at the Department of Museums said.
The renovation of the Gallery was carried out at a cost of ₹11 crore by the Public Works Department under the guidance of the Heritage Committee, with experts from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The National Art Gallery will have around 200 unique displays and will be a stand-out feature of the Egmore Museum, officials said. “We have paintings of Ravi Varma, sandalwood artefacts, ivory objects, miniature artefacts, Tanjore paintings, Rajput paintings and traditional paintings from across the country. Most of these are unique artefacts and also have aesthetic value,” another official said.
The ivory objects and miniature artefacts have extremely intricate carvings, the official said. “There are five to six types of paintings that are extremely well known and important across India. Some of these were important under the old schools of art,” the official said.
The official said almost all the items to be displayed in the gallery were already in possession of the Museum. “These are very old and antique artefacts. Some of these collections are around 100 years old. Some of the paintings will have original topaz, with gold inlays and semi-precious inlays,” the official said.
The official added that the artefacts displayed will be monitored through CCTV and other mechanisms, and there will be some distance cut-offs for the visiting public for select artefacts and paintings, in order to ensure their safety.
Funding for the renovation and restoration work was provided by the State government, the official added.