Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Coronation of the Wodeyar Kings

The coronation of the Kings after the abolishment of Privy purse is no longer a grand public event but a very private ceremony. The most glittering coronation was that of the last king of Mysore State, Major-General His Highness Sri Sir Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur, Maharaja of Mysore, GCB, GCSI, on 29 August 1940. To those of the citizens of the heritage city of Mysuru privileged to attend that event it was a spectacle that would never be forgotten. The coronation of the last Maharaja’s heir in 1974 was private and subdued.

Anachronistic as it sounds in a country that through an act of the Parliament removed the very word of ‘Royalty’ from its lexicon and rendered the hundreds of kings, nawabs and other minor royalty bereft of all trappings of pomp and transformed them into plain Mr. and Mrs., the fascination for a bejeweled Maharaja being seated on a throne to the sonorous chants of arcane hymns, smoke of the incense reaching the chandeliers high above, the nobles and other invitees dressed in outfits, with swords, draws a concerted and collective in-drawn breath of awe. And for one brief moment in time, one is sucked into the vortex of past and imagined  dormant memories of kingly rituals.

The coronation of the new king of Mysuru slated to be held before the onset of the annual Dasara will be muted but just as grand for those privileged  few. For here is an unbroken tradition of a Wadiyar ascending the throne of a erstwhile kingdom  whose history goes back to several hundreds of years.

Though the Mysuru kingdom can be traced to the establishment of a small principality by Yaduraya in 1399, it was only in 1578 that the kingdom was established by Raja Wadiyar (1578–1617). Between 1939 till the ‘reign’ of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, there have been 25 kings of the Wadiyar lineage.

It was Raja Wadiyar who first ascended the Golden Throne and proclaimed with his coronation, his rule over the kingdom of Mysuru at Srirangapatna. A word about the Golden Throne is necessary. Shrouded in mystery, this throne which it was claimed belonged to Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers.

The saint Vidyaranya, who is the head of the Sringeri Mutt in 1338, is supposed to have shown the hiding place of the throne to the Vijayanagar King, Harihara, who lived between 1336 and 1357.  Harihara then removes it to his capital and the throne is used for the next two centuries as the royal throne of the Vijayanagar kings. The fall and annihilation of the Vijayanagar empire finds the throne being removed by one of the feudatory chieftains to Srirangapatna. In 1609, Tirumalaraya II gives it to Raja Wadiyar and goes to Malangi. A year later Raja Wadiyar declares himself to be an independent ruler and ascends the Golden Throne and claiming to be the inheritor of Vijayanagar tradition inaugurates the Navaratri and Vijayadashmi at Srirangapatna.

The canons of the Manasara, a 600 CE treatise on architecture and sculpture, which contains an entire chapter on thrones, mentions several kinds of thrones. Thrones  are symbolic seats of authority and symbolize divinity and power, both cosmic and earthly.  There is mention of the  Padmasana Throne, which is the ‘Seat of the Gods,’ the Bhadrasana or auspicious throne and the Lion or Simhasana throne which only those kings who had all the royal attributes could ascend. Scriptural canons say that the Bhadrasana throne is used for coronations and the Simhasana Throne for royal festivals like the Dasara. The Wadiyar kings follow this custom to this day. Thus the heir-designate will ascend the silver throne on the day of his coronation.

There are pictorial records apart from royal murals that show the king being seated on the Golden throne which is a part of the coronation rituals marking the first Durbar of the newly coronated king.

The photograph of the painting shows the coronation of boy King Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in 1799 at the Kote Venkatramana Temple. In the painting, Dewan Purnaiah is seen on the right side of the king who is seated on the throne.  To the left of king, Lt.Col. Wellesly is seen seated. The throne itself seems flush to the level of the raised platform.

Incidentally, the  Devatanama Kusumamanjari, a Sanskrit work written during the reign of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in 1859 in verse form is laudatory and  there is  mention of the various attributes of the throne. The verses about the throne also mention the  mystical  and magical powers that exude an aura around the throne. These powers prevent one who is not worthy from ascending the throne.

A legend from the ancient past is evocative enough to be recounted here. The steps of the Golden throne are embellished by figures  of 32  divine maidens. The King Bhoja has discovered the throne under an earthen mound and has it restored in his Palace. With all ceremonies and rituals befitting a king, Bhojaraja ascends the throne only to be thwarted by an invisible force emanating from the divine maidens which prevent from taking another step.  Then damsels then take turns narrating a story that enumerates the virtues  of an ideal king who alone is worthy of being crowned on the throne. The king then through good deeds goes about acquiring the virtues of a godly king and then is able to ascend the throne. . Shades of Arthur’s Excalibur!

Coming back to coronation one discovers that from surviving records of the 1940s that the Wadiyar kings were first installed on the Silver Bhadrasana and then there is the Durbar on the golden throne afterwards it is only during the Dasara festivities that the king ascends the Golden throne. Photographs from the 1940 show the Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar being installed on the Silver Bhadrasana  while a 1974 photograph shows His Late Highness Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar coronated on the Silver throne.

Be that as it may. There are two abiding reasons why the coronation of the new king is of importance. First this year 2015, marks the 75th  anniversary of the coronation of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar. It is also the  40th anniversary of the Coronation of Srikanatadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.

Second the history of Mysuru and its peoples is remarkably entwined  with the Kings of the Wadiyar dynasty. From reign of Yaduraya (1399–1423) to Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar I (1423–1459)  and on to Thimmaraja Wadiyar( 1459–1478 ); from  the reign of Hiriya Chamaraja Wadiyar II (1478–1513),Hiriya bettada Chamaraja III Wadiyar (1513–1553),Thimmaraja Wadiyar II (1553–1572),Bola Chamaraja Wadiyar IV (1572–1576),Bettada Chamaraja Wadiyar V(1576–1578),Raja Wadiyar I (1578–1617),Chamaraja Wadiyar VI (1617–1637) and Raja Wadiyar II (1637–1638) and then onwards to various other kings culminating through Khasa Chamaraja Wadiyar IX (1766–1796),Krishnaraja Wadiyar III (1799–1868),Chamarajendra Wadiyar X (1868–1894), and during the regency  of Vani Vilas Sannidhana, queen of Chamarajendra Wadiyar X from 1894 to 1902 and then thence to the reign Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (1894–1940) and Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar (1940–1950) and lastly Srikantadatta Narsimharaja Wadiyar, (b-1953), ascended the throne in 1974. Once again the dynasty continues unbroken.

We go back in time to the coronation of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. His ascendancy is significant because he was the first Wadiyar king to resume the rule of Mysore by the Wadiyar lineage after a gap of  36 years. It was only the courage, patience and sacrifice of the Queen  Lakshmammani that kept the Wadiyar dynasty alive. On June 30th 1799, the five-year-old Krishnaraja Wadiyar III was crowned the king of Mysore in a traditional coronation ceremony that took place in a special pavilion constructed near the Lakshmiramana Swamy temple in Mysore. Reports say that the  young boy was led by the Duke of Wellington to the throne.

The twenty third Maharaja of the Wodeyar dynasty was selected from the Bettada-Kote Ursu clan who was christened as Chamaraja Wodeyar X and he was ritually coronated on 22 & 23 Sep. 1865 when Mysore state was under British Rendition which ended in 1881.

A booklet, “ Proceedings of the Installation of His Highness, The Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur in the Government of the Territories of Mysore” dated, March 25th , 1881,” states among other things: ”  On March 23rd 1881, the Governor of Madras, Major-General Sir Thomas Munro,  and his staff along with the J. D Gordon, Chief Commissioner of Mysore and the Provisional Commander-in-Chief ‘enter’ Mysore. They are met at the entrance to the town by officers of the Station, the relatives of the Maharaja and officers of the Palace household.”

The publication then goes on to say that: “The Governor announces that he has been empowered by the Viceroy and Governor General and calls on the Chief Secretary to read out the Proclamation …” which announces to the chiefs and people of Mysore that His Highness Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar is hereby  placed in possession of the territories of Mysore and invested with the administration of the Mysore State.....” .

Addresses are presented by various organizations and one in particular is fascinating. The address from the  Coorg Planters’ Association  says among other things that , “ Although we are not part of the Mysore Raj still Your Highness cannot but be aware of the ties which do and must ever exist between Mysore and Coorg.”   

The Wesleyan and London Missionary Societies representing the churches and educational and medical missions are next in the protocol presenting their addresses.

Interestingly the congratulatory address by the Catholic church is in Latin and it is worth reproducing here. It begins thus: “ Serenissimo Principi Ac Domini, / Domino Chamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur, Mayssurensium Regi,/ Vicarius Apostolicus Mayssurensium and goes on thus : In hac auspicatissima die qua primo regni scetpra tenes, ac imperii habenae tuia juvenilibus manibus committuntur, quum laeto animo haec tuorum subditorum densa corona sua offcia et vota tibi offerunt, et nos Catholicae Religionis asseclae, neque numero, nec certe fida erga tuum Majestatem devotiene infini, te Regem ac ducem nostrum venerabundi salutus . (  “On this most auspicious day when for the first time Your Highness holds the scepter of your Kingdom, and the reins of Government are entrusted to the guidance of your youthful hands, with how glad a heart does this dense throng of your subjects present to Your Highness an offering of their duty and their loyal congratulations. We also, the followers of the Catholic Religion, neither small in number nor certainly the last in devotion to Your Highness, respectfully welcome our Prince and Ruler.” )

Like time-travelers we go to the coronation of  “Maharaja Sir Shri Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar”, who was coronated under unusually sad and untimely demise of his father. The ritual coronation was performed under the Regency of his mother H.H. Vanivilas Sannidhana on 01 February 1895.

After attaining majority, Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was formally installed on the throne on 08 August 1902 and the venue was a specially erected pavilion erected in the Jagan Mohan Palace since the old wooden palace was partially gutted in a accidental fire and the present palace was under construction.

One takes recourse to the India Office records which reveals:  “The road to the approach to the installation pavilion was lined on either side by the Infantry and the Cavalry of the Maharaja’s army. The Guard of Honor was by the Royal Warwickshires, a battle-scarred elite regiment of the British army and the Band and Colours  (Imperial cavalry guards) were stationed at the entrance of the Durbar hall. The Viceroy Curzon  who is to install the new king is met at the Government House by a deputation consisting of the Diwan and the principal officers of the Mysore State.”

A further excerpt extricated from India Office archives: “…the Viceroy Curzon  was accompanied by Mr. Wood, Under secretary ( Foreign Department) , Lt.Col. E. Barring, Military Secretary, Mr Carnduff and His Excellency’s Personal Staff. Also present was J A Bourdillon, the Chief Commissioner.“   The report mentions that there on the dais were two silver Thrones, one of which was subsequently used as a Masnad to which the Maharaja was formally conducted by the Viceroy after being installed.

The Coronation of the last Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar is evocative as it reflects the love of the people for their sovereign.   A  manifesto published in 1942 titled  ‘Ananda Chandrika‘ by  Ramakrishna Sastri, an Hindi Pandit describes the Pattabhisheka (the installation)  of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar. The author says that Palace astrologers have after consultations chosen the date of the Installation and that invitations have been distributed to all the important citizens. There are buntings and flags festooning the city. Several bullock-carts laden with sugar are sent around the city and sugar-candy was distributed to all the citizens and visitors to the city. 

On the day of the installation all prisoners are pardoned and released.  The King-to-be is dressed in white and bedecked with jewels. He is escorted to the Lakshmi-Vilasa of the Palace where the installation is to be held. The king then performs Kalasha Pooja, sacrificial rituals to Agni and other Gods.  The State elephants, horse and oxen are in attendance even as Palace musicians play compositions some of which have been composed by the Maharaja JayaChamaraja  Wadiyar himself. The king is then installed on the Silver throne!

The scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar was coronated on the silver throne in what was a very private ceremony. No chronicler seems to have recorded the proceedings or the arcane rituals that preceded his ascension to the throne. Similar will be the ascension of the heir–designate, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar who will continue the legacy of the Wadiyar dynasty. The heir designate will be formally adopted on February 23rd 2015 and much before the onset of the Dasara festivities will ascend the silver throne in the Palace within whose premises so much of history has taken place and will continue to do so in the future.

Incidentally, Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs traces his lineage to Chamaraja Wadiyar. His great great grandmother Jayalakshmammani was the eldest daughter of Chamaraja Wadiyar and Vani Vilasa Sannidhana. Further  his mother, Tripurasundari Devi, is the grand-daughter of the last Maharaja, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar who was the only son of Kantiravanarsaraja Wadiyar, the second son of Chamaraja Wadiyar and Vani Vilasa Sannidhana.

The Heir-designate is to assume the name “Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar” on his coronation, and will be given the official Royal signet ring (Mohur), the royal seal  and the State sword.  

-  R.G. Singh
Secretary, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana

Wodeyar Portraits – A Tradition of Capturing of Memories

Peacock pavilion of the Mysuru Palace is where the coronation of the new King is scheduled to be held on this 28th. In the hall adjacent to this pavilion is the portrait gallery that has on its walls the official coronation paintings of the several Wadiyar rulers along with their family members. The portrait gallery is unique in the sense that it is here that the past is remembered. It is also here that one would, on looking at so many representations of kings, begin to realize the importance that a royal portrait played in private and public life of the nobility.
But it was not only the coronation but also special events that called for it to be immortalized on canvas or photographed or painted. The Daly Memorial Hall which is home to the staid and learned Mythic Society in Bengaluru greets the visitor with a portrait officially commissioned of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV on the king being conferred with the GCS (the honor of Knight Grand Commander) on January 1st 1907.

The oil on canvas portrait shows the king partly in profile. The GCS Honor is pinned to a sash. The bejeweled necklace covering the neck of sherwani only add to the richness of the attire. The fluted and feathered plume with a jeweled brooch holding it place to the turban also add to the grandeur of this portrait.
But this was a royal portrait; it was meant to capture that moth’s wing flutter of a memory. The portrait painted was at once a recollection of an event while being at the same time a memory-keeper’s almanac. The hidden sutras embedded in these royal portraits take one backwards like a latter-day Wells-ian traveler hurtling to a distant past, let us say to the Official Coronation portrait of a 11-year old Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV who would soon be better known as Nalwadi.
This is a stylized photographic portrait that several artfully placed emblems in the manner of Reynolds for example, the jacquard seat of the chair. The three-legged table with a curved triangular holder while the top seems to be some polished surface. A clock, some leather covered  folders lie and the young prince is resting one hand on them while the other is at his hip. A Beagle is seemed to have been startled by the flash light, stands motionless standing under the table.
The photographer, Buranuddin of Mysuru, has used all possible elements that signify royalty in composing this photograph.
The autographed official photograph of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar to mark the Silver Jubilee of his coronation in 1927 shows the King dressed somberly resting one hand on the back of the chair while the other is grasping what could be a sword-stick. The single-row bejeweled necklace and the chain and fob in the upper coat pocket add a touch of elegance. Even the Mysore peta is unembellished. The photograph was printed in Germany on water-marked archival paper.
Thus it is clear that commemorative coronation photographs and paintings occupied a singular place in the pictography of the nobility. The old Colonial daguerreotype had just to begun to make significant inroads with several improvements. At the same time master Court painters continued to hold their own as master craftsmen in their attempt to painstakingly transfigure the subject.
Portraits were usually commissioned to commemorate special events. One such important event was the Coronation. In fact one example of the classic Coronation painting which is part of an illustrated manuscript is that of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar’s coronation. This painting in a private collection was photographed and reproduced in the Star of Mysore. The coronation took place in the Lakshmiramana Swamy temple that lies within the Palace complex. The painting was done in the royal atelier and there is no indication as to the identity of the artist.
One other painting that needs to be mentioned is the one at the Jaganmohan Palace which is that of the coronation scene of Maharaja Chamaraja Wadiyar. The painting vividly captures the historic moment and was painted by the artist Venkata Subbu in 1868.
There is one more official portrait of Chamaraja Wadiyar on being conferred with the Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1892. This photograph reproduced here and which is in a private collection was ‘clicked’ by the famous photographer of the royalty, Raja Deen Dayal of Hyderabad. The photograph is self-revealing and attests to the royalty of the subject.
The portrait apart from its status as keeper of memories, was also, for the Wadiyar kings as it was rulers elsewhere across the country, an essential part of the accoutrements of the Blue-blooded nobility and the wealthier merchant classes.
Raghu Dharmendra, curator of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP) mentions in his dissertation, ‘Portraiture – In Surapura and Mysore Paintings - a Comparative Study,’ that at least a 1000 portraits of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar existed many painted in oils, inlaid work that used ivory, silver relief portraits apart from early daguerreotype photographs as well as lithographic prints. There are portraits of the king seated on an elaborately ornate chair, standing next to a pillar with a heavy drapery falling in folds, he is also shown performing puja either by himself or with his consort along with attendants. There are other portraits of the king with various pontiffs depicted as though they are deep in a spiritual discussion.
Going by the profusion of such paintings it would appear to the layman that the king was making a conscious effort to document history. The fact that he also encouraged court painters to create self-portraits and also portraits of other courtiers, officers, artists, employees and noblemen of Mysore, are an indication of the eclectic vision of this extraordinary king. Such portraits can still be seen on the walls of the hallowed Ranga Mahal, the top most floor of the Jaganmohan Palace.
Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar’s passion and his patronage for the visual arts had a dual effect. One, these paintings became a historical record and second, it led to the enthusiastic emulation of the King's passion by the Ursu Nobility as well as the leading citizenry of the kingdom. This led to a plethora of stylized portraitures that captured in all vividness and detail the lives of the people of the kingdom.
All this goes on to prove that portraits were as malleable as that of Dorian Gray’s though in a spiritual manner! Each of the paintings done were a part of a movable feast of images that shifted through time and space remaining to this day re-creators of the past.
Entering the private apartments of the Royal family one goes up the iron balustrade winding staircase. All along the steps just a little above one’s head at regular intervals are portrait paintings of various members of the Mysore Royals. Many of these are busts while others are equestrain portraits and so on.
While the English royalty painters used pastoral themes their Indian counterparts used the very Indian-ness of such public events of those days to display their virtuosity. For instance the 1927 Silver Jubilee of Nalwadi's coronation has been commemorated with a beautiful portrait done by artist Keshavaiah; this masterpiece is on display at the Banquet Hall of the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru while two equally stunning portrait paintings by Y. Nagaraju and S.N. Swamy are in the collection of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana in Mysuru.
The advent of photography did not as expected deal a death knell to the art of portrait paintings as much. The earlier sepia toned photographs of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar or Chamaraja Wadiyar shows them against a backdrop of classic settings. There is the heavy drapery hanging in folds on one side, a tall stool and heavy carpeting while the king dressed in his royal couture stands with an elbow resting on the stool while he assumes a dignified mien. The old black and white photographs led to another innovation, the painted photograph.
By the time Jayachamaraja Wadiyar ascended the throne, both photography and painted photographs were very much in vogue. But such was the ingenuity of the Indian photographers that their photographs of the Royalty was a marriage of these several stylizations. Thus you have photographs of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar shown in what was supposed to be a candid form. At various times you had special photographs of H.H. Jayachamaraja Wadiyar ‘clicked’ by the then well-known City Studios like Star Studio, Palace Studio and Raj Studio. The variation was of course the painted photograph of H.H. Jayachamaraja Wadiyar by M.N. Murthy.
The photograph taken by the unknown photographer of Palace Studios of H.H. Jayachamaraja Wadiyar in 1940 to commemorate the king’s coronation has been replicated as a painted photograph by artist M.N. Murthy and is now in the RKP collection.
But at no stage did photographs or painted photographs replace the portrait painter. There are paintings of H.H. Jayachamaraja Wadiyar by Y. Nagaraju and Subramanya Raju are on display at the Jaganmohan Palace gallery while the one done by Madhugiri Ramoo is in a private collection.
The tradition of painting historical events continues to this day. The last scion of the Royal House of Mysuru, the Late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar along with his sisters and their husbands has been painted as several individual portraits by M. Ramanarsayya, the former Superintendent of Jaganmohan Palace.
It is with the intention of keeping this tradition alive, that Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP) first commissioned artist K.S. Shreehari in 2014 to paint a classical portrait in the Mysore style of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar based on the photographs of 2013 Navaratri Khas Darbar.
This was followed by commissioning artist Manish Verma to recreate a Mysore style painting using a photograph of the Maharaja designate, Sri Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar. 
This classic Mysore style portraiture shows the king accoutered in his royal vestments and Mysore peta adorning his head while his posture follows the classic from that can be seen in many of the portraits of the present king’s ancestors. He is seated on the silver Bhadrasana which suggests that he has just been invested with the (symbolic) royal authority of Mysore Kingdom, the Maharaja of Mysore. 
-R.G. Singh
Secretary, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Traditional Paintings - Article in Alekhya

Paintings of KS Shreehari

Following paintings of Sri K.S. Shreehari are in the collection of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana.

Mahisha Mardini. The painting is a rare depiction of slaying of Chanda, Munda, Raktabeeja and Mahishasura by Devi Mahalakshmi in the presence of her younger sister Jwalamalini Tripura Sundari.

Saraswati. 1996. 51cm x 71 cm

Lakshmi Narasimha. 2012. 38 cm x 48 cm

Raja Rajeshwari

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family of Traditional Artists

Tirupalli Raju

K. Venkataraman
student of Tirupallayya

K.V. Seetaraman
son of K. Venkataraman

Sri K.S. Shreehari
son of K.V. Seetaraman

This four generation of artists are custodians of the traditional Mysore style painting; they hail from T. Narasipura, Mysore district in Karnataka, a town at the confluence of the rivers Kaveri (Cauvery), Kapila (Kabini) and an unseen legendary Sphatika Sarovara.

Sri K.S. Shreehari

Tirupalli Raju was a master artist who decorated the temple of Nanjangud with murals during the late 19th century.  Possibly, he could be the descendent of Tirupalayya, one of the painters who worked under Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar's patronage.  One among his apprentice trainees was K. Venkataraman of Tirumakudlu Narasipur on the banks of Kapila-Kaveri about 30 kms from Mysore City.  His father Kullaiyya Raju was also a painter.  After serving under the master for several years and acquiring sufficient expertise, Venkataraman returned to T. Narasipur and started his avocation.  But from what we learn, his talents did not get due recognition and patronage. His son K.V. Seetharaman though inherited this art was not much of a success because of the loss of interest in these traditional paintings in the public and the family went into bad times. It was his son Shreehari who tried to revive and establish the family heritage in a more concrete manner.

K.S. Shreehari was born on 12.01.1968 at T. Narasipur.  Being a graduate from the University of Mysore, he had his own dreams and ambitions but could not achieve any of them due to adverse economic factors.  Meanwhile people started evincing greater interest and even pride in this noble heritage, thus creating a demand and also a market for these paintings.  This enabled Shreehari to come into the focus of art lovers.  Commissions for these paintings started coming in.

Apart from the subjects like Raja Rajeshwari, Sri Rama-pattabhisheka, Kodandarama, Tripuraasura Samhaara, 32 forms of Ganesha and familiar themes of traditional painters of Mysore, Shreehari proved his expertise in the paintings of such exotic themes like a zigzag puzzle like 'Panchanaari-Turaga', i.e., figure of horse comprising five female figures and 'Navanaari-Kunjara' i.e., figure of elephant comprising nine female figures.  Another work given below entitled 'Virata Vishwaroopa' testifies to his eye for minutest details and a fecund imagination, it represents a form of Vishnu embodying the entire universe with all its animate and inanimate objects.

In recognition of his service to traditional painting, Shreehari received the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya Vishwakarma award of the craft council of Karnataka in 1994 and Rotary Ramsons Kala Pratishtana award for the best craftsperson in 1996.

He is a recipient of Mysore Dasara Art Exhibiton's first prize in Traditional art for years 1986, 89, 90, and 93. Apart from his participation in various traditional painting workshops held at Honnavara, Nagpur, Mysore, and Gwalior, he has held one man exhibitions at ANZ Grindlays Bank Art Gallery and Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery, Bombay. His artistic masterpieces adorn the Karnataka Lalithakala Academy, Bangalore, South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur, Ravindra Niketana, Tumkur, Taj Hotels at Bombay and Madras and Museum of Sacred Art, Belgium. Ramsons Kala Pratishtana of Mysore has a major collection of Shreehari's paintings.

His private patrons are Dr. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala (D.K.), Dr. Saryu Doshi, Bombay, Dr. Norman Sjoman, Canada.  Rajasaheb of Nabha, New Delhi, His Highness Maharaja Virabhadrasinhji of Bhavanagar, Maharajkumar Vishnudevji of Dharmapur, Maharaj Kumar Girirajsinhji of Gondal and Mr. Alain Grandlcolas, France. Thus his works have become collectors' items in both India and abroad and thus he has created for himself a good number of admiring lovers of art.
 -BVK Sastry 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Article on Mysore Style

Saritha Rao Rayachoti has written an article on Mysore style paintings. You can read it at her blog here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Artist Girija M

Mr. Shoaib Khan has written in his blog about artist Girija of Mysore who paints in Mysore style. You can read about her here.