Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Day at the Museum


I was in the Government Museum on Kasturaba Road, Bangalore. A few other members of the sketch club called Pencil Jammers of which I am a member, were with me. We stood there sketching some of the 10th and 11the century sculptures on display there.

The guards, one a Bengali and the other an Assamese, were very curious about what we were doing. They kept watching what we did and gave their opinion on how we are doing. But, they are highly appreciative. They are so impressed that they found some folding chairs and offered them to the the couple of girls in the group. That was awfully nice of them.

Then comes an officer of the museum and challenged us about what we were doing, almost offensively. "Shouldn't you come and ask for permission before sketching?" I am asked. I explain about Pencil Jammers patiently. I say that the two of the girls are students in a premier, internationally esteemed educational institution in Bangalore and also where I work. I also say that our interests are purely artistic. We are finally allowed to continue.

There is a "No Photography" rules in many musea. I never understood why. Flashes can ruin the pigments in paintings. So, a "No Flash" rule is understandable. Why no photography?

Flashback 1985:

I was in the Birmingham Museum. I was ill prepared for the visit and I wanted to make some notes about some interesting exhibits - Degas' Ballerina - for instance. I went to the reception and asked hesitantly, if it was possible to get some paper. Pronto comes a clip board, five sheets of paper and pencil to boot. It was not a dream. I am told, "Just leave the pad and the pencil here on your way out please?". Thank you very much.


Flash forward:

Here are some of the sketches I made at the museum yesterday.

Tara, Bihar, Ca 10th Century
(Not sure if it is Brihaspatacharya's wife Tara or Vali's wife Tara or the female Bodhisattva or the form of Shakti)

Teerthankara, Ca 11th Century AD