A visit to Salar Jung Museum is always a bit of a task with traffic and crowds. However, some memories are worth it, and this is definitely true of the ongoing special exhibition on V.V. Bhagiradhi in the Western Block.
Heralded as one of the finest landscape artists of India, Bhagiradhi's name was a household one in the 1930s. Today, he might not hold that place of honour but this tribute exhibition effectively encapsulates not only his works but his life and the times in which he flourished.
What makes this exhibition different from most is that it's a loving collection of memories. Holding 42 paintings, 12 unfinished works, 13 photographs, 11 certificates, and 11 diaries and news clippings, time seems to stand still. From grainy black-and-white photos of the artist as a child with his parents to a delicate watercolour which was acquired by Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung II, in 1934, this slice of history appeals even to those unfamiliar with the artist's background.
Bhagiradhi's works tell their own stories. These watercolours are mostly spiritual looks at nature. ‘Light& Shade' is a soft-toned, almost fluid study of a tree with rocks clustered near its roots. Bhagiradhi's experiments are also exemplified in a series of landscapes within alphabets in eight frames hung side-by-side; step back and the frames spell out the word PICTURES. There's a sense of poetry through his paintings: delicate sketches with suffused colours, with an interplay of light and shadow. His unfinished paintings hold a sense of poignancy: pencil sketches with just the beginnings of colour tinting the outlines. The special exhibition on V.V. Bhagiradhi is on at the Western Block, Mir Abbas yar Jung Hall, in Salar Jung Museum till August 31.