Work on its modernization was undertaken as part of a ??Renovation project of 60 crore funded by the Union Ministry of Culture.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ThroughVanita Srivastava

Kolkata’s iconic Victoria Memorial is set to undergo a complete overhaul by the end of January and be on display after at least two decades “The Jaipur Procession”, considered one of the world’s largest oil paintings.

The 23-foot-wide by 16.5-foot-tall masterpiece by Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin shows richly caparisoned elephants advancing majestically with horses and infantry in a procession past the Amber Chowpar in Jaipur in 1876. The Prince of Wales and Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur are seated on the first elephant. Made during the British Raj, the painting was originally owned by Edward Malley of New Haven in the United States. It was acquired by the Maharaja of Jaipur and presented at the Victoria Memorial in 1905.

“In our 1967 brochure, this painting was described as the largest oil painting in India and, possibly, the second largest in this medium in the world. It will be on display again in the museum’s Royal Gallery after more than two decades, ”said Jayanta Sengupta, secretary and curator of the Victoria Memorial. The renovated memorial is scheduled to be inaugurated on January 31. The modernization work was undertaken as part of a renovation project of around 60 crore funded by the Union Ministry of Culture. Built between 1906 and 1921, the Memorial is touted as one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. According to Sengupta, it attracted around 3.8 million tourists in 2018. It has 25 galleries and exhibition areas, including the Royal Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Durbar Hall and Calcutta Gallery. In an effort to increase attendance, the memorial’s hours will be extended from two hours to 8 p.m. on weekends starting January 20. “The memorial will have a whole new look. The Royal Gallery will be reopened after more than two decades.

Even the Portrait Gallery that housed a temporary gallery space will be reopened with new permanent features. In addition to this, we will be adding another exhibit on the making of the Victoria Memorial Hall in the lobby.

We are sure that all of this will help us attract more visitors, ”Sengupta said.

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