Art and Culture Current Affairs - 2019

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Raja Ravi Varma’s painting on Tilottama fetches over Rs.5 crore at New York auction

Renowned Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma’s untitled painting of Tilottama was sold for $795,000 (around Rs 5 crore) at Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary South Asian art auction in New York. The winning bid was made by anonymous private collector.

Key Facts

The 20 x 13 and quarter inch oil on canvas masterpiece was created by Ravi Varma. Tilottama, as name suggests is painting of celestial nymph (apsara) from Indian mythology depicted partially undressed in red saree, flying to heavens. In the painting, her one hand is raised and other holding together her floating saree.

Varma’s painting portrays apsara’s descent from the skies to earth is said to be inspired from Venus who was embodiment of female beauty. The artist strove to impart the extreme desirability that led to demon brothers’ downfall.

According to Hindu mythology, Tilottama was created at Brahma’s request to destroy two demon brothers Sunda and Upasunda, who could not be killed by anyone except themselves. Legend has it that two brothers were so captivated by beauty of apsara, that they fought over her and ended up killing each other.

Raja Ravi Varma (April 1848- October 1906)

Raja Ravi Varma is considered one of the greatest painter in history of Indian art of 20th century for number of aesthetic and broader social reasons. He hailed from princely state of Tranvancore and was patronised by royal family for long time.

His art works are held to be among best examples of fusion of European techniques with purely Indian sensibility. His paintings employed latest European academic art techniques of day and continuing tradition and aesthetics of Indian art.

He was well-known for using mythological characters and bringing them alive through his pairings. He painted beautiful scenes from Nala and Damayanti, Mahabharata, Ramayana etc. He was awarded Kaiser i Hind Gold Medal by then British Government. His famous works include Shakuntala, Jatayu struck by Ravana.

He and had made his paintings available to masses in form of lithographs. The dissemination of his artworks helped the common man to appreciate art, a hobby generally reserved for upper class during his period. His lithographs further helped to spread word about artist’s works, making him a household name in the country.

Despite fame and recognition, only 64 works of Raja Ravi Varma have been auctioned in over three decades. In March 2017, Sotheby’s reportedly sold Ravi Varma’s (Untitled) Damayanti for $1.2 million. Further, auction house Pundole’s also had sold his masterpiece Radha in Moonlight for Rs. 23 crore.

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National Cultural Audiovisual Archives becomes world’s first Trusted Digital Repository

The National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA) project of Ministry of Culture was certified as world’s first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard. The certification was granted by Primary Trustworthy Digital Repository Authorisation Body Ltd. (PTAB), United Kingdom.

National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA)

NCAA is implemented by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). Its primary objective is to identify and preserve cultural heritage of India available in audiovisual form through process of digitization and make it accessible to the people.

The digitization and metadata standards followed for NCAA are in parity with international standards within overall framework of OAIS (Open Archival Information System) model. They digitization standards are as per prescribed by International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives (IASA) and metadata schema is extended Dublin Core, followed by galleries, archives, libraries,  and museums worldwide.

At present, NCAA has total of 21 Partnering Institutions from across the country, covering 11 governmental and 10 non-governmental cultural organisations It has digitized over 23,000 hours of unpublished audiovisual recordings.

NCAA pilot digital repository was developed in collaboration with Centre of Excellence for Digital Preservation by C-DAC, Pune. It was established with and powered by DIGITĀLAYA (डिजिटालय), developed by C-DAC Pune in compliance with OAIS Reference Model ISO 14721:2012.

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)

IGNCA has been set up by Government as premier research institute dedicated to holistic understanding and expression of Indian arts in their inter and multi-disciplinary nature. Its principal aim is to serve as major national resource centre for the arts.

It is nodal agency for data bank on art, humanities and cultural heritage. It also has been identified by UNESCO as nodal agency for development of regional databases for South and South East Asian countries on art, cultural heritage and life-styles using state-of-the-art technologies for standardization, dissemination and exchange of data.

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