Housing over 500 exhibits tracing the movement of Modern Indian Art, Bangalore’s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is a must-visit, just as much for its serene surroundings as for the artworks on display. Plus, a museum shop and a charming cafe too!
Located in the restored, heritage Manikyavelu Mansion on a sprawling 3.5 acres of land, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Bangalore might not seem like your regular art gallery. Surrounded by greenery (think well-maintained grassy lawns with huge trees) and housed in the two-storeyed colonial-style residential building (believed to be built around 1915), the gallery also includes an additional modern wing featuring contemporary architecture. With well-lit and airy rooms with windows opening out into the garden space, the ambience here is just as captivating as the art on display. Weekends see art enthusiasts lounging around, sketching away on their pads.
While the collection on the ground floor includes works by Amrita Sher-Gil and Raja Ravi Varma, these may often be shifted to make way for ongoing exhibitions. Divided into several rooms, this is also where you will find paintings by the three Tagores (Abanindranath, Gaganendranath, and Rabindranath), along with prominent works marking the Bengal and Shantiniketan School Of Art. Depictions of Indian themes and rural life with indigenous materials like tempera find their way onto paper and even, silk cloth in this collection.
With guards all around to guide you (but never intruding while you admire the art), move on to the next wing (a spacious hall) which has sculptures by the likes of S. Dhanpal and Kanayi Kunhiraman as well as artworks by Arpita Singh and Anjolie Ela Menon, among others. Take the next flight of stone steps to the top wing which houses exhibitions as well as a permanent collection featuring the Regional Modernism period and Printmaking. Look out for artistic expressions by VS Gaitonde and MF Hussain as well as Mukul Dey’s graphic prints.
Oh, and a well-equipped library with books and magazines on art if you want to do a spot of research. A visit here must inevitably end at their cafe, which serves everything from cups of steaming coffee and short eats to sandwiches and pasta. Perfect for a day’s outing!