Earlier this year, San Francisco, California’s Asian Art Museum hosted the exhibit Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts. While this exhibition has closed on the west coast, those on the east coast of the United States now have the opportunity to enjoy the Maharaja exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia:
The first exhibition to explore the extraordinarily rich visual culture of India’s last royal families, Maharaja: The Splendors of India’s Great Kings spans the period from the early 18th century to the mid-20th century, bringing together over 200 magnificent objects. It examines the changing role of the maharajas (“great kings”) within a social and historical context, and reveals how their patronage of the arts, both in India and Europe, resulted in splendid and beautiful objects symbolic of royal status, power and identity.
I visited this exhibition in San Francisco and very much enjoyed it. It was a fabulous walk through time and I particularly enjoyed the profiles and artifacts of several Sikh Maharajas, including Ranjit Singh and those of the Patiala and Kapurthala states. The exhibition was a great historical survey of all the different Indian kingdoms through time and geography.
The exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts closes on August 19, 2012.