Reena Ahluwalia's new set of artworks find home at C Krishniah Chetty Crystal Museum Salon

The Maharaja and Maharani of Mysore paintings capture India's gem and jewellery legacy on canvas
Royal Mysore Maharaja Maharani Paintings
Royal Mysore Maharaja Maharani Paintings

Renowned artist Reena Ahluwalia has unveiled a collection of exquisite paintings featuring the Maharaja and Maharani of Mysore. These captivating artworks, portraying the historical opulence of Indian gems and jewellery, have found a new home at the C Krishniah Chetty Crystal Museum Salon —a private, by-appointment museum located in central Bengaluru.

Through the Royal Mysore paintings, Ahluwalia skillfully immortalizes the rich legacy of Indian jewellery on canvas, celebrating an unbroken heritage and emphasizing the enduring significance of these gems within the tapestry of Indian culture. C Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director and Gemologist, CKC Group of Jewellers, sheds light on the inspiration behind these remarkable paintings and the meticulous process involved.

What was the initial concept behind these paintings?
The museum serves as a repository of our historical past—pieces meticulously designed, crafted and sold over the last 150 years. Many of these pieces date back to the pre-independence era, reaching as far back as the mid-1800s. To add a touch of elegance to the museum's ambience, we conceived the idea of incorporating art on canvas with themed recreations, intricately linking to the abundant heritage of the brand.

What served as the muse for these paintings?
The inspiration for these commissions to Reena Ahluwalia came from images in our historical archives, showcasing products created for the Mysore Royalty, the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Travancore Royalty, and others. These images accurately reflected pieces crafted by us between 1869 and the 1950s. Reena, with her mastery in painting jewels and gemstones, her background as a gemologist and her deep understanding of my thought process over several decades, proved to be the ideal choice. Her attention to detail and ability to connect the dots seamlessly made it easy for me to achieve the desired results.

Why were these particular colours and gems chosen?
Reena's expertise drove the choice of colours. She possesses an innate understanding of colours and the desired mood for the museum. The images of the jewellery, however, were curated by us. The collaboration resulted in a mesmerizing blend of artistic vision and historical accuracy.

What medium and techniques were employed for these paintings?
We opted for authentic hand-painted oil on canvas, eschewing artificial intelligence or computer-generated work. Both paintings at the Crystal Museum, meticulously crafted by Reena, stand as authentic and original art pieces.

Tell us about the jewellery depicted in these paintings.
The jewellery depicted in these paintings represents pieces worn by royalty and individuals of refined taste and character. The clothing and surrounding details captured in the artworks invite contemplation, encouraging viewers to envision themselves adorned similarly. Anyone attired as portrayed on these canvases is sure to make a grand entrance, transcending cultural boundaries. The paintings strike a fine balance, creating a visual narrative like no other.

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