Kerala Government to set up enquiry into missing paintings by Raja Ravi Varma

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 19(ANI): The Kerala Government will set up a departmental enquiry to probe the reported disappearance of original paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, one of the most renowned classical artists of India.

The enquiry will be set up after the Kerala High Court sought the government's view on a petition seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI).

"This is a very serious matter. The government will be instituting a departmental enquiry to ascertain as to what happened to the paintings of the renowned painter Raja Ravi Varma," said M.A. Baby, Kerala Education and Culture Minister.

Archana Narayanan, an advocate and the great-grand niece of Varma, alleged that as per records of Kilimanoor Palace (the birth place of Varma) over 75 paintings had been handed over to the government. However, only 55 had been exhibited at the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, based in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, and managed by the Directorate of Museum and Zoo.

Narayanan alleged that some private galleries had openly auctioned the paintings abroad without prior permission from the Archaeological Survey of India.

Most of Varma's paintings are based on Hindu epics and stories. He became a world famous Indian painter after winning the Vienna Art Exhibition in 1873.

"It is very sad to know that (Varma's paintings are missing). His paintings are so beautiful. His paintings should be kept for everyone. Therefore, the action should be taken against the ulprits," said Dr. Radha, a professor with Annamalai University, Chennai. (ANI)

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