THE GOLDEN AGE

TAN­JORE PAINT­INGS

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Get­ting a self-styled por­trait is high in the nar­cis­sis­tic peck­ing or­der and 85-year-old Viswanath Iyer is do­ing a fine job of com­bin­ing tra­di­tion with in­di­vid­ual tastes.“I find paint­ing an ab­sorb­ing and at­trac­tive in­dul­gence, es­pe­cially the Tan­jore style, since it’s a tra­di­tional art that’s not get­ting its due pa­tron­age,” ex­plains Iyer. Iyer doesn’t hold ex­hi­bi­tions or pro­duce the art com­mer­cially.“I only make com­mis­sioned paint­ings,” he says. First, a client sends him a pho­to­graph that they want to con­vert into a Tan­jore paint­ing. He then cre­ates a board on which he makes a sketch, adding, for men, a tur­ban or a closec­ol­lared jacket, and for women, a sari, jew­ellery, or head­gear in case the pho­to­graph has them wear­ing a dress. Once this is ap­proved by the client, Iyer adds gold in­lay and semi­precious stones to com­plete the paint­ing in about three weeks. The price varies ac­cord­ing to size and elab­o­rate­ness of the de­sign. How’s that for in­dul­gence? USP Spe­cially com­mis­sioned portraits in tra­di­tional Tan­jore art form. The paint­ings are not pro­duced com­mer­cially. Price Rs 35,000 (for 24” x 30”)

SU­MANTH KU­MAR

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