In areas of conservation, exhibitions, academic research, among others.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India have reaffirmed their long-term cooperative relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which renews for five additional years the two-way partnerships for sharing knowledge and expertise that have been established between the museum and cultural institutions in India.
The MOU was signed in June by Shefali Shah, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, India, and Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was announced last week by the Met and the Consulate of India in New York.
Through the agreement, the Ministry of Culture and the Met will continue to cooperate in the areas of conservation, exhibitions, academic research, information-sharing, public education, publications, museum management, and short- and long-term loans.
“This agreement is a wide-ranging reaffirmation of The Met’s close relationship with India and its rich cultural heritage,” said Campbell, in a statement. “The Indian Conservation Fellowship Program, in particular, has forged important professional relationships between colleagues internationally and has provided critical experience that can be built upon in the future. By generously continuing its support of this program, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has once again demonstrated its commitment to providing educational support for museum professionals around the world.”
The launch of the next phase of the Indian Conservation Fellowship Program marks the beginning of the new agreement. This major initiativeâ€”undertaken beginning in 2012 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL), with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundationâ€”awards up to seven fellowships a year to conservators currently working in art and cultural heritage museums and institutions in India. The current phase reinforces and expands upon the program’s goals and essential structure, according to a press release.
Two new partners are now joining the program: the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels; and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, The Smithsonian Museums of Asian Art, Washington, D.C.
The components of the program over the next five years are: 35 new fellowships; annual seminars and workshops in India; follow-up visits by host supervisors at fellows’ home institutions; visits by the directors of the participating Indian museums to the fellows’ host institutions; and meetings of the advisory committee to organize and plan seminars, workshops, and interviews.
Art from the Indian sub-continent has been collected by the Metropolitan Museum from 1891 through today, and the museum now boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Indian art in the West. The holdings of the Departments of Asian Art, Islamic Art, Arms and Armor, Musical Instruments, and Modern and Contemporary Art include sculpture, painting, textiles, and various other media that span from 2500 B.C. to modern times.
The holdings of the Department of Asian Art include early, classical, and medieval sculpture, Hindu court (Rajput and Pahari) painting, court and trade textiles, and various other media. The Indian collection consists of some 1,250 works of art, of which around 350 are on view in the nine Herbert and Florence Irving Galleries of South Asian Art, the most extensive such displays outside of India.
A series of pioneering exhibitions has been mounted by the Met, more recently including: Buddhist Manuscript Painting: The Palm-leaf Tradition (2008), Peaceful Conquerors: Jain Manuscript Painting (2009); Epic India: Scenes from the Ramayana (2010); Lyrical Visions. Paintings for North India (2011); Mother India: The Goddess in Indian Painting (2011); Wonder of the Age: Masters of Indian Painting (2011â€“12); Buddhism along the Silk Road: 5thâ€“8th century (2012); Interwoven Globe: The International Trade in Textiles, 1500â€“1800 (2013); Ragamala: Picturing Sound (2014); Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia (2014); The Royal Hunt: Courtly Pursuits in Indian Art (2015); and most recently Encountering Vishnu: The Lion Avatar in Indian Temple Drama (2016) and Poetry and Devotion in Indian Painting (2016).