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Academy of Fine Arts

Location: 2 Cathedral Road, Near Victoria Memorial.

Time to Visit: 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.

Preferred Timings: 10 A.M.-12 P.M. & 3 P.M.- 4 P.M.

Admission Fee: Nil

How to Reach: Local buses, minibuses and metered taxis are readily available from various parts of the city. One can also avail the underground Metro.

Photography / Video charges: Strictly prohibited.

Nearest Railway Station: Howrah.

Nearest Metro Station: Maidan.

Nearest Functional Metro Station: Maidan.

Nearest International Airport: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.

Time required for sightseeing: About 2 hours.

Kolkata and the people of Bengal are known the world over for their artistic bent of mind. No wonder, the Kolkata art scene is always buzzing with activity with art exhibitions and symposia.

Any talk on the contemporary Kolkata art scene conjures up images of The Academy of Fine Arts which is one of India's finest art museum. In fact, it is much more than a museum. Not only does it house rare paintings and manuscripts, it is also among the few art centers in India which has a Textile museum with an exquisite range of textile items ranging from Dakhai, Jamdani, Patola, Benarasi silk etc. Have you ever heard of a carpet museum? Probably not. But, The Academy of Fine Arts is an aberration and there is an exclusive carpet museum, which showcases a stupendous array of Persian carpets.

That's not all. There is more to it than meets the eye. For instance, the academy has a state-of-the-art auditorium with an ultra modern acoustic system where theatre, dance and dramas are held throughout the year. Ideally, you should coincide your visit to the academy on an eventful day when there is theatre or drama being hosted at the auditorium. Not only is the experience very stimulating, it is also one of the best ways of getting to know the artistic Bengali psyche.

In pursuit of excellence in art, this esteemed academy has gradually evolved as an institution, which not only provides a platform for artists, but over the years it has also successfully played the role of a catalyst to perfection. For instance to make fine arts popular among today's generation, the academy has an exclusive Studio & Sketching club and regular classes on painting and sculptures are held at the academy premises.

The Gallery of Contemporary Art is the centerpiece of the academy. Here you will come across the works of legendary Indian painters who have left their indelible impressions in the fascinating world of art. For instance, the girl with a pitcher by Rabindra Nath Tagore, Sat Bhai Champa by Gaganendra Nath Tagore, A winter's evening by Abanindra Nath Tagore, a Sherpa Sangrilla by Gyalzen etc. are all masterpieces.

Walking through the aisles of the various galleries is like taking a 5000-year-old historical trip down the memory lane.

Bengal has traditionally been the melting pot of art and culture for centuries together and Bengal's brand ambassador in the field of art and culture is the one and only - Rabindra Nath Tagore. An exclusive gallery aptly named "Rabindra Gallery" showcases Tagore nostalgia items like paintings, published and unpublished works and a few personal belongings of this great son of Bengal.

The Academy of Fine Arts has indeed come a long way from its humble beginnings when during the decade of thirties and early forties it functioned from a nondescript room rented out by the Indian Museum. It needed the visionary zeal of one Lady Ranu Mukherjee to give concrete shape to a grand museum befitting the city of Kolkata. The present edifice was built in the year 1959-60 and since then the Academy has witnessed several changes being made to its original structure in order to accommodate its ever-growing needs.

The Academy on the one hand is not only upholding India's rich artistic past but at the same time is ushering in a bold new era of contemporary artistic excellence. This is amply reflected in the wide range of activities that the academy conducts by way of regular art exhibitions, symposia, theatre, drama and dance, all geared towards bringing art closer to the door of the common man.

Special Event / Annual Event

Art exhibitions and symposiums are a regular feature at the Academy of Fine Arts. Kindly check beforehand with the Academy helpdesk.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Maidan, Victoria Memorial, Birla Planeterium.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/13

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