Madurai Veeran and his two lovers Pommi and Vellaiyamma

Story of the painting and the complex restoration.

The Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

Tanjore school, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, South India. Late 19th – Early 20th century. Painting on glass, mineral colours, bronze leaves, metal foil.

Madurai Veeran and His Two Lovers Pommi and Vellaiyamma (Late 19th – Early 20th century) by Unknown artist, Tanjore schoolThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

This is a representation of the popular hero Madurai Veeran.

According to epic narratives he was under the employ of Tirumala Nayakkar (1623–1659), when he fell in love with the temple dancer Vellaiyammal.

He was caught trying to elope with her from the Madurai Meenakshi temple, and his limbs were amputated, only to be returned when the Nayakkar prays to the goddess, but Veeran eventually beheads himself.

Nayakkar then builds a temple for the hero, who is now considered to be the family deity of many backward and underprivileged castes in Tamil Nadu.

The iconography of Madurai Veeran is similar to those of the deity Khandoba, who is worshipped in Maharashtra and Karnataka. During the rule of the Tanjore Maratha some of the features of Khandoba merged with that of Madurai Veeran.

Madurai Veeran – the hero of Madurai, a warrior shown seated on a white horse with his consorts.

Below the horse, is a warrior, the same hero, killing a tiger while accompanied by a dog.

All of the figures in the upper section of the painting wear horizontal marks on their forehead, possibly ash, making them devotees of the god Shiva.

MaharajaThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

The painting required complex restoration.

The glass base of the painting was broken in fifteen pieces, the surface was covered with a layer of dust and dirt, a glass fragment near the upper edge was lost.

It had flakes, cracks and some high moving parts. The decorations made of metal foil strips, located on the central figure, and a few decorative elements had detached, several had disappeared.

Restoration of such a painting had not yet been conducted in Latvia, therefore an appropriate methodology was first developed in consultation with industry specialists.

Before commencing the work, the condition of the painting’s paint layers and the artist’s techniques were assessed.

Chemical analysis showed that bronze leaves, mineral paints and fruit resin varnish were used to attach paint to the glass.

Madurai Veeran and His Two Lovers Pommi and Vellaiyamma (Late 19th – Early 20th century) by Unknown artist, Tanjore schoolThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

The painting was carefully cleaned removing a layer of dirt, and the paint layer was tightened.

The broken pieces of glass were glued together and the missing pieces were replaced with a transparent, similarly thick piece of glass.

Credits: Story

Exhibition Curator: Kristīne Milere, LNMA / Art Museum RIGA BOURSE
Research:  Eka Archiving Services Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi ( 
Conservation: Nataļja Kurganova, LNMA Senior Master Conservator of Painting 
Inita Ēmane, Docent of the Glass Art Department of the Art Academy of Latvia, Artist
Indra Tuņa, Mg. sc. chem., chemical research
Photo: Aigars Altenbergs 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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