The National Art Gallery, one of six individual museums comprising the Chennai Government Museum, is one of the oldest art galleries in the country. The red sandstone Indo-Sarasenic building was designed by architect Henry Irwin and completed in 1906 as part of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The gallery was closed in 2002 when its deteriorating state threatened both visitor safety and the art, but after an extensive renovation in 2013, the gallery re-opened to the public.
The National Art Gallery is subdivided into four smaller galleries: the Tanjore Painting Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery, Indian Traditional Art Gallery and the Ravi Varma Painting Gallery. Besides paintings in various mediums, the gallery also showcases a small collection of sandalwood sculptures.
Be sure to leave extra time to visit the Bronze Gallery of the Chennai Government Museum, which houses one of the world’s best collections of South Indian bronze sculptures from the Chola period.