Art and photography Museum Launches Free encyclopedia Covering 10,000 Years of Indian art History!


The Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) has launched an open-source digital encyclopedia of information related to the subcontinent’s rich artistic history, dating from 10,000 years ago to the present. The free digital platform also hosts thousands of articles on famous artists, movements, disciplines, techniques, and other topics like the Bengal School of modernist painters and the Bagh embroidery tradition of Punjab.

Scrolling through the portal is similar to page hopping on Wikipedia, though it is more organized, comprehensive, and reliable. The encyclopedia’s creators, a team of researchers for the MAP, claim that it’s the first such platform that tells the story of India’s art forms in one, easy-to-read place. Until now, the project’s founder, Nathan Gaskell, explained to the New York Times, that story was difficult to find inside the country. 

“Before this, people got their information on Indian art either from Western institutions or from the market or from very specialized academics who write books that most people cannot understand,” said Gaskell, who serves as director of the institution’s education arm, MAP Academy.


He and 19 other full-time MAP Academy writers and editors drafted each of the encyclopedia’s 2,000 odd entries over the last three years, and their work was later reviewed by a panel of scholars. The site’s content largely focuses on Indian art as of now, but Gaskell told Hyperallergic that he hopes it soon grows to encompass “broader histories of South Asia.” 

The museum was founded by the prominent industrialist and philanthropist Abhishek Poddar, whose own collection of more than 7,000 artworks formed the foundation of the institution’s collection. After pandemic-related delays, the museum is set to open to the public later this year. 


“I didn’t even realize that India didn’t have an encyclopedia for art. And it was quite shocking that being one of the oldest cultures in the world, nobody had thought of doing it,” Poddar told CNN. “Every kid knows about David, the Mona Lisa, and Botticelli, but there are Indian masterpieces that even 1 percent of India doesn’t know about.”

For Poddar, the encyclopedia, as well as other Academy-produced scholarly works like blog posts and instructional courses reflect MAP’s constitutional commitment to education. Their vision is to have a large influence on the region’s interest in art.

Reference: Artnet News

Featured Image Source: Pintrest


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