Christian Art Museum, a major attraction

| 22 November 2004 23:30 IST

India's first museum of Christian art has become a centre of focus these days with the exposition of relics of St Francis Xavier undergoing at old Goa. This 43-day-long decennial exposition will have art lovers flocking at this museum situated in the viscinity of old Goa church complex.

Expecting huge crowd, the museum keepers have decided to keep it open for public viewing between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m between 21 November to 2 January, the days of decennial celebration.

``We expect 2 million visitors to visit the museum during these days,' states a handout released by museum, this evening.

The museum that enriches the cultural heritage and history of Goa was originally set up with technical and financial assistance of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon and Indian National Trust for art and culture heritage, New Delhi.

It was formerly located at the seminary of Rachol (South Goa) and is now housed in the annexe, convent of Santa monica, Old Goa in the viscnity of the world heritage sites.

The convent of Santa monica was built in the 17th century and is itself of considerable architectural and historic value. Once known as Real Convento de Santa Monica da Cidade de Goa on account of patronage from the royal house of Portugal, it was the second largest convent building in the erstwhile Portuguese empire. It took 21 years to construct this structure.

What makes this museum more special is involvement of Hindu artists for Christian art. The press hand out released here lists out the contribution of Hindu artists to this museum. It reads: when icons and small images of Christian saints became popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and newly converted Goans began to collect or carry these images, there were not enough artists in Portugal to meet a growing demand.

Hindus artists began to see this dearth in the supply as an opportunity for business and began producing these images for the market. These artists also enjoyed official patronage. Records show that in 16th century Hindu artists were selling images of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and other Christian saints from door to door in a demonstration of an ability to move away from their traditional backgrounds. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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