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Exploring the art owned by Serum\’s Adar Poonawalla, demystifying a viral painting, and more


While we focus on Indian art, we can’t obviously function in a vacuum. It’s a small world and everything is connected, especially on the web. So, let’s train our spotlight across the world map to see what’s going on — from art trends to socio-political issues to everything that affects the great aesthetic global consciousness. Or, let’s just travel the world and have some fun!

The art of India’s leading vaccine maker


Serum Institute of India owner Adar Poonawalla has become the largest producer of Covid-19 jabs, and is now the seventh wealthiest in India, worth $13.5bn. Even before Covid struck, the company was producing 1.5 billion vaccines a year of various types. It was in 2013 that he bought Vincent Van Gogh’s Watermill at Opwetten (November 1884) at Sotheby’s. Early works from the artist’s Dutch period are often dark and do not fetch the huge prices of his exuberantly coloured paintings, which he later made in France. Reportedly, he also has art work by Renoir, Monet, Chagall, Picasso and Dalí. The Art Newspaper checks it out.

Who are the three women from Mysore in this viral painting?


While India struggles to meet its Covid-19 vaccine demand struggles due to a shortage of jabs, a 19th century portrait of three women from Mysore has been going viral as “one of the most important scientific pictures in the history of medicine in India”. Turns out, the oil on canvas was commissioned to promote participation in the smallpox vaccination programme, and is believed to have been painted in 1805 by Irish-born artist Thomas Hickey. It was of historic significance as it depicted one of the first vaccine drives in India, with bejewelled women from the Wadiyar dynasty posing. The Indian Express investigates.

Art police turn tide on tomb raiders at Pompeii


In Civita Giuliana, a suburb of ancient Pompeii, about 700 metres north-west of the main archaeological park, tomb raiders arrived at the Roman homes replete with treasures via a network underground tunnels starting from abandoned buildings in the countryside. For years, the tombaroli flourished, stealing artefacts and selling them on for huge sums of money to art traffickers around the world. But in 2012, they were caught in action by Italy’s art police, the carabinieri’s cultural protection unit. The relics were recently returned to Pompeii’s archaeological park. The Guardian explores.

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