“Lama, Patron, Artist: The Great Situ Panchen,” on view March 13 through July 18 at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, offers a fresh approach to Tibetan painting by bringing to the foreground the remarkable life story of the great artist-scholar Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne 1700-1774. Paintings, sculptures and illuminated manuscript pages from the 12th to the 19th centuries represent Situ’s life and greatest artistic achievements. Originally organized by the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, the exhibition is based on new research conducted by David Jackson, a leading scholar of Tibetan culture and history. Jackson and his co-organizer, Rubin curator Karl Debreczeny, chose an innovative path for this first Western exhibition on Situ, approaching the paintings as historical documents and delving deeply into his diaries, journals and other primary sources. The portrait that emerges reveals a brilliant polymath who changed the course of Tibetan painting and made significant contributions to the literary arts, medicine and diplomacy of 18th-century Tibet.