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Paintings > Large > Krishna with Gopis in Lotus-pond
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Krishna with Gopis in Lotus-pond

Krishna with Gopis in Lotus-pond

Krishna with Gopis in Lotus-pond

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Water Color Painting On Cotton Fabric

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Krishna with Gopis in Lotus-pond

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The painting portrays Lord Krishna along his favourite Gopis in mid lotus pond. An imaginative expansion of Krishna-lila theme, born perhaps of the idea of Krishna’s association with lotus and the sea-like deep blue waters, both in his own contexts and as Vishnu’s incarnation, Krishna in lotus pond was a favourite theme of the late eighteenth century Kishangarh painters in Rajasthan. In visual tradition this theme was seen as representing an act that manifested beauty. A Vishnu’s incarnation but unlike Vishnu who is often seen as a mere presence, at least in his relation to waters where he reclines on the coils of the Great Serpent Shesha, Krishna represents act even when in waters, as subduing Kaliya in Yamuna’s waters or killing the Conch demon Shankha or Panchajana in the oceanic depths; he acts, not always against an evil but also by himself for his own delight, or Radha’s who is his own aspect, or for the delight of Gopis, the Radha’s multiplication.

A simple theme and rendered as much simply : a few figures, symmetrically painted lotus-creepers with identical forms of leaves, buds, flowers … and to accommodate them a large space : the pond’s waters but without any turmoil or rise-and-fall, the painting represents Krishna playing on his flute in the centre of a pond. Its transcendental melody seems to have drawn Gopis symbolised in the painting by four of them, two on either side. Charmed by the divine melody the pond’s waters have overcome all agitations and quieted. The pastel blue waters of the lake are covered in entirety with lotus creepers : leaves, buds and full blown flowers. Unlike the natural lotus plants that emerge from the water’s depths rising as high as the water level here in this rendition they appear to float on the surface or as mounting a wall.

Krishna has been represented as standing in his usual ‘tri-bhang’ posture on a lotus-seat : a large size lotus flower with an oval green cushion set in its centre affording brilliant contrast to the deep pink of the lotus and looking like the flower’s natural green seeds containing pistil. The seats of four Gopis, flanking Krishna on his right and left, have been identically shaped though in relation to Krishna’s their size is smaller. The figure of Lord Krishna with blue body colour and relatively short height, a widely flaring multi-coloured skirt, unfurling sash-ends, elaborate ornamentation, a tall crown designed like a peacock feather, and Vaijayanti of fresh Parijat flowers descending down the ankles’ height, pursues the model of Krishna’s image as enshrines the sanctum at Nathadwara temple in Rajasthan known as Shrinathaji. Strangely, the nimbus or halo around his face and those around the faces of Gopis are identical in shape and size.

The figure of Krishna is flanked by four Gopis, two on either side, all lavishly adorned in identical ornaments and typical Rajasthani costumes. All four figures have identical features, a sharp nose, small cute lips, elongated half-shut fish eyes, elegantly trimmed eye-brows, locks of hair curling down the lips and a well-defined neck and chin, tall figures with moderate build and identical body-postures. Two, immediately flanking the Krishna’s figure, are carrying lotuses in their hands, one on the left carrying them in both of them, red in the right, and blue, in the left, while the other on the right, only red in the left. The Gopis on extreme ends are carrying lotus-garlands. As suggests the movement of their feet, the raised right feet of those on the left, and left, of those on the right, all four Gopis are advancing towards Krishna for making offering.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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