The situation that the painting seems to portray is perhaps love-related. As emerges the picture, she appears to be on an outing expedition where leaving her alone as also his sword in her hands her lover, the prince, has gone away with her friends, accompanying her on her expedition, a painful love-situation parallel to Radha’s, in the Gita-Govinda, by the great Sanskrit poet Jaideva, where leaving Radha alone desperately awaiting him in a moonlit night in the forest, despite all his vows and promises, Krishna disappears making love with other Gopis, the Radha’s own friends. The folios of medieval miniatures, illustrating the related verse of the Gita-Govinda, often portray a lone Radha with a lotus or a flower-garland in hands for welcoming Krishna who is away with other Gopis engulfing Radha in deep anguish and disappointment. Except for a widely different art-idiom of the modern art and, of course, the element of sword, in place of the Radha’s lotus or flower-garland, affording further breadth to the prince’s neglectful treatment of her, the two tales of love are largely identical. Maybe, Anup Gomay has taken inspiration for his theme from a Gita-Govinda folio.
A royal personage, perhaps a princess, the young lady is clad in glowing saffron with rust-like mixed tint brocaded in rich gold in characteristic Banarasi weave using butis covering the entire field of the lehenga and the wide borders designed differently for lehenga, odhini and blouse, in blouse the designs and dimensions, breadth etc., of the bordering bands being different for the sleeve-ends, neck-opening and bottom. The fields of odhini and blouse are plain. As if manufactured to size, with its mountain peak-like rising centre the brocading of the bottom part of blouse perfectly fits with the shape of the lady’s breasts. Symmetrically laid pleats and systematic placing of butis in lehenga and the style of odhini distributing the lehenga with its parallel gold-bands and with extra stretch projecting beyond the shoulder it is laid on affording amicable base for the face turned in the direction present delightful examples of artistic manipulation.
The most artistic and delicately designed belly-band, inlaid with rubies, emeralds and diamonds in gold, the same as are cast all other ornaments she is putting on, has been used to hold the odhini in place. The neck-ornament with a circular pendent, ear-rings and their other components, the style of hair-dressing and hair-ornaments, the forehead pendent conceived with a large piece of emerald, and the character of the sword, its gold hilt and beautifully embossed velvet sheath, all are reminiscent of medieval court-life, and the lady’s nobility origin. A tall delicately modeled figure with wheat-like golden skin, subdued belly, slender arms and fine long delicate fingers, the lady brims with youthful vigour and possesses voluptuous beauty. The figure of the lady, endowed with fascinating eyes and elegantly arching eye-brows, cute small lips, well-defined nose and cheeks, and a slightly angular chin and face, all rendered realistically in the idiom of modern art, is an exceptional example of timeless beauty. In conceiving his background the artist has used a wide range of folk motifs, perhaps to suggest that as the tradition, which best reveals in folk, is timeless, so is love, in union or separation : the theme of this painting.
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.