In the valley, close to a brook,
There she resides, her name is peace,
Laden with flowers, fragrance sweet,
Youthful and beauteous
Vale like she looks,
Beside her a lyre,
Above her a willow,
A melancholic tune
Hums the meadow,
The moon in the sky,
A tiny bird roams farther high,
The mind in peace
Has divinity nigh.
A thing of beauty, as Keats said,
Is the source of pleasure
And peace divine.
Art is beauty, divine and sublime,
Ocean-like deep and sky-like wide.
A large size painting, oil on canvas – measuring 4ft by 6ft, by the known contemporary artist Anup Gomay, it portrays like William Wordsworth’s Lucy, the child of nature, a lone youthful maid – the nature’s spirit manifest, reclining against a mound. A melancholic face with miserable heart the maiden is all beauty, all fragrance, all vigour, all quiescence, and like divine peace she reigns the solitude. Her image is large but on a canvas with far larger size she looks like a small segment of the composition. The moon above and rivulet with silvery waters beside, willow with waving branches and oak cresting peacock-feather like, behind, and ferns, crotons, hedges and beautiful flowering plants around the nature is the painting’s theme, she, the nature’s theme.
Though a bright night with full moon, it is by her radiance, the glow of her face that the rivulet’s waters, lilies and flowers of various kinds and even the clouds laden sky, brighten. A while ago the valley, its solitude, darkness and everything, echoed with the melody that her lyre produced. Now it is lying aside; a deserted and broken heart, wretched and miserable, with all hopes lost, she finds no solace in it. With her right arm lodged over a mound, and left, resting on flowering grass close to the right, she is reclining over a mound. Emptiness descends into her eyes and with her vacant eyes she seems to be exploring a ray in darkness. She knows not where she is looking – far or close, around or away. She has behind her the roses crimson red but so sad is the maid that they turn white when she looks at them.
Anup Gomay is a portraitist of great distinction. He portrays a figure but more often not so much the figure’s anatomy as the figure’s mind, mood and the overall intrinsic being. Thus a modernist, Anup Gomay is not an abstractionist but still believes in exploring the hidden aspects of his subject. His talent is best displayed when he is portraying a female, poised in some emotional situation, delightful or melancholic born of dejection. Sad solitary females, like the one here, is his more favourite theme. Though deeply influenced by Raja Ravi Verma, the founder of the school of modern art in India, unlike him his portraits do not cover the canvas space in entirety. He devotes a large part of it in portraying the ambience in which adequately reflects the painted figure’s mind and mood.
As reveals the figure’s iconography – style of eyes, hair’s colour, angularity of face …, body’s structure – tall height, ensemble to include furs and casually worn other garments besides their shades, colours and class, and the type of lyre, the portrayed figure is hardly Indian. Exceptionally charming she greatly matches the nature around – the willow’s contours, flowers’ freshness, bliss in her beauty and overall composition of which she is a perfect component. The moon, though full and artistically painted looks weak when compared to her. A powerful painting it naturally inspires creativity, and the verse above is its example.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet.