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Paintings > Mughal > A Princess with Friends and Attendants on Outing
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A Princess with Friends and Attendants on Outing

A Princess with Friends and Attendants on Outing

A Princess with Friends and Attendants on Outing

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Watercolor on Paper
Artist Navneet Parikh

11.7" X 15.5"
Item Code:
MI47
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$395.00
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Viewed 4565 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
Beauty, wherever it enshrines - a face or stone, is always a legend, it weaves a tale, pines in love, leads for an exemplary sacrifice, or not. With no fiction woven around, no verbal phrases or textual allusions sought, with nothing added or subtracted, the beauty of the princess portrayed here is a legend inspiring divine experience. This legend does not stretch beyond as chain of events but it eventless reels within like fragrance or light. In everything - her gait, tender look, facial demeanour, wears… manifests beauty. It is total grace and elegance and so tender that a minute's long gaze would cause it injury. With a swan added she could be Damayanti, a parrot could make her Padmavati, a pair of cubs and a child playing with them, Shakuntala, a sage around, Shakuntala's mother Menaka, a celestial ambience around, Urvashi... The painter had options but did not resort to any, as he perceived her beauty to be by itself the legend. Instead of, he wove around her a different texture - exceptionally beautiful maidens, her friends or attendants, framing with beauty beauty's apex. He made the gorgeous umbrella, carried over the princess, the painting's focal point. Not merely linearly, tonally too, it transfers to the central figure the eye that it arrests. Eye is bound to travel downwards for in ascending space nothing attracts it. Again, it is a wide stretched landscape behind, but somewhat unnaturally, the space around has been contained within an arched frame lest the eye faltered. He portrayed beauty for its own sake, sans meaning, identity or contextual dependence. People say, it is better that sublimity is left undefined. It is far better that beauty is left for eye to enjoy it within, and tongue is not allowed to come in between.

A contemporary work, the painting revives the late 19th century idiom of Indian art. In its style it corresponds to the 1880s-1890s art style practised at Travancore and some other centres of art in South. It was a transitional phase of Indian art from medieval to contemporary in almost all parts and all areas - theme, style, objective... It was no more the court painting, but kings, princes, princesses and others were yet its subject. Not patronage, mutuality defined the relationship between the sitter and the painter. Thus, the old had not fully gone but the new was heard knocking the door. In this painting, the arched frame sans palatial setting suggests that old lurks, though not with prior vigour. The landscape behind comprises almost the same elements as before - a wide stretched terrain, lake, mountains, buildings, trees and plants, sky, clouds … but now differently captured. Instead of a conventionalised nature here is a realistic desert-like terrain with scattered shrubs, rough non-flowering trees, grasses, boulders, uneven patches of land … and a lake and along with a lake-side castle, but neither the lake teems with lotuses and aquatic birds nor the castle seems to have inmates, as they did before. The hill on lake's other side and the fort on it are largely the part of the background in traditional painting. The bluish green sky with curling clouds and effects of light, as when sun sets or rises, are features widely different from the prior and reveal European influence. In drawing front or semi-tilted faces the paintings of this phase made a complete shift. Now the faces were round, not elongated, as faces in profile. Significantly, for portraying a beauty, a Nayika or whoever, the medieval painter resorted to its verbal depiction. The artist of this phase was completely free from textual clutches. Not verbal, pictorial image was his concern. The transition revealed as significantly in costume styles. Mughalia long flared jamas, angarakhas, disappeared but a paijama was yet comprised an under garment and in sari was sometimes seen the classical antariya.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.


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