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Sculptures > Hindu > Venugopal with Radha
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Venugopal with Radha

Venugopal with Radha

Venugopal with Radha

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South Indian Temple Wood Carving

59.0" X 21.0" X 5.0"
29 Kg
Item Code:
EG68
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Venugopal with Radha

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Viewed 5813 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This statue, representing Venugopal with Radha, is a magnificent work of art. It does not excel in this or that feature but in its totality. The statue, carved out of a five feet long and about two feet thick single piece of vangai wood, one of the finest kind of timbers, from Kalakorchi region of Tamilnadu, renders the divine couple in ecstatic trance, though the artist does not forget to suggest that the one, while in passion, is ever beyond it, and the other, while so close to him, yearns for him and is, hence, passion incarnate. This mysticism of Indian thought, which perceives Radha as the self, striving to unite with the supreme self, whom Krishna represents in Vaishnava analogy, is so powerfully revealed in this wood-piece.

The artist has carved five parrots – the bird often symbolizing self in Indian tradition and adorning most of the auspicious graphics and symbolic formations, as part of the elegantly sculptured prabhavali, the fire-arch. Two of the five parrots have been carved on the upper side of Krishna's figure, while the other three on Radha's. The parrots on Krishna's side have the celestial fruit – a banana-bud like thing, not only within their reach but they rather feed on it. Their bliss is absolute. The parrots on Radha's side – gopis, the wandering ones, yearn passionately to reach such one but only wander into wilderness. The leaves, twigs, or even a flower that one of them, obviously Radha, is able to reach and touch, are bereft of fruition. The artist suggests that as of gopis' so of parrots', the passion has yet to sublimate before it is allowed to merge with the Supreme Self.

This analogy is revealed in other forms also – in ambience, which prabhavali comprises, and postures of the figures of Krishna and Radha. Krishna has his right foot set onto the earth but it has forward thrust. It does not tend towards Radha, the worldly self. His left foot is lifted, emitting its glow to all three cosmic regions. Radha's feet, whether the raised one or other, are directed towards Krishna. Krishna's face has celestial bhava, bearing. Radha has similar intensity of bhava, but it does not reveal Krishna-like detachment. The Prabhavali defines Krishna's ambience. On his side, nature –the principal component of the prabhavali, rises upwards, but it draws downwards when it reaches over Radha, as she is attached to the earth; Krishna is beyond attachment. Besides, the two-armed Krishna – with Vishnu-like towering crown, tilaka, garland of Parijata flowers and lotus, is more Vaishnavite. So is Radha. Besides gopis' usual pot, she holds in one of her hands a lotus, and has her right foot on another.

The statue is unique in its artistic quality. Features of the figures – sharp nose, emotionally charged large eyes, shapely cheeks terminating into a small but well defined chin, cute lips, and glowing faces; elegant jewellery – necklaces, garlands, girdles, ear-rings, anklets, bracelets and bangles; pleasant anatomy – tall slender figures with Krishna's three-curves and Radha's passionate bearing, Radha's elegantly modelled breasts, narrow waist, deep navel and heavy hips, and Krishna's easefulness; and the entire prabhavali – foliage, fruits, flowers, birds, and the lotus pedestal, its base; all are rendered with a jeweller's precision, minuteness and details. Krishna is playing on his flute – venu. The wood is not capable of revealing the rasa, delight of mind, that the flute emits but the bhava on Krishna's face communicates that its music has entranced the entire world. Radha carries a pot, which, as gopi, is her essence. It feeds flesh – passion, but only to elevate, which the lotus, which she carries in her other hand, symbolises. The artist has rendered Krishna as Venugopal replacing cows with Radha.

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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