Friends in Vacations

Friends in Vacations

$521.25  $695   (25% off)
Item Code: OT29
Oil on Canvas
66 inches X 47 inches
An excellent painting – oil on canvas, by Anup Gomay, portraying such beauty as leaves the eye spell-bound, represents three adolescent girls with ripening youth, bathing in a pond in a medieval house. All three girls are in their early youth and of the same age-group, say around twenty years or so, all from the society’s upper strata and close friends, for certain the boarding house inmates assembled at the house of one of them, perhaps one on the extreme left, for enjoying vacations, obviously the summer. They are in their most private moments enjoying a bath in a private ‘hamam’ – bathing chamber with a pond constructed along, an essential feature of medieval palace architecture. The pond’s waters, usually scent-added, have scattered over them fresh rose-petals for adding further fragrance and beauty. Except what covered their breasts and lower halves, as is required for enjoying a bath, they have unclad themselves. All three girls are sitting on steps of the pond with their bodies’ lower parts submerged in waters.

The painting significantly illustrates one of the aspects of the life of the medieval elite – nobility, rich businessmen, top bureaucracy …, that in late medieval period pursuing the life-pattern of their European masters had begun sending girls on par with boys to boarding houses in big towns, hill-stations and other remoter areas. Some of such boarding houses and the colleges they were attached to had become status symbol, and sending a girl to them, a fashion. It also greatly helped in finding for them grooms from high nobility or those with acclaimed status in society. It had become almost a routine in life of late medieval feudatory that a boarding house inmate, sometimes for friendly ties and sometimes for showcasing one’s status, invited her friends, two-three or more, for spending vacations with her at her state or house and this mutual exchange of friendliness had become a mode of life of the medieval elite widely represented in those days paintings. This painting re-discovers the theme in contemporary contexts, or uses, perhaps, the old theme as the subtlest vehicle for expressing its idea of beauty which astonishes the senses but without being sensuous.

All equally beautiful, perfectly modeled with a body-colour that molten gold alone would yield, roundish faces, well defined features and large charming eyes, though each one’s revealing a different tale, all three girls are friends with alike background and status, though the one on the left is the other two’s darling they enjoy teasing. She appears to be the host of other two and in any case the main figure of the painting manifesting its central theme : adolescent love, of which she seems to be in the initial stage. As is obvious, her indecisive mind is in a state of tug-of-war unable to decide what she should do. It displeases her that her friend in the middle, instead of guiding her as to what she should do, in an effort to amuse her makes her fun. The other friend on the extreme right takes her displeasure a bit seriously and feigns concern. Anup Gomay, a contemporary artist with rare talent for portraying beauty marks the continuity of the great tradition of the modern art style which reached its zenith in the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. He has rendered his figures realistically using a deep maroon background with no form to divert eye from the main theme. The painting is a brilliant idiom of beauty endowed with rare simplicity, naïve freshness and great elegance.

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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