The scriptural tradition contends Lakshmi’s rise from the ocean when gods and demons churned it for obtaining ambrosia. As here in this canvas she emerged riding an upright lotus symbolic of growth and prosperity. A legend contained in almost all important Puranas, the goddess : the light taking to a form, emerged from abyssal darkness, that is, in her existed both, the light and the darkness, which in the painting Gomay represents in her very being – her form representing the light, and her hair unfurling into all directions, the darkness – the light’s other face. Essentially auspicious the goddess has behind her a form of an elephant with a coiled hind part. Auspicious in tradition it is symbolic also of the elephant god Ganesha. The source of all energies, even dormant and concealed lying coiled within, the goddess has behind her in the form of the elephant’s hind part a ‘kundalini’ form – the graphic representation of coiled energies. When kindled this ‘kundalini’ endows the being with immeasurable energies.
A contemporary mind, Anup Gomay does not seek his image of the goddess as a maiden in her early youth with lustrous beauty and romantically poised figure. Whatever the symbolic elements added, he prefers for her a formal votive posture. He prefers painting her rather in her timeless sublime womanhood the youth and the beauty of which neither diminishes nor enhances with time, a divine form to ever remain the same, the same lustre, vigour and appearance. Unlike the early modern painters such as Raja Ravi Varma who painted mythical figures like Damayanti, Urvashi or even Lakshmi in contemporary frame – largely his own images of them : his own perspectives and environs, Anup Gomay resorted back to mythical tradition not only for discovering Lakshmi’s image-form but also her subordinate imagery. Except that Gomay has conceived the figure of the goddess with normal two arms, whereas in mythical tradition her votive form, especially her isolated sanctum images without Vishnu, are four-armed, and has added some new symbolic elements, his image of the goddess : iconography, modeling, ensemble and adornment, is much the same as she has in Vaishnava tradition.
The figure of the normal two-armed goddess, rare in lustre and unsurpassed in beauty, has been conceived with an oval roundish face, well fed cheeks, large lampblack-coloured eyes that inspire reverence, broad forehead affording due contrast to ornaments worn around, fine features, trimmed eyebrows, cute small lips, and well defined neck with a choker inlaid with precious stones covering its entire rise and a series of various artistically designed pendants suspending along lying on breast that a garland consisting of large flowers of gold frames. The artist has displayed great ingenuity in representing the background which, otherwise a flat perspective, obtains the effect of three dimensions merely by varying the levels of the colours’ depth that he has used, especially the tones of black, which added, the scarlet zones appear to be moving and with such moves the canvas seems to recede backwards creating dimensional effect. Gomay’s talent works best when he converses with his colours that appear to be talking to him and at the same time to the forms that they produce as also beyond such forms.
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. .
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend