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The Veiled Beauty (Framed Oil Painting)

The Veiled Beauty (Framed Oil Painting)
Item Code: OT35
Oil on Canvas
Artist: Anup Gomay
29.5 inch X 37 inch without Frame
36 inch X 43.5 inch with Frame
The painting, a large size canvas rendered in oil, portraying a veiled lady – just her upper one-third figure, in years when age takes away the youth’s fidgetiness but adds sublimity and lustre to a woman’s beauty and bestows on her natural elegance and grace, reminds of the beauty of the veiled Rebecca, the Biblical figure of Christian mythology, known to have covered her face for marriage with the wedding robe but in it her lustrous beauty was not contained. Rebecca’s voluptuous beauty has been transformed into a marble statue and immortalized by a nineteenth century Italian sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni and into an early twentieth century fascinating novel in the same name by Daphne du Maurier. Of the four copies of the marble statue that Benzoni had sculpted one is in the Salarjung Museum, Hyderabad. Practically, there is little common in the two art-pieces except that in both the face enshrining celestial beauty is covered with a veil but neither is contained in it its fascinating beauty nor its innocence and purity; however, by some strange co-relation this contemporary canvas, despite its colourful appearances, brings to mind a tall translucent marble figure smeared, unlike it, in European culture, perhaps the key of the co-relation being in the beauty of the two figures.

Though conceived with extraordinary beauty coupled with the power to even enchant and seduce, with her rare elegance and grace, with which the figure is endowed, the lady commands respect or rather reverence. Gracefully costumed and selective in her ornaments, mostly consisting of emeralds with gold their base, she is obviously a lady with a high birth, one from a medieval family with royal connections or from the class of elite. The painting is a pure portrait on the realistic line of modern art style but unlike modern painters like Raja Ravi Varma and others it has not captured its figure in any of the emotional situations except that the artist Anup Gomay has sought a tender smile to float on her lips, a shadow of thoughtfulness to lurk on the face and a gentle effort of her hands to lift her veil to let her face reveal a little. The artist has wondrously revealed the class-identity of his subject, the character of her age and an absolutely different version of beauty.

Not merely for beauty or for adding ethnic flavor, the artist seems to have conceived the veil as an artistic challenge, as the Rebecca sculptor seems to have done before. In three dimensional medium of sculptor from under the film-like screening stone an idea of a face and its beauty could be formed but a flat surface blinded by a thick layer of paint is rarely so liberal as to let a form reveal from behind it. The challenge before Anup Gomay has thus greater magnanimity. He has sought to discover the ultimate beauty of his figure in a face of which almost three-fourth is concealed behind it, or discover it merely in the tip of the figure’s nose, in her lips and in the modeling of the chin : the only visible parts. The artist’s challenges are many. With a formless background rendered in deep maroon he seeks no support from it for defining a personality trait of the portrayed figure. With eyes of his figure concealed he has no outlet for her intrinsic being to reveal to the viewers, the most essential aspect of a portrait. In a partially conceived and portrayed anatomy the figure can not reveal the beauty of modeling. And, despite all challenges of his own creation the artist has succeeded in creating an outstanding portrait and a rare piece of art.

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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