Painting from the "Mewar Gita Govinda" page 197 of 272 - ROM2016_15342_2


Painting from the "Mewar Gita Govinda" page 197 of 272

Medium:Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Geography: Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Date: ca. 1741
Object number: 971.281.4
Not on view

This painting is from a widely dispersed manuscript called the "Mewar Gita Govinda,” completed in 1714 in honour of Mewar kind Sangram Singh II, under the supervision of Rupaji Bhatt. It recounts the relationship between Hindu god Krishna and gopis (female cow herders) and one special gopi, Radha. In these paintings, Krishna is depicted with blue skin and wearing a crown with a peacock feather. He is shown multiple times in keeping with conventions of Indian painting reflecting multiple scenes of one story within a single frame. In these works, the scene takes place admist lush trees, vines, and garlands, where a female messenger goes from Radha to Krishna to deliver news of Radha's thoughts of her beloved. Krishna’s love of Radha is meant to be a metaphor for the human soul’s allegiance to the divine.

Krishna is often depicted as an infant, as a young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita, or as the divine lover as in the Gita Govinda.

The Gita Govinda is a Sanskrit work composed by the 12th-century poet, Jayadeva, who was born in Kenduli Sasan near Puri in Orissa. It describes the relationship between Krishna and the gopis (female cow herders) of Vrindavana, and in particular one gopi named Radha. This work has been of great importance in the development of the bhakti traditions of Hinduism. The Gita Govinda is organized into twelve chapters. Each chapter is further sub-divided into twenty four divisions called Prabandhas. The prabandhas contain couplets grouped into eights, called Ashtapadis. The various traditions dedicated to different manifestations of Krishna, such as Vasudeva, Bala Krishna and Gopala, existed as early as 4th century BC. The Krishna-bhakti Movement spread to southern India by the 9th century AD, while in northern India Krishnaism schools were well established by 11th century AD. From the 10th century AD, with the growing Bhakti movement, Krishna became a favorite subject in performing arts and regional traditions of devotion developed for forms of Krishna such as Jagannatha in Orissa, Vithoba in Maharashtra and Shrinathji in Rajasthan. Since 1966, the Krishna-bhakti movement has spread in the West, with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

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