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Asia Week New York 2015:
Kapoor Galleries

Radha vents her frustrations
India, Kangra
Ascribed to a master of the first generation after Nainsukh
Opaque watercolors on paper
7 x 10.6 inches (17 ½ x 27 cm)

The eye is first moved to a landscape showing the forest in spring time. Radha is garbed in a semitransparent skirt comprised of mute colors, brief bodice and bare midriff while sitting beside a bank of the Yamuna surrounded by a grove of trees, gazing over her shoulder to the right as her confidante in a violet skirt and orange wrap draws her attention to the topic of Krishna. Radhas dress is elegant albeit simple, the upper portion a choli and a ghaghra skirt around her waist cascading into gentle folds. A transparent orhani is draped around her body. Paramount attention to detail can be seen in the diaphanous materials depicted on her outfit as well has her intricate jewelry, copious but not gaudy she is adorned with gold, emeralds, and pearls, as well as a nose ring. The ground is lush, boasting multiple shades of greenery. The vakula and tamala trees stand proud and lush, their leaves dark and odorous. The setting is established with meticulous care, great love is placed into every brushstroke. The small rises of the terrain, undulating ground all give a feeling of vast space and openness, but in such a way that attention is not drawn to wander from the foreground in which Radha and her companion are engaged in discussion. Both the face of Radha and her attendant can be surmised to have been derived from a particular type, the shading of Radha done distinctly more elegantly, demonstrating an intentional status remark. Her face is of “porcelain delicacy”, rounded but in such a matter as to not be “fleshy”. Her features are pronounced and sharp, her lips small (an attractive quality of the time), eyebrows gently arched, eyes gazing soft yet discerningly. “Radhas body is young and lissome; the limbs tender, the breasts full, hands and feet delicate.”(Pahari masters pg 315). Her stance is relaxed and natural, directly mirroring her countenance and echoing her state of mind.

[So profoundly kinetic and lucid is the language and imagery of Jayadevas Gita Govinda that it has become intertwined in the very fabric of India’s culture. Literally translating to “song of the dark lord”, amorous couples new and old alike have their relationships viewed through the lens of Radha and Krishna. Romanticism and nature are intertwined in a manner that is uniquely Indian, the forest itself both literally replicating the actions of the two lovers at times and always reflecting the emotional state of the moment. The appeal of the Gita Govinda has significance on multiple levels; although superficially portraying the ageless story of the arduous love between man and woman, it is also an allegory for the love of god. Radha represents the “ideal woman”, she is gorgeous, independent yet searching for a patriarch, and pure. Krishna, a typical young male, initially overlooks the noble qualities of Radha, Krishna spends languid time fondling and teasing doting gopis (cowherd-girls). This adultery is to be interpreted as Krishna indulging in the delights of the illusionary world.