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12. Leaf from the Gita Govinda: Radha vents her frustrations
India, Kangra, 1775-1780
By a Master of the first generation after Nainsukh
Gouache heightened with gold on paper
7 x 10 5/8 in. (17 x 27 cm)
Leaf from the Gita Govinda: Radha vents her frustrations

Provenance: Francoise & Claude Bourelier, Paris

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. Radha’s 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. “Radha’s body is young and lissome; the limbs tender, the breasts full, hands and feet delicate.” (Goswamy & Fischer, pg. 315). Her stance is relaxed and natural, directly mirroring her countenance and echoing her state of mind.

Reference: Goswamy, B.N. and Fischer, Eberhard Pahari Masters, Niyogi Books, 2009


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