8706

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    Indian Painting of Krishna as Srinnathji with Two Gosaijis (Priests)

    Kota, Rajasthan, India
    circa 1860

    width: 21.1cm, length: 23.5cm

    Sold

    Provenance

    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This painting of the Srinathji manifestation of Krishna shows Srinathji wearing a saffron-coloured dhoti and anga-vastram that is visible against the cream background, within beautifully painted temple walls that are decorated with gilded cows against a green background. Srinathji’s chest is bare other than for jewellery and a lotus garland. Accordingly, the festival scene being depicted must be occurring in Summer – Srinathji is dressed appropriately. He wears ample jewels in the manner of a prince and stands in the posture of holding the Govardhan Mountain on his finger.

    The Gosaijis (priests that belong to the Pushtimarg sect) wear yellow dhotis. Possibly, they represent Vitthalnathji and Purushottamji, descendants of Vallabhachatya, the founder of the Pushtimarg sect. Each has the suggestion of a U-shaped tilaka mark on the forehead to identify him as a Viashnava. Each wears pearls and other jewellery. (Senior priests in Nathadwara often were given large land grants which made them wealthy as individuals.)

    The priest on the left holds an arti lamp and is making a fire offering to Shrinathji. The priest on the right holds a morchal to fan the deity.

    The commissioning of such a painting can be considered an offering to God as an act of loving service (seva).

    This painting  can be ascribed to the Kota School – the figures are stout with oblong noses and bulging eyes, and there is use of bright tone of colour. It belongs to a type of painting inspired by the tradition of pichhwai painting whereby large cotton canvases were painted with scenes to adorn temple walls. Pichhwais were most particularly used in Krishna temples allied to the Pushtimarg sect, mostly in Rajasthan. Most pichhwais were made in Nathadwara, a Rajasthani temple town just north of the important Rajput city of Udaipur.

    The painting here is in excellent condition. There is an old water stain to the the plain field of the top right corner of the page but this does not extend to the actual painting itself. The painting is not currently framed.

    References

    Cummins, J. (ed.), Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior, First Center for the Visual Arts/Mapin Publishing, 2011.

    Ghose, M. (ed.), Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings, Art Institute of Chicago, 2015.

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