THE LOVES OF KRISHNA IN INDIAN PAINTING & POETRY

THE LOVES OF KRISHNA IN INDIAN PAINTING & POETRY

by W. G. Archer

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Overview

THE LOVES OF KRISHNA IN INDIAN PAINTING & POETRY by W. G. Archer

CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I INTRODUCTION

II THE MAHABHARATA: KRISHNA THE HERO

III THE BHAGAVATA PURANA: THE COWHERD
i Birth and Early Adventures
ii The Loves of the Cowgirls
iii The Death of the Tyrant

IV THE BHAGAVATA PURANA: THE PRINCE
i The Return to Court
ii Marriages and Offspring
iii Last Phases
iv The _Purana_ Re-considered


V THE KRISHNA OF POETRY
i The Triumph of Radha
ii The _Gita Govinda_
iii Later Poetry
iv The _Rasika Priya_


VI THE KRISHNA OF PAINTING

NOTES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

PLATES AND COMMENTARY

SOURCES




I


INTRODUCTION

During the twentieth century, a certain type of Indian painting began to
fascinate the West. Unlike Mughal art, it was a product of Hindu courts in
Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills and unlike Mughal painting, its chief
concern was with the varied phases of romance. Ladies would be shown
brooding in their chambers as storm clouds mounted in the sky. A girl
might be portrayed desperately fondling a plantain tree, gripping a pet
falcon, the symbol of her lover, or hurrying through the rainy darkness
intent only on reaching a longed-for tryst. A prince would appear lying on
a terrace, his outstretched arms striving vainly to detain a calm beauty
or welcoming with delight a bashful girl as she slowly advanced. In all
these pictures, romantic love was treated as the highest good and physical
passion was interpreted with a freshness and innocence unequalled in the
world's art.

Such paintings were, at first sight, easy to appreciate. Although they
alternated between two methods of expression--the first a style of savage
distortion, the second a style of the softest grace--each manner enlivened
the common subject.[1] Yet in two respects elucidation was vitally
necessary. Just as in Japan, the lover might express his longings by
cryptic references to Nature, the Indian artist employed poetic symbols to
charge his subjects with romantic ardour. Flowers were never merely
flowers nor clouds clouds. The symbols of Indian poetry--the lotus swaying
in a stream, the flowering creeper embracing a trunk--were intended to
suggest passion-haunted ladies. The mingling of clouds, rain and lightning
symbolized the embraces of lovers, and commonplace objects such as dishes,
vases, ewers and lamps were brought into subtle conjunction to hint at
'the right true end of love.' What, in fact, might seem at first sight to
be a simple portrait, proved on closer understanding to be a study in
despair, a revelation of delight or a clue to rapture, each image with its
sexual implications contriving to express some nuance of longing. In these
pictures, only a part of the meaning was apparent and without a
comprehension of the poetry, much of its true significance was lost.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015723304
Publisher: SAP
Publication date: 12/12/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 153 KB

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