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Four Centuries of Paintings and Manuscripts from the Indian Subcontinent

CAT. NO. 62

Radha longs for Krishna Rajput (Jaipur), c.1800

Folio from a series of the Gita Govinda (see cat. no. 60) | Painting in opaque watercolour including gold and silver metallic paints and gold leaf on paper; set into painted margins on paper | 33.7 × 43.5 cm (folio); 27.2 × 37.0 cm (image) | RCIN 1005114.t

Written in the yellow band above the image are the lyrics of the introduction to the third song of the Gita Govinda

When spring came, tender-limbed Radha wandered like a flowering creeper in the forest wilderness, seeking Krishna in his many haunts.
The god of love increased her ordeal, tormenting her with fevered thoughts, and her friend sang to heighten the mood.[201]

After their first night together, Krishna abandoned Radha to play games with other women. Here, in a Mughal-style garden pavilion, Krishna celebrates the spring festival of Holi (see cat. no. 47), squirting coloured water at the gopis, while Radha longs for him in a distant forest grove.

Paintings from Rajasthan are characterised by their bright palette, particularly strong reds and Indian yellow. The division of space into two or more planes is used to represent different times and places within a single painting.[202]

  • [201] Ibid., p. 74.

    [202] For Rajput painting see Aitken 2009 and Ahluwalia 2008. 

  • From an album presented to Edward VII when Prince of Wales by Mangaldas Nathubhai in Bombay, 1875