"On the high nose shine four pearls
whenever the nose moves, my heart loses control"
These lines are from the book, ‘A Celebration of Love: The Romantic Heroine on Indian Arts’, from the chapter ‘Radha in Kishangarh Painting’- the author’s translation of Kishangarh’s ruler Savant Singh aka Nagaridas’ poem dedicated to the beauty of Radha. Comparing the stylized female icon of the Kishangarh school of art- Bani Thani (the bedecked lady), with the bhakti poetry of Kishangarh, it becomes clear that Vishnupriya (popularly known as Bani Thani), Savant Singh’s beloved and a poetess herself, was probably used as a model to bring Radha from the lyrical verses to the canvas by the artists of Kishangarh.
feature of the Bani Thani paintings is the elongated eyes. Apparently, amongst
the objects belonging to the lover of Bani Thani and a devotee of Sri Radha,
Savant Singh, was a sketchbook in which he had drawn stylistic drawings of
curved eyes. Thus it is believed, that the eyes were the prime feature, which was
mastered first in the making of the Bani Thani paintings, and the rest of the
elements such as the nose, hands, and fingers were created later, based on the proportional
requirement of the eyes.
Bani Thani painting is a masterful reproduction of the classic Kishangarh
style. Baggu Ji has used the strokes of his brush to create magic with colours. Using
different shades in the background, on the soft folds of the pallu (scarf) of
Bani Thani, and especially on the resplendent jewellery- he has succeeded in
bringing a rare, three-dimensional feel to the painting. Get this beauty home,
and immerse in the bewitching visual poetry of Bani Thani!
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