Krishna with Satyabhama and Rukmani Offering Him Sweets

CA$893
Item Code: PT37
Specifications:
Tanjore Painting on BoardTraditional Colors with 24 Karat GoldArtist: Hemlata Kumawat
Dimensions 12 inch X 16 inch
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade

A brilliant painting from Tanjore or Thanjavura, one of the most celebrated seats of Indian art and highly visited temple sites in Karnataka, portrays Lord Krishna and two of his principal consorts Satyabhama and Rukmani offering him sweets. Portraying the likeness of Lord Krishna is one of the most popular themes of Tanjore paintings; however, they rarely illustrate his life’s early phase when as a cowherd boy he sported with Gopis,or  herded his cattle. Even Radha or any of the cowherd maidens, independent or along Krishna, has been rarely painted. Lifting Mount Govardhana or one or two similar acts revealing his divinity are the only themes from his life in Vrij that the Tanjore artists have painted. They painted him as child but not as engaged in eliminating demons or indulging in mischiefs like stealing butter, the theme of a huge body of literature and art.

Butter is an essential component of Krishna’s imagery but in Tanjore paintings butter with Krishna comprises a different class of his image widely known as ‘Navaneet’ Krishna; however, in Tanjore paintings he is not portrayed as stealing butter from the pots of cowherd maidens of Vrij but instead the princely Krishna is offered it in gems’ studded golden pots. This plumpish looking golden hued Navaneet Krishna, though without a costume covering his private parts, is always bejewelled and modelled like a prince with every kind of splendour around, and with none other than his two mothers, Devaki and Yashoda, attending upon him. When grown up, now a prince in absolute authority, he is attended upon by his consorts. ‘Krishna with Ashta-bharyas’ – Krishna with his eight consorts, is another popular theme of Tanjore and Mysore paintings. Hence, the two richly bejewelled female figures in the painting, though their exact identity has not been specified, could be none other than his most favourite consorts Satyabhama and Rukmani. Incidentally, the ornaments on the heads of the two damsels are the same as those of his consorts in ‘Ashta-bharyas’ paintings.  

This painting represents the grown up Krishna seated in a circular basket-type throne. The painting is a characteristic piece in Tanjore style though not uninfluenced by Mysore painting tradition at least in conceiving and designing such aspects as the floral central band of the Krishna’s sash laid around his neck, or the saris of the two consorts. The throne, raised over four legs modelled like human feet, consists of two parts, a blue velvet cushion and the throne’s frame made of gold and inlaid with rubies, emeralds, diamonds, sapphires ...  It has been installed in a gold pavilion with three openings, the central one being larger and consisting of shallow arches. It is this central opening that houses Krishna’s seat. With his right leg suspending downwards, and left, laid horizontally over the right, a sitting position classified in Indian art aesthetics as ‘lalitasana’, a posture endowed with rare beauty, Lord Krishna is seated in absolute ease and fully relaxed. This ease further reflects in the gesture of his left arm lying effortless over his left knee. As spontaneously he has lifted his right hand carrying a piece of sweet half-way to his mouth. The figure of Lord Krishna is stretched in his coach against a huge bolster with rare majesty and grace.   

All through the Tanjore art tradition, whether portraying him as child or grown up as in this painting, Krishna’s childhood image : the same plumpish anatomy, well fed cheeks, voluminous neck condensed between his face and torso, flabby figure, padded feet, inflated belly … gold-like lustrous and innocent, is the essential and ultimate image of Krishna. As against well-blown cheeks his flattish nose looks smaller than it actually is, and the eyes, more deeply socketed though quite fascinating and ensnaring. Besides the sash laid over his shoulders he is putting on yellow antariya with golden border and a green sash around the waist with broad gold stripes. His strangely designed peacock crown apart he is putting on resplendent jewellery on his neck, breast, arms, feet, ears and other parts of his figure. Neither too tall nor too short, the figures of Satyabhama and Rukmani are as much brilliantly adorned and costumed. Their head-ornaments consisting of four gold discs inlaid with precious stones – two smaller ones over the forehead, and two larger ones, behind, are the most characteristic articles of jewellery that the Tanjore artists have used for adorning the figures of Krishna’s consorts in various paintings portraying Krishna with his consorts.

 
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

Gilded Elegance: Unraveling the Artistry of Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore painting is a traditional form of art in the South Indian style and was started by the inhabitants of a small town known as Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu. This gives it another name called “Thanjavur painting”. This painting draws its figures, designs, and inspiration from the time when Vedic culture was prevalent in India. Certain remarkable features of a Tanjore painting distinguish it from other paintings. Some of these are pure gold or gold foil coating on gesso work, the use of rich and vivid colors, and the inlay of cut-glass or semi-precious and precious stones. The subjects of most of the Tanjore paintings are Hindu Gods, Goddesses, and saints. The main devotional figure is portrayed in the central portion of the painting and is usually surrounded by various secondary figures.

The process of making a Tanjore painting

The classic Tanjore paintings are done on wooden planks and hence are also referred to as Palagai Padam in South India (Palagai = Wooden plank, Padam = Picture). Creating a masterpiece is never an easy task but the skilled artists of Thanjavur have been following the tradition of making timeless Tanjore paintings for decades.
The making process begins with preparing the wooden board or canvas. The size of the board depends upon the choice of the patron. The next step is to paste cardboard over the wooden board and then a cotton fabric is stretched and pasted upon it using Arabic gum.
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Now that the cloth is attached to the wooden panel, a rough sketch of the motifs and figure is drawn onto the fabric. After this, a paste of chalk powder and water-soluble adhesive is evenly applied over the base and smoothed.
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Thereafter, the outlines which were made or traced using a stencil are now ready to be beautified and decked with various add-ons. The usual materials for decoration are cut-glass, pearls, semi-precious and precious gems, gold leaf, and laces. 22 or 18 Karat Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are especially inlaid in areas like pillars, arches, walls, thrones, and dresses. In the final step, the rest of the painting is filled with rich and striking colors such as shades of red, blue, and green. Formerly, the artists used natural colors like vegetable and mineral dyes instead of chemical paints. The entire painting is then cleaned and refined to give a flawless finished look.
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Since the making of a single piece of Tanjore painting requires a complex and elaborate process, the artists usually take at least one or two months to complete it. The use of pure gold foil and gems for beautification is a characteristic of an authentic Tanjore painting. Due to this, Tanjore paintings last for generations without getting tarnished and are much more expensive than general paintings. Though the art form has undergone various changes and technique modifications over the years, it continues to attract the hearts of art lovers.
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