Mirabai and Krishna

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Such was the depth of Mirabai's devotion that it commanded the living presence of Lord Krishna. She was a mystic of the highest order and belonged to the bhakti cult of North India. Her composure of countenance betrays the loverlike nature of her reverence, which is one of the many schools of bhakti. For the resplendence of the oils and the spiritual ethos of the theme alone would this painting be a valuable, unusual addition to your space.
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Item Code: OT98
Artist: Anup Gomay
Specifications:
Oil Painting on CanvasArtist: Anup Gomay
Dimensions 36 inch x 48 inch
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade

The Princess Mirabai was the most devoted of Lord Krishna's bhakts. When she was but a child, princess of Kudki, a wandering ascetic had gifted her a doll of Lord Krishna that she grew increasingly fond of. Her mother, who passed away before it was time to get Mira married, encouraged her daughter's devotional tendencies. When the sweet and innocent Mira witnessed a wedding procession and asked her mother who her husband would be, she was good-humouredly told that Lord Krishna is her husband already. Not once did the princess swerve in her wife-like devotion to Him, despite the trials she faced once she got married in the earthly sense of the term. This abstract oil painting, finished in the gentlest pastels, captures her in the zenith of her ritual devotion.

Mirabai's marriage to Prince Bhoj Raj of Chittor had societally elevated her. The princess is clearly depicted at a point in her marital life, her brocaded trosseau in bridal colours and ample, chunky jewellery completing her solah shringar. Yet, her composure of countenance is distinctly childlike and the jewels - especially the thick necklace and the elaborate maangtika - seem to be sitting heavy on her tender skin. It was widely known that her husband and mother-in-law did not take too well to her reverence of Lord Krishna, insisting in vain that she worship their kuldevi instead. However, her faith proved invincible. Just as in this painting, she would retreat into her quarters to perform her ritual worship through music and dance.

The heavy bridal bangles do not weigh down her wrists as she strums the ektara and draws music from wooden cymbals the shape of infinity. She sits before her murti with her torso inclined towards Him, unable to meet His eyes out of bashfulness that becomes a wife. The steps of her resplendent, cushioned altar are strewn generously with flowers she had probably handpicked herself. She has offered to Him a plateful of juicy Indian fruits and strewn Him a garland. A studded kalash stands next to the plate, containing a consecrated fluid such as milk or water, and a small woven pooja basket overflowing with more fresh flowers. Two lamps flank her Lord's altar, and an additional goblet of dias has been placed at His feet. A small bell, embedded with the same pink and green jewels as the rest of her ritual implements, and a pristine conch constitute the rest of her devotional aids. The artist has conveyed the message that Mirabai's devotion to Him is infinite, rendering her one of the finest mystics of the North Indian bhakti cult.

The idol she uses to project her Lord is lavishly dressed and garlanded. The reds and greens of His outfit set off to perfection the freshly garlanded flowers she has placed over and above His miniscule gold ornaments. A lovely red turban clothes His head, set with elaborate gold plumes embossed with jewels matching the colour of His attire. Note how fluid His dark curls, and lifelike the eyes of a murti within a painting! The image of the Lord that the artist has suffused in the background stands for Miraba's keen perception of His essence. The iconography is replete with flawless skin and dense curls giving off a youthful vigour, a slender bejewelled flute, and an intricate ornamental headpiece topped off with the regal feathers of a peacock. His living presence is depicted against the typically Rajasthani backdrop of Mirabai's sasuraal (marital home), the palace of Chittor with its awe-inspiring jharoka, typically tiled floors, and plush chandelier dangling from high ceilings.

Oil painting technique – India centric

Oil painting is the most interesting technique in art. Unlike other paintings or art forms, oil painting is a process in which colored pigments are painted on the canvas with a drying oil medium as a binder. This medium helps colors blend beautifully to create layers and also makes them appear rich and dense. Several varieties of oil are used in this painting such as sunflower oil, linseed oil, etc., and depending on the quality of the oil, a particular consistency of the paint is developed. With the use of an oil medium, the painting gets a natural sheen on the surface which appears extremely attractive. India is famous for its old tradition of making oil paintings. This art form was brought by Europeans in the 18th century and is now practiced by almost all well-known artists. Nirmal, a small tribal town in the state of Telangana is the center of traditional oil paintings in India where the local people practice it with dedication. Most Indian artists still use the traditional technique of oil painting.

Canvas of the required size is prepared

The artists use either a wood panel or canvas made from linen or cotton. Sometimes the canvas is stretched onto the wooden frame to form a solid base, or cardboard may be used. The canvas is coated with a layer of white paint or chalk mixed with animal glue. This mixture is then smoothed and dried to form a uniform, textured surface. The wooden panel is more expensive and heavier but its solidity is an advantage in making detailed paintings with ease.
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Sketch is drawn on the canvas

Now the artist starts to draw the subject of the painting on the canvas using the actual charcoal or a charcoal pencil. Sometimes, he may sketch with thinned paint as well.
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Oil paint is applied using paint brushes or palette knives

Now that the rough sketch is prepared, the artist is now ready to paint. Oil paint, a special paint that contains particles of pigments suspended in a drying oil (usually linseed oil), is again mixed with oil to make it thinner for applying it on the canvas. Proper consistency of the paint is maintained to avoid its breakage. The most important rule for the application of oil paint is “Fat over lean” in which the first layer of paint is thin and later, thicker layers are applied. This means that each additional layer of paint contains more oil. This results in getting a stable paint film. Traditionally, paint was applied using paint brushes but now the artists also use palette knives to create crisp strokes. To paint using this technique, the edge of the palette knife is used to create textured strokes that appear different from that of a paintbrush. Sometimes, oil paints are blended simply using fingers for getting the desired gradation.
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Smaller oil paintings, with very fine detail, are relatively easier to paint than larger ones. The most attractive feature of these paintings is the natural shiny appearance that is obtained on the surface because of the use of oil paint. The blending of colors looks extremely realistic and this is the reason why oil paintings are loved by everyone throughout the world.
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