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A leaf from the Gita Govinda, Radha vents her frustrations - image 1 of 2

Radha vents her frustrations
Opaque watercolors on paper
India, Kangra, 1775-1780
Ascribed to a master of the first generation after Nainsukh
7 x 10.6 inches (17 ½ x 27 cm)
The eye is first moved to a landscape showing the forest in spring time. Radha is garbed in a semitransparent skirt
comprised of mute colors, brief bodice and bare midriff while sitting beside a bank of the Yamuna surrounded by a
grove of trees, gazing over her shoulder to the right as her confidante in a violet skirt and orange wrap draws her
attention to the topic of Krishna. Radhas dress is elegant albeit simple, the upper portion a choli and a ghaghra skirt
around her waist cascading into gentle folds. A transparent orhani is draped around her body. Paramount attention to
detail can be seen in the diaphanous materials depicted on her outfit as well has her intricate jewelry, copious but not
gaudy she is adorned with gold, emeralds, and pearls, as well as a nose ring. The ground is lush,
boasting multiple shades of greenery. The vakula and tamala trees stand proud and lush, their leaves dark and odorous. The setting is established with meticulous care, great love is placed into every brushstroke. The small rises of the terrain, undulating ground all give a feeling of vast space and openness, but in such a way that attention is not drawn to wander from the foreground in which Radha and her companion are engaged in discussion. Both the face of Radha
and her attendant can be surmised to have been derived from a particular type, the shading of Radha done distinctly more elegantly, demonstrating an
intentional status remark. Her face is of “porcelain delicacy”, rounded but in such a matter as to not be “fleshy”. Her
features are pronounced and sharp, her lips small (an attractive quality of the time), eyebrows gently arched, eyes
gazing soft yet discerningly. “Radhas body is young and lissome; the limbs tender, the breasts full, hands and feet
delicate.”(Pahari masters pg. 315). Her stance is relaxed and natural, directly mirroring her countenance and echoing
her state of mind.
[So profoundly kinetic and lucid is the language and imagery of Jayadevas Gita Govinda that it has become
intertwined in the very fabric of India’s culture. Literally translating to “song of the dark lord”, amorous couples
new and old alike haty to man. The whole song of the Gita Govinda is pervaded by the supreme creative feeling which
divides reality into two illusive forms of male and female, and makes them dance like two flames of life; till the
measure of perfection is fulfilled by all forms vanishing again into one... The Gita Govinda is the gift to us of a
highly lyrical genius that has boldly caught the fiercest flames of the human heart and dashed them in a glory of
divine frenzy back on the heavens to announce love on this ve their relationships viewed through the lens of Radha and Krishna. Romanticism and nature
are intertwined in a manner that is uniquely Indian, the forest itself both literally replicating the actions of the two
lovers at times and always reflecting the emotional state of the moment. The appeal of the Gita Govinda has
significance on multiple levels; although superficially portraying the ageless story of the arduous love between man
and woman, it is also an allegory for the love of god. Radha represents the “ideal woman”, she is gorgeous,
independent yet searching for a patriarch, and pure. Krishna, a typical young male, initially overlooks the noble
qualities of Radha, Krishna spends languid time fondling and teasing doting gopis (cowherd-girls). This adultery is
to be interpreted as Krishna indulging in the delights of the illusionary world.
“Jayadeva employs the fiery sense of passion to color his music; he uses the highest symbols of life to make the
love of God a realiearth. Of all persons, Jayadeva knows that the purity and
richness of the sex-feeling is the richness of sincerity itself. Love without sex is unthinkable; at least on this earth.
Youth soaked with the reddest wine of this feeling is the image of that higher and hidden life beyond death, where
sex, in the shape of love, is the only vesture of soul.” (Puran Singh)(Kangra Paintings of the Gita Govinda)

Gita Govinda- 1
Asian Art
11" (28 cm)
First generation after Nainsukh
7" (18 cm)
18th Century and Earlier

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A leaf from the Gita Govinda, Radha vents her frustrations

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