Chaitanya was an early sixteenth century Indian saint from Bengal. He is venerated by followers of the Gaudiya sect of Vaishnavism, who revere him as an East Indian incarnation of the god Krishna, an earthly representative of the god Vishnu. “(Chaitanya) was one of the holy men who developed the practice of bhakti, personal devotion to God of so emotional a character as to be akin to conjugal love.” [Stuart Cary Welch, Indian Drawings and Painted Sketches (New York: The Asia Society, 1976), pg. 122} In this thinly painted work, Chaitanya is dancing in a puddle of his own tears. He is the focus of a circle of ecstatic devotees, some with musical instruments, who have joined his thumping dance. This circle includes five of his followers who later became either bhakti saints or theologians. These five were responsible for systematizing and popularizing Chaitanya’s message throughout India; their names are neatly inscribed on the surface of this picture in Hindi. A brush drawing of the same subject in the National Museum, New Delhi, (Welch, op. cit. no. 69) was the obvious model for this work. Inasmuch as the former court of Kishangarh was a major center of worship of Krishna (or of Chaitanya, his incarnation), it is not surprising this picture was made there.
Inscription: Inscribed on the surface of the painting in Rajasthani written in devanagari script, identifying certain figures: Sri Mahaprabhuji [Chaitanya], Sivananda, Sri[?] Rupa Gusain, ___, Murari Guptaji, Haridas Thakur, Mukunda, Srinivasa, Nityanandaprabhu and ___ pandit
Ramesh Kapoor 1999
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Divine Pleasures: Painting from India's Rajput Courts - The Kronos Collection," June 13, 2016–September 11, 2016.