Exhibitions/ Art Object

Krishna Revels with the Gopis: Page from a Dispersed Gita Govinda (Song of the Cowherds)

Date:
ca. 1630–40
Culture:
India (Madhya Pradesh, Malwa)
Medium:
Opaque watercolor and silver on paper
Dimensions:
4 1/2 x 8 in. (11.4 x 20.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2003
Accession Number:
2003.165
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 251
A girl with curving hips, bending to whisper in his ear,
Cherishes her kiss on her lover’s tingling cheek.
Hari revels here as the crowd of charming girls
Revels in seducing him to play.
—Gita Govinda, canto 1, verse 41

This illustration faithfully adheres to the text, presenting Krishna (Hari) on the bank of a river surrounded by admiring cow maids (gopis). However, it is the color play of the natural elements, populated with birds and monkeys, that animates the scene. With its wavelike cloud pattern and distinct figure type, this work typifies the early Malwa stylistic vocabulary.
Inscription: Inscribed in text panel above with Gita Govinda, I, v. 41:

A girl with curving hips, bending to whisper in his ear,
Cherishes her kiss on her lover's tingling cheek.
Hari revels here as the crowd of charming girls
Revels in seducing him to play.

Miller trans., 1977, p. 76
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