India (Rajasthan, Mewar)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper; 7 1/4 x 11 3/8 in. (18.4 x 28.9 cm)
Gift of Jeffrey Paley, 1975 (1975.409.3)
To the left, Krishna sits spurned and alone under an arbor. He speaks to Radha’s confidant in the hope that she can help win back her affections. To the right, Radha is shown with back-turned head and upheld arms wanting nothing to do with Krishna and it is at this moment that Kāma, the Hindu god of love, aims an arrow at her. In this scene from the Gita Govinda, Krishna speaks of Kāma and tells us: “Just as an arrow pierces its target, Radha’s glance has pierced my heart.”
Many paintings were executed during the reign of Maharana Jai Singh (1680–98) that draw on precedents set a generation earlier. In this painting, trees and architecture divide the space into thirds to better articulate the narrative.