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Carudatta Presenting a Pearl Necklace to Vasantesena

Y. G. Srimati Indian

Not on view

Srimati used figure-types from the sixth-century murals at Ajanta’s Buddhist rock-cut cave monasteries as the basis for a series of paintings that explore and, in a sense, celebrate the art of India’s past. In this she was following the teachings of Nandalal Bose and others who advocated looking to Indian history for appropriate subjects. In this work we see the Ajantaesque style deployed in the service of an early Sanskrit secular drama, Mrcchakatika (The Little Clay Cart). The play, likely dating to the third or fourth century A.D., explores the love of a rich courtesan, Vasantesena, and a noble-spirited Brahmin, Carudatta. The complexities of the drama and the celebration of the nobility of selfless giving are skillfully evoked in this small, intense painting.

Carudatta Presenting a Pearl Necklace to Vasantesena, Y. G. Srimati (Indian, 1926–2007), Watercolor on paper, India (Chennai)

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