Exhibitions/ Art Object
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The Gopis Plead with Krishna to Return Their Clothing: Folio from "Isarda" Bhagavata Purana

Artist:
Master of the "Isarda" Bhagavata Purana
Date:
ca. 1560–65
Culture:
North India (Delhi -Agra area)
Medium:
Opaque watercolor and ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 7 3/8 × 10 1/8 in. (18.7 × 25.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of The H. Rubin Foundation Inc., 1972
Accession Number:
1972.260
Not on view
Perhaps the greatest of the pre-Mughal Hindu manuscripts known, this edition of the Bhagavata Purana is admired for its pictorial sophistication, its animated narration, and above all, its sheer joie de vivre. This painting captures the essence of the text, which recounts Krishna’s amorous water-sports with the gopis (cowherds). Krishna sits in a tree, the robes of the women fluttering from his shoulder, as the dark lord reaches out to touch them, all and one together. They gaze with warm love-laden eyes and gesture devotion, praying for union with their lord. Hindu devotional worship (bhakti) had rarely been so passionately expressed in manuscript painting. Stylistically, this series evolved from the Caurapancasika group of paintings and forms a bridge with the emerging hybridity represented by the Tutinama. It displays a complex spatial rendering of a river in landscape, which can be traced to sculptural reliefs of the first century but here flows unchecked off the edge of the page, defying the composition’s own frame.
Inscription: Inscribed: on obverse, later annotations; on reverse, excerpts of Sanskrit text in Devangari script
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of the Art of India from the Museum's Collections," January 18, 1973–April 1, 1973.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selections for the Opening of The Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries," 1994.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Illustrations of the Bhagavata Purana," 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indian Court Painting: 16th–19th Century," March 25, 1997–July 6, 1997.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gods and Demons," 2000–2001.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indian Court Painting," 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Krishna: Mythology and Worship," February 9, 2004–May 9, 2004.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Illustrated Manuscripts in India: Late 13th–early 17th Century," 2004.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Krishna: Mythology and Worship," March 1, 2008–July 28, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India, 1100–1900," September 26, 2011–January 8, 2012.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Hindu Court Painting," July 17, 2013–September 8, 2013.

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