This painting hums with the joyous melodies and rhythms of ‘bhakti’, total surrender to Lord Krishna. Depicted is the circular dance, the ‘rasalila’, in which each ‘gopi’ imagines that Krishna dances with her alone. In the central orb Krishna and Radha dance in bliss surrounded by peacocks, each flanked by adoring peahens. In an outer ring Krishna dances simultaneously with all the other ‘gopis’, each dressed in their finest robes. Their dance is presented as a glowing mandala within a forest clearing, watched by musicians, holy men and devotees, and blessed with flower petals dispersed from heaven.
‘Goddess: divine energy’, AGNSW 2006, pg.55.
Circular dance of Krishna and the milkmaids
Rajput circa 1500 - 1947 → India
opaque watercolour with gold on paper
61.0 x 80.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Dancing to the flute: music and dance in Indian art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Jun 1997–24 Aug 1997
Indian Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2001–11 Jun 2001
Goddess: Divine Energy, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Oct 2006–28 Jan 2007
Intimate Encounters: Indian paintings from Australian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2007–04 May 2007
Referenced in 7 publications
B.N. Goswamy, Goddess: Divine Energy, 'Radha: from beloved to goddess', pg. 43-65, Sydney, 2006, 54 (colour illus.), 55. cat.no. 31
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South Asia', pg. 288-297, Sydney, 1999, 294 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Mughals and Maharajas: The Miniature Paintings of Courtly India', Sydney, 2003, 42-43 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 43 is a detail of this work.
Jackie Menzies, Arts of Asia, 'New Dimensions', pg. 54-63, Hong Kong, Nov 2003-Dec 2003, 56 (colour illus.). no.4
Pratapaditya Pal, Dancing to the flute: music and dance in Indian art, Sydney, 1997, 9 (colour illus.), 94, 96. cat.no. 44c, detail: cat.no. 44d
Haema Sivanesan, Indian painting, 'Indian Painting', verso of poster., Sydney, 2001. cat.no. 2.28
Editor Unknown (Editor), Margaret Olley Art Trust, Sydney, circa 1994, back (colour illus.).