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Lovers on a hillock


Unknown Artist

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Central India India
    Media category
    Mixed media painting
    Materials used
    opaque watercolour on paper
    19.0 x 12.5 sight
    Gift of Dr Jim Masselos 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
  • About

    The beloved Hindu god Krishna was born a prince but a prophecy foretold that his uncle Kamsa, the demon king of Mathura, would be challenged by a nephew. Kamsa then ordered the deaths of all of his sister’s sons, so Krishna was whisked away to grow up incognito in a cow-herding village. As Krishna neared adulthood, he took on the name of the divine cowherd of Virdavan and became an object of fascination and obsession for many of the young women, known as gopis, who tended to the cows. Among them was Radha, who was madly in love with Krishna and their intense and sometimes fraught relationship is the subject of many paintings. In fact, all the Indian courts commissioned paintings depicting the amorous adventures of Krishna that also became a model for depictions of royal lovers. In some cases, the lovers would be depicted within a village setting as the case of Krishna and the cowherds and at other times they would be depicted within the palace. Such paintings, while sometimes illustrating real romances resonated with the divine example of Krishna and Radha and thereby symbolised a religious aspiration for union with the divine.