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Kama and Rati Witness the Reunion of Krishna and Radha, Page from a Gita Govinda Series

Asian Art

This complex painting shows several scenes (and imagined scenes) from the romantic and devotional poem known as the Gita Govinda, which tells of the tumultuous relationship between the Hindu god Krishna and his beloved, Radha. Krishna appears three times, while Radha (in the gold skirt) and her confidante (in the white skirt with red squares) each appear twice. Krishna sits alone at the left, an indication that he and Radha are spending time apart because Radha is angry with him. Radha and her friend talk at the upper center, and the topic of their conversation appears just below them to the left of center: Krishna with two other women. At the lower right, Krishna wins Radha back, and they are reunited. The smaller couple at the far right is Kama (the Indian god of love) and his wife, Rati, who watch the proceedings with great interest.

The painting is from Mewar, where court artists employed a number of clever compositional tricks to organize their images. Here, each group is framed by an arched bower of flowering plants, except Krishna’s dalliance, which might only be imagined, and Kama and Rati, who watch from their heavenly palace.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
DATES 1714
DIMENSIONS sheet: 10 x 16 15/16 in. (25.4 x 43.0 cm); image: 8 7/8 x 15 5/8 in. (22.5 x 39.7 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of Anthony A. Manheim
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION Indian. Kama and Rati Witness the Reunion of Krishna and Radha, Page from a Gita Govinda Series, 1714. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, sheet: 10 x 16 15/16 in. (25.4 x 43.0 cm);. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anthony A. Manheim, 1999.136.6
IMAGE overall, 1999.136.6_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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