Illustration from a Bhagavata Purana Series; divided in two horizontal bands depicting groups of gopis walking through the forest, asking the plants and trees for the whereabouts of Krishna

Cowherd women seek the God Krishna in the forest, 1520-1540

Unknown artist, expand_more

This painting comes from the first illustrated series of the Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Story of the Blessed One), a text composed in the 800s–1000s ce that chronicles the life story of Lord Krishna. Here, the artist inventively translates verse to image, with two registers of lovesick gopis (cowherd wives) chasing the call of Krishna’s flute in a fantastical moonlit forest. The bold use of color, exaggerated gestures, and bristling costumes marks the crystallization of a pre-Mughal style. Inherited from earlier traditions, this visual language would influence the Indian court painting to follow.

Recent conservation of this painting was made possible by a generous contribution from Al and Dena Naylor through Mia’s Art Champions program.

Details
Title
Cowherd women seek the God Krishna in the forest
Role
Artist
Accession Number
95.4.1
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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Illustration from a Bhagavata Purana Series; divided in two horizontal bands depicting groups of gopis walking through the forest, asking the plants and trees for the whereabouts of Krishna