Early Bengal Oils
early 20th century
19.2 x 25.7 in. / 48.8 x 65.3 cm.
Oil on canvas
Early Bengal oils were often the work of artists of the erstwhile Indian kingdoms coming to fast-developing European settlements for livelihood. They borrowed from the country’s miniature traditions as also from Western influences. In this work, the seventeenth century Bhakti saint Meera is singing hymns to Lord Krishna in a temple while a prince waits with his steed. That’s possibly her husband, the crown prince of Mewar, Bhoj Raj. While its content and stylisation take off from Rajput miniatures, the scenery bears an imprint of Western academism. The artist has painted distant mountains to add depth to the painting.
Singh, Kishore, ed., Indian Landscapes: The Changing Horizon (New Delhi: DAG, 2012), p. 87
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