Anonymous (Kalighat Pats)
late nineteenth century
15.7 x 11.2 in. / 39.9 x 28.4 cm.
Water colour, colloidal tin and graphite on paper
This painting is part of a larger collection of pat artworks—a unique traditional genre of paintings that developed in Bengal, in the nineteenth century—describing a typical encounter between a babu, a Bengali gentleman, and a courtesan. Unlike the art sold to the public at the patuas’ (painters who create pat as their traditional occupation) studios, this artwork is part of a series that was specially commissioned and meant exclusively for private viewing by patrons and their close associates. The series begins with the lover or courtesan awaiting the babu’s arrival while she makes jasmine garlands. The babu shows up, probably in an intoxicated state, carrying a rose, and their interaction culminates in a sexual encounter between the pair. However, as a stern reminder of the lived reality of the courtesan, the babu leaves soon after while she is left to dress herself. The work is framed under folding curtains—made popular by photography studios as well as the proscenium theatre stage. The props—the table and the bed with the mosquito curtain—aid the viewer in understanding the space as well the chain of events in the narrative.
|Art Artist Names Single
|Anonymous (Kalighat Pats)