Unknown artist (Artist), Kulu School

Krishna and the Gopis

Krishna and the Gopis by Unknown artist, Kulu School

Artwork Detail

This painting celebrates the entrancing power of spiritual love. It depicts a story from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, one of the great Puranas (ancient sacred texts) in Hinduism describing Krishna’s life. A common subject in Kulu School paintings, this story describes how Krishna was so transfixed by the resplendent, red glow of the Sharad Ritu (autumn) night in the Vrindavana forest that he started to play music on his flute. Hearing his music, gopis (cow-herding girls famous for their unconditional devotion to Krishna) flocked to join him and together they danced with unbridled joy. Their dance is called the Rasa Lila, literally meaning ‘play of aesthetics’ and broadly translating to ‘Dance of Divine Love’. The orange background, typical of Kulu painting, not only represents the autumnal sunset but also casts the scene in a joyous glow. Celebrating both Krishna, the god of love, and the gopis’ unconditional devotion for him, this painting testifies to the power of rasa (mood) in conveying and evoking the spirit of divine love in painting and music.

Krishna and the Gopis
Unknown artist, Kulu School
Production date
19th century
206 x 293 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2003
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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