Krishna's Longing for Radha, from the Gita Govinda of Jayadeva

Krishna's Longing for Radha, from the Gita Govinda of Jayadeva

c. 1820-1825

Gum tempera and gold on paper

Image: 24.1 x 32.4 cm (9 1/2 x 12 3/4 in.); with mat: 40.6 x 53.2 cm (16 x 20 15/16 in.); with borders: 25.6 x 33.8 cm (10 1/16 x 13 5/16 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1989.333

Description

In the lush forests on the banks of India’s Yamuna River, the youthful god Krishna waits to rendezvous with his beloved Radha. The artist has rendered his impatience by showing seven Krishnas, in various attitudes of anxious waiting, as though seeing him over a period of time. Meanwhile Radha, dressed in yellow at top right, confers seemingly endlessly with her confidante, as she tries to decide whether she should meet Krishna for the illicit tryst—she is already married and Krishna is prone to flirting with other girls. This scene is a metaphor for how god waits for us to come to him, while the human devotee frets about the bonds of social norms.

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