May 4, 2010

Shiva Under Trees

Shiva Under Trees

c. 1780

Gum tempera on paper

Overall: 18.2 x 14 cm (7 3/16 x 5 1/2 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1960.48



Cut from a larger composition, this fragment shows the god Shiva who has come down to earth. He seems alluringly approachable despite his white body, the snake around his neck, his third eye, trident weapon, animal-skin garment, and the crescent moon at his brow. Set off against a flat red background, he stands under two shade trees that make his manifestation on earth believable. One tree is entwined around the other, metaphorically suggesting the physical love Shiva seems to wistfully desire.

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