Gum tempera, graphite, ink, and tin on paper
Secondary Support: 49.9 x 30 cm (19 5/8 x 11 13/16 in.); Painting only: 45.6 x 27.7 cm (17 15/16 x 10 7/8 in.)
Gift of William E. Ward in memory of his wife, Evelyn Svec Ward 2003.144
Abhimanyu (son of Arjuna and Subhadra, nephew of Krishna) is a tragic figure from the epic Mahabharata (The Great History of the Descendants of Bharat). As a fetus in his mother’s womb he hears how to penetrate the Chakravyuha, a circular pattern of troops, from his father Arjuna who is talking with his mother Subhadra. Noticing that Subhadra is asleep, Arjuna stops speaking and does not explain to her how to escape after attacking it. Abhimanyu thus only has partial knowledge. Here he is depicted as surrounded in the Chakravyuha and about to be killed.
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