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Gum tempera, graphite, ink, and tin on paper
Secondary Support: 40.5 x 30 cm (15 15/16 x 11 13/16 in.); Painting only: 45.3 x 28.4 cm (17 13/16 x 11 3/16 in.)
Gift of William E. Ward in memory of his wife, Evelyn Svec Ward 2003.150.b
This is a symmetrical painting of two goddesses, each standing on a lotus (symbolizing beauty and purity). Both are considered in Bengali folklore to be sisters and the daughters of the goddess Durga. Lakshmi, goddess of fortune, prosperity, and beauty, and wife of Vishnu, is holding an unfinished flower. Sarasvati, goddess of knowledge, learning, and patroness of the fine arts, is holding a stringed instrument, which represents refined training and education. Sarasvati is white skinned, signifying purity.
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