25 June, 2021

Painting Arjuna’s Anguish

Lit up by the artistic genius of Allah Baksh, enhanced by Bhalla’s brilliant exposition, this volume of miniatures of the Mewari Gita is a sight to behold

Painting Arjuna’s Anguish

The Gita revealed in Mew­ari miniature painting by Allah Baksh is a prized legacy, with an inspiring commentary by Alok Bhalla, a cognoscente of art and literature. Rajasthani writer Chandra Pra­kash Deval has also made a valuable contribution by translating the Gita verses inscribed in Mew­ari on the painting folios into Hindi that directly echoes the reg­ional counterpart in its colloquialism and directness.

Only 500 of the 700 paintings that comprise the Gita folio have been conserved in the Gover­nment Museum of City Palace of Udaipur. The Gita paintings are part of a larger series of about 4,000 Mahabharata paintings commissioned by Maharana Jai­singh of Mewar. They are unique in Indian miniature art because they illustrate the entire philosophical text of the Bhagavad Gita. The extraordinary talent of Allah Baksh unfolds through his rich depiction of the abstract ideas that are an inherent part of this metaphysical poem. It is touching that Allah Baksh’s name appears only once in the entire folio and relating his humility, Alok Bhalla...

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