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Bhagavata Purana series: Krishna and Balarama Studying with the Brahman Sandipani

Accession Number
1983/2.104

Title
Bhagavata Purana series: Krishna and Balarama Studying with the Brahman Sandipani

Artist(s)
Artist Unknown, India, Uttar Pradesh, Chaurapancasika Style

Object Creation Date
1525-1550

Medium & Support
ink and opaque watercolor on paper

Dimensions
6 1/2 in x 9 1/16 in (16.5 cm x 23 cm);19 5/16 in x 14 5/16 in (49.05 cm x 36.35 cm);9 1/16 in x 6 1/2 in (23 cm x 16.5 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel

Label copy
The Bhagavata Purana is one of the major sources of tales about Krishna, a human incarnation of Vishnu. In this scene, from one of the earliest extant illuminated manuscripts of the tale, Krishna and his brother Balarama are shown as schoolboys at their lessons. Krishna, in blue, and Balarama are portrayed in identical poses and wearing peacock-feather headdresses. The paunchy bearded figure at right is their mentor, Sandipani. Two other, older students appear at left.
Stylistically, this work represents an important moment in the history of north Indian painting. Its antecedents can be found in the Jain Kalpasutra folios of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (such as 1980/2.247, 1981/2.162, 1997/2.39 in the UMMA collections): the composition is still compartmentalized into units of pure, bold colors that silhouette the gestures of the figures, but here the convention of the extended “further eye” has been abandoned for a profile view. In turn, the conventions developed by this time would become the basis for much later Rajput painting.
Exhibited in "Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures: Twenty Centuries of Indian Art" at UMMA, 12/12/03–2/22/04.
---
The Bhagavata Purana is one of the major sources of tales about Krishna, a human incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu. In this scene, from one of the earliest extant illuminated manuscripts of the tale, Krishna and his brother Balarama are shown as schoolboys at their lessons. Krishna, easily identifiable by his emblematic blue color, and Balarama are portrayed in identical poses and wearing peacock-feather headdresses. The paunchy bearded figure at right is their mentor, Sandipani. Two other, older students appear at left.
Stylistically, this work represents an important moment in the history of north Indian painting. Its antecedents can be found in the Jain Kalpasutra folios of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with the composition compartmentalized into units of pure, bold colors that silhouette the gestures of the figures.
(6/28/10)
(South and Southeast Asia Gallery Rotation, Spring 2010)

Subject matter
The Bhagavata Purana is one of the major sources of tales about Krishna, a human incarnation of Vishnu. In this scene, from one of the earliest extant illuminated manuscripts of the tale, Krishna and his brother Balarama are shown as schoolboys at their lessons.
Stylistically, this work represents an important moment in the history of north Indian painting. Its antecedents can be found in the Jain Kalpasutra folios of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: the composition is still compartmentalized into units of pure, bold colors that silhouette the gestures of the figures, but here the convention of the extended “further eye” has been abandoned for a profile view. In turn, the conventions developed by this time would become the basis for much later Rajput painting.

Physical Description
Krishna, in blue, and Balarama are portrayed in identical poses and wearing peacock-feather headdresses. The paunchy bearded figure at right is their mentor, Sandipani. Two other, older students appear at left. They are seated, approximately equidistantly spaced, in an architectural structure that organizes the space.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
narrative painting

Additional Object Classification(s)
Painting

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Hinduism
books

4 Related Resources

Art of the Mughal Empire
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Hindu Gods and Goddesses
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
Literacy, Reading, and Writing
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)
Where We are in Place and Time
(Part of: I.B. Units of Inquiry)

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