Krishna Admonishes the Gopis (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

ca. 1725-50
Works On Paper
opaque watercolor, ink on paper
Rajasthan, Kota, India
Sheet: 19 1/4 × 12 1/2 in. (48.9 × 31.75 cm)
Not on view

The verses above this painting are from Book Ten of the Bhagavata Purana, which records Krishna’s youth, especially his amorous adventures with the gopis (cow maidens) of Vrindavan. So powerful was their attraction to the handsome young god that they regularly abandoned their husbands and responsibilities for nighttime encounters in the forest with him. Krishna here chides a great crowd of gopis in a jungle clearing illuminated by a silvery circle of light from the full moon. The blue-skinned deity torments these women: “Tell me why you have come. Oh Graceful Ones, the night is frightful, and haunted by terrible creatures. . . . Women should not remain

here.” Hurt and frustrated by Krishna’s admonition, the women wipe their eyes, scratch the ground with their feet, or hold their hands to their foreheads in sorrow and despair.

Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 111, pp. 295-296, 501)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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