An image of Krishna as the divine cowherd (red border)

Unknown Artist

Krishna as the divine cowherd (red border)

Other titles:
Not on display
Further information

Krishna is one of the best known of the Indian gods, and certainly he was one of the favourite heroes of the Rajasthani court artists. Krishna means "dark-skinned one," so he is always painted blue. According to mythology he grew up in the countryside as a cowherder, playing the flute, flirting with the milkmaids (known as 'gopis') and mischievously stealing their clothes as they bathe in the river. In this painting, however, Krishna is depicted rather like the Greek god Pan. Seated on a blossoming lotus that rises out of the swampy water, he mesmerises the two cows that look on with his enchanting flute-playing. This painting is one of a series of four paintings from the collection of the Maharaja of Bikaner. It is quite possible that such a painting may have been presented to the Maharaja by a court artist on a festival such as Krishna Jayanti, the celebration of Krishna's birth.

Haema Sivanesan, Look, March 2001, pg. 21.

Place of origin
Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
India: Rajput circa 1500–1947
circa 1820
Miniature, Painting, Watercolour
opaque watercolour with gold on paper
17.2 x 10.8 cm image; 24.9 x 15.9 cm sheet
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Bequest of Mr J. Kitto 1986
Accession number