Madhu Madhavi Ragini

Madhu Madhavi Ragini

c. 1630–40

Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Overall: 19.1 x 14.6 cm (7 1/2 x 5 3/4 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1925.1336

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Description

One of the first paintings to be published and exhibited as an example of native Indian court painting without foreign stylistic influence, this work emphasizes the expression of mood and emotion rather than pictorial narrative. Through bold contrasting color, suggestive gaze, and poetic trope, the viewer accesses the charged excitement of lovers about to be united with the coming of the monsoon at night.

The reclining hero admires the alluring form of his beloved who, startled by the lightning and the cry of the peacock, stops and twists around in a dramatic pause that sets off her figure to especially good effect. She raises one hand to feel the first drops of monsoon rain that signal the beginning of the season of lovemaking, when her lover remains at home.

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