Mar 17, 2014

Durga Killing the Demon Mahisha

Durga Killing the Demon Mahisha

c. 1890

Gum tempera, graphite, ink, and tin on paper

Secondary Support: 50.5 x 32 cm (19 7/8 x 12 5/8 in.); Painting only: 45.8 x 28.3 cm (18 1/16 x 11 1/8 in.)

Gift of William E. Ward in memory of his wife, Evelyn Svec Ward 2003.103



A ten-armed Durga stands triumphant as she grabs the hair of the buffalo demon’s true form, one foot on his neck, about to plunge the spear into his heart. Interestingly, the demon wears European buckled shoes; this painting was made in the British enclave then known as Calcutta. Made by artists who sold their works in a goddess temple bazaar, this painting was made with rapid brush strokes and thin paint layers on inexpensive paper. Exuberant in their devotional vitality and visceral color sensibilities, Kalighat paintings achieved acclaim among modern artists of the 20th century.

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