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Paintings > Oils > Lady Playing with a Ball
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Lady Playing with a Ball

Lady Playing with a Ball

Lady Playing with a Ball

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Oil Painting on Canvas

36.0 inches X 48.0 inches
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Item Code:
OS73
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Viewed 15893 times since 10th Jan, 2011
The painting represents an elegantly costumed young lady possessed of great beauty : round face, broad forehead with a subdued miniaturized ‘bindi’ in the centre of her elegantly trimmed eye-brows, large deep arched eyes, sharp nose with a slightly arched middle, beautifully conceived lips with a patch of shade under them, rounded chin perfectly aligning with a shaded neck, fascinatingly modelled cheeks, gold-like glistening palms, thick dark long hair, lustrous body complexion and a tall slender figure. Appropriate to the medieval society’s upper strata to which the young lady seems to have belonged, she is wearing a silk sari, plain but embellished with heavy gold border and pallu – end part, and as correspondingly expensive silk blouse covering gracefully her entire figure. The jewellery she is putting around her neck, her ear-ornaments, nose-ring, bangles, all made of gold and precious stones, reveals tradition and ethnicity. She has been portrayed as seated on a simple carpet with her legs turned backward, one stretching at fuller length. Though not her face, her figure reveals great ease and composure.

Apparently she seems to be sporting with balls, tossing them into air with her right hand and then catching each, one by one, into her left hand but the expression of her face and the gesture of her eyes fixed into void away from everything reveals that she has on her mind some pressure, a tension or merely loneliness, or she is passing through moments of acute pain of separation, and in the flow of balls : in their rise and fall, she is trying to dilute this tension. However, as has been wondrously arrested in the strokes of the artist’s brush, her mind refuses to distract, perhaps because it finds that the pain of separation with which it always realises the presence of the loved one is sweeter than the relief of forgetting him. Two balls float into the air, and the third, she is ready to toss, but despite that she has her hand extended to catch them her eyes are led away from them and from everything, by something in mind, some sweet memories of past, upheavals of present or fears of future. Though a portrait, the artist has attempted to arrest the lady in his lines and colours in a definite state of mind and thus he has painted not only her exterior but also inside-out, her total being.

The painting has been rendered using the late nineteenth century idiom of art, a form that evolved on Indian soil by sharing the then rulers’ art models as developed in the nineteenth century Europe. Portrait painting was its thrust; however, unlike the portraits in the miniature format of the medieval period, particularly those rendered in the Mughal art style, striving to reproduce with minute details courtly splendour with the same thrust as the portrayed figure, these painters of the late nineteenth century strove to reproduce his figure, a king or a common man, inside-out revealing his essential personality : his intrinsic being and sometimes his class. They hardly ever focused on the painted figure’s surroundings except an aspect of it having some reflection on his total being. They usually drew their figures against a monochromic background or a background composed of diffused forms not distracting the viewer’s eye from the main figure. In this portrait too the figure of the young lady has been drawn against a monochromic background with a form or so suggestive of interior wood-panelling in a different colour.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.


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