Parvati with Ganesh in Her Lap

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Item Code: OS17
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions 33.0 inches X 24.0 inches
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Free delivery
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Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
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Fair trade
This canvas, a brilliant oil painting, portrays the young mother Parvati with child Ganesh, her younger and loving son, in her lap. She has been painted as seated against a huge bolster on a large lotus laid on a rectangular golden bed which has above it, supported on four gems-studded poles rising from its four corners, a richly inlaid velvet canopy conceived like an arched pavilion highly popular in medieval Indian architecture, more so in Rajasthani palaces. Under one of her feet there is a foot-raise consisting of a multi-petalled lotus. The bed has been laid on an open terrace overlaid with a splendid carpet with floral designing patterns covering it in entirety. The terrace that overlooks a wide-stretched garden consisting mainly of green plants, plantain in special, has been defined by an elegant marble railing comprising delicately carved trellises. In the background is a greenish-grey, slightly red-tinted evening sky, and birds are heading nest-wards; so back into her lap is Parvati’s child after daylong toil.

Though strictly adhering to the classical norms of his divine iconography, for representing the age-perspective of the child Ganesh the artist has manipulated his body-size in relation to his mother’s, his trunk – greedy of her affectionate touch, stretched to reach her breasts, his ‘laddu’-carrying extended hand as if offering them to his mother for winning her love, and his vehicle mouse transformed into a tiny toy-like play-thing – more a cat than a mouse. An essentially devotional mind, the artist has conceived the figure of Lord Ganesh, despite that his focal point was the elephant headed god’s childhood, pursuing broadly the established norms of his divine iconography, not merely in delineating his basic features and figural anatomy but also in representing his figure with some of his regular attributes, specially his axe and ‘laddu’ – balls-like sweet, and lotus, and with his usual jewels, crown-type, and wears, all defining his divine status, as also his maturity irrespective of his age. As is the theological principle, divine figures always have an alike level of maturity, hold their specific attributes and are in their pre-determined roles, right since their birth.

Exceptionally simplified figure of Parvati, an extremely happy mother, has on her face a village woman’s bliss that she has when after her daylong occupation she finds moments to have her child in her lap. Instead of her sensuous beauty, with wide-exposed breasts, largely unclad body and amour in eyes, her usual vision in classical poetry like the Kumarasambhava by the first century Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, and in ancient and medieval sculptures scattered all over, the painter of this canvas has sought to discover her ever enduring beauty and charm in her naive simplicity, naturalness and gracefully covered body. Not a created or conceived thing, or a formal being for stage, or even one endowed with divinity, the round-faced, large-eyed and long thick-haired Parvati, a coy maiden, as she appears to be in this painted version, is essentially one from the perishable human world. Parvati has behind her a huge body of metaphysics or rhetoric, and Puranic contentions that perceive her as Shiva’s ‘shakti’ – his essential spirit and life-force, or manifestation of cosmic feminine energy – the source of entire creation and cosmic womanhood; however, in this version of her, the mind inclines to worship her, to admire her beauty, the beauty of her long thick black hair, thick deep eyebrows, large eyes, and her form but all with a kind of emotionality that one has for someone around him.

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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Oil painting technique – India centric

Oil painting is the most interesting technique in art. Unlike other paintings or art forms, oil painting is a process in which colored pigments are painted on the canvas with a drying oil medium as a binder. This medium helps colors blend beautifully to create layers and also makes them appear rich and dense. Several varieties of oil are used in this painting such as sunflower oil, linseed oil, etc., and depending on the quality of the oil, a particular consistency of the paint is developed. With the use of an oil medium, the painting gets a natural sheen on the surface which appears extremely attractive. India is famous for its old tradition of making oil paintings. This art form was brought by Europeans in the 18th century and is now practiced by almost all well-known artists. Nirmal, a small tribal town in the state of Telangana is the center of traditional oil paintings in India where the local people practice it with dedication. Most Indian artists still use the traditional technique of oil painting.

Canvas of the required size is prepared

The artists use either a wood panel or canvas made from linen or cotton. Sometimes the canvas is stretched onto the wooden frame to form a solid base, or cardboard may be used. The canvas is coated with a layer of white paint or chalk mixed with animal glue. This mixture is then smoothed and dried to form a uniform, textured surface. The wooden panel is more expensive and heavier but its solidity is an advantage in making detailed paintings with ease.

Sketch is drawn on the canvas

Now the artist starts to draw the subject of the painting on the canvas using the actual charcoal or a charcoal pencil. Sometimes, he may sketch with thinned paint as well.

Oil paint is applied using paint brushes or palette knives

Now that the rough sketch is prepared, the artist is now ready to paint. Oil paint, a special paint that contains particles of pigments suspended in a drying oil (usually linseed oil), is again mixed with oil to make it thinner for applying it on the canvas. Proper consistency of the paint is maintained to avoid its breakage. The most important rule for the application of oil paint is “Fat over lean” in which the first layer of paint is thin and later, thicker layers are applied. This means that each additional layer of paint contains more oil. This results in getting a stable paint film. Traditionally, paint was applied using paint brushes but now the artists also use palette knives to create crisp strokes. To paint using this technique, the edge of the palette knife is used to create textured strokes that appear different from that of a paintbrush. Sometimes, oil paints are blended simply using fingers for getting the desired gradation.
Smaller oil paintings, with very fine detail, are relatively easier to paint than larger ones. The most attractive feature of these paintings is the natural shiny appearance that is obtained on the surface because of the use of oil paint. The blending of colors looks extremely realistic and this is the reason why oil paintings are loved by everyone throughout the world.
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