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VAIKUNTHA, THE HEAVEN OF VISHNU. Rajasthani school, about 1750. Painting on paper. Lady Rothenstein collection
VAIKUNTHA, THE HEAVEN OF VISHNU


Vishnu is enthroned with his sakti (female principle) Laksmi, on his knee attended by the other gods among whom Siva appears on the right as an ascetic, with his elephant-headed child Ganesa, on the left Indra, his body covered with many eyes, and Brahma with his four heads. In the front two apsaras are dancing to music made by an orchestra on either side.
In this painting is to be seen the fine technical tradition of draughtsmanship which became available at many of the Rajput courts when Mughal patronage waned with the decline of the Empire. But there is no attempt to introduce chiaroscuro or spatial composition as is to be found in some Rajput paintings for a short period round, this date, especially at Jaipur and Jodhpur. This painting should therefore be attributed to some other centre. In 1916 Coomaraswamy attributed it to the 'early Kangra school of seventeenth and eighteenth century'. In 1925 Dr Goetz while dating it about 1740 and considering it as near to the Rajasthani, still classed it as Pahari. Now however, he considers that we know nothing of the Kangra school before the time of Ghamand Chand (1751-74) and he would probably wish to retain his date for this picture and describe it as has been done here.