Milkmaid und weitere Werke von SUNAYANI DEVI

Milkmaid, 1920s
15.5 x 12.7 x 1 inch (h x w x d)
Gouache on Paper

It is rare to see Radha’s Gopis or milk-maid companions portrayed without the limelight being stolen by Krishna. In this painting by Sunayani Devi, they seem to share a secret as they balance pitchers of milk carefully on their heads, with one of them holding a white lotus delicately between her fingers. In an early celebration of her work, the art critic, Stella Kramrisch had described Sunayani’s sarees as being made of ‘some tender mood – so expressive are they.’ In her imagination, Sunayani’s women were carriers of some mysterious secret, messengers from the world within, which is ‘veiled by the sweep of the red and green sarees.’ As this painting testifies, Sunayani Devi had mastered the Bengal School’s wash technique, but was never limited by it, as she explored its possibilities to express her unique imagination.

Milkmaid represents a truly orientalist, nationalist, subjective mindset, depicting a theme selected from traditional Indian mythic lore and rendered in a visual language that strongly recalls the ethos of the Bengal School and its pictorial ideology, then the dominant national aspiration. But it would indeed be unfair to confuse Sunayani Devi and her pictorial language as being entirely derived out of the Bengal School’s conventions. Her choice for a specific personal predilection conveyed a strong cadence towards individualistic articulation.

From the collection of Ghare Baire, DAG
Copyright DAG Pvt Ltd.

offered by:

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