Art for Love

Artists have drawn inspiration from a variety of sources most common being the experience of love. Listed below are some of the most beautiful and expressive paintings made by Indian master artists in different styles and genre dedicated to love and relationships.

Sohni Mahiwal by Sobha Singh:
When we talk about star crossed lovers, Sohni Mehiwa’s romance is the first love legend that comes to our mind. One of the greatest Indian artists of twentieth century Sobha Singhs’ painting depicts the clandestine rendezvous of the tragic lovers. Mahiwal’s tenderly embraces Sohni drenched with water, seemingly tired after cross the river.

Ardhanarishvara in Tibetan Thangka Style:
Lord Shiva’s love for his consort Parvati is symbolized as Ardhanarishvara, the composition depicts his half-body being shared by his spouse. In Shiva Purana, Shiva preaches to Parvati that she resides with him, embracing her 'limb-to-limb', that’s how Ardhanarishvara is formed. Below is the popular Ardhanarishvara artwork painted in Tibetan Thangka style, it conveys the unity in the most beautiful manner. The posture bent in three parts (head, torso and right leg) adds grace and elegance. Intricacy of the artwork and the bright colors make the composition of the union of Siva and Shakti truly striking.

Radha Krishna series by Abdur Rahman Chughtai:
Abdur Chughtai is revered for his portrayal of legends, folklore and history of the Indo-Islamic world. His most recognizable artworks are the Radha Krishna series made in watercolours, the paintings showcases the couples tender and passionate love in the most animated and captivating manner. The artworks reflects the characteristics of his unique technique called Chughtai style- dreamy eyes, graceful figures with seductive nuances and saturated with passionate mood.

Mother Teresa Series by M. F. Hussain:
The cubist artist M. F. Hussain known as the "Picasso of India" made a memorable and touching series illustrating the love and compassion Mother Teresas had for the impoverished and the dying. The creativity and originality of the art works is remarkable, faceless figures with just the blue border of her attire were suggestive enough of her appearance. The composition successfully personifies motherhood, selfless love and limitless affection, creatively projected in an abstract form.

Shakuntala Dushyanta by Kalipada Ghoshal
The artwork by Bengali master artist Kalipada Ghoshal depicts the tale of ‘love at first sight’ of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. In the artwork Dushyanta lovingly courts Shakuntala against a gentle backdrop, the intimate moment heightens the paintings theme of love and beauty. The dramatic love story of separation and union of this mythical couple from Mahabharat had a ‘happily ever after' ending.

Miniature paintings from Geeta Govinda
Gita Govinda, a devotional song composed by Jayadeva (12th century poet), describes the divine love of Radha and Krishna. The poet elaborates on how both of them are vulnerable victims of an irrepressible passion. These fascinating miniature paintings made to represent this mini-epic beautifully illustrate the celestial couples’ spiritual love and blissful union.

Shah Jahan and Jahanara by Mohanlal Soni
This emotion stirring painting of ailing Shah Jahan with his daughter Jahanara epitomizes the love between a father and his daughter. Jahanara willingly chose to join her father in imprisonment at the Agra Fort, where she devoted herself to his care until his death. The painting shows Shah Jahan gazing longingly at Taj Mahal in the background while a concerned Jahanara lovingly comforts him with warmth and compassion.

Mother and Child series by Jamini Roy
Jamini Roy, the most famous pupils of Abanindranath Tagore, is remembered today for the simplicity of his artworks, mainly capturing the life of the folk people. His most popular paintings have been the ‘Mother and Child’ series which followed his distinctive technique of bold outlines, flat colors and wide-eyed stylized figures. He effortlessly captured the essence of mothers love with a straightforward and simple approach.

Meera Bai Pines for Her Krishna by Vasudeo Kamath:
This exquisite painting depicts Meera Bai the mystic poet, longing for Krishnas’ image. To accomplish that, she tries to replica his appearance by painting her face dark and complements it with a peacock feather to match his manifestation at best. Vasudeo Kamath manages to capture the spiritual bliss and ecstasy Meera Bai experiences on seeing her reflection.

Urvashi Pururavas and Savitri Satyavan by Raja Ravi Varma
These lesser known paintings of the celebrated Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma depict the epic love stories of two mythical couples- Urvashi Pururavas and Savitri Satyavan. The love story of the beautiful apsara Urvashi and Pururavas ends tragically after she bears him a child, the reason was a curse given by sage Bharat- “ the day your son and lover meet, you will have to return to heaven." The painting shows Urvashi leaving a mournful Pururavas.

Savitri and Satyavan however had a ‘happily ever after’ ending, the artwork shows the scene when Lord Yama the god of Death, comes to claim the soul of Satyavan. Eventually, impressed by Savitri's dedication and purity, Lord Yama grants life to Satyavan’s.

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