‘Gates of the Lord’ opens a new view of Krishna art

By John Carpenter

Chicago Tribune

When the Art Institute of Chicago‘s Madhuvanti Ghose was a young girl, she traveled from her native Calcutta with her mother to the town of Nathdwara, where they visited the small colony of artists known for their exquisite depictions of Krishna as a young boy.

They were Pushtimarg, a Hindu sect devoted to Shrinathji, a ‘living embodiment’ of the most beloved deity in the Hindu faith. Their art was offered as adornments in the shrine, and some of the artists worked in studios dating to the building’s founding more than 300 years ago.

As the artists showed their rich pigments to her mother, an artist and teacher, Ghose wandered around the shrine, transfixed.

You might say that the idea for “Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings,” the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition running through Jan. 3, was born then. But really it happened years later.

“It made me very disturbed,” Ghose said, standing in front of the wall-sized depiction of modern Nathdwara that greets visitors just before they enter the exhibition. “In my lifetime, this whole heritage has been wiped out.”

To read the rest of this story, published in the Chicago Tribune September 30, 2015, click here.

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