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Pichwai (pichvai) is a style of painting that originated over 400 years ago, in the town of Nathdwara near Udaipur in Rajasthan, India. Intricate and visually stunning, pichwai paintings, made on cloth, depict tales from Lord Krishna’s life. Creating a pichwai can take several months, and requires immense skill, as the smallest details need to be painted with precision. Lord Krishna is often depicted as Shrinathji in Pichwais, which is the deity manifest as a seven year old child. Other common subjects found in pichwai paintings are Radha, gopis, cows and lotuses. Festivals and celebrations such as Sharad Purnima, Raas Leela, Annakoot or Govardhan Puja, Janmashtami, Gopashtami, Nand Mahotsav, Diwali and Holi are frequently depicted in Pichwais.
The word Pichwai comes from ‘pichh’ meaning back, and ‘wai’, meaning textile hanging. They are made by members of the Pushti Marg sect, founded by Shri Vallabhacharya in the 16th century. Originally, pichwai paintings were used to decorate the temple of Shrinathji (Shrinathji ki Haveli) in Nathdwara, hung behind the deity to celebrate different seasons, festivals and events in Lord Krishna’s life. Over time, pichwais also found a place in the homes of art connoisseurs, owing to their visual appeal. Like several other traditional Indian art forms, the art of Pichwai is also dying, and requires recognition and revival.
Shan Bhatnagar is an Indian painter whose vibrant artworks are a distinct take on the traditional temple art of Pichwai. Using oil paints instead of natural dyes or acrylics, and painting on canvas instead of cloth like traditional Pichwais, Shan recreates his darshans at Nandlal ki Haveli (the Shrinathji temple at Nathdwara), in his exquisite artworks. He occasionally incorporates traditional Rajasthani embroidery and jewellery as embellishments in his paintings, which is again, a marked difference from the traditional style.
Shan Bhatnagar’s deeply emotive paintings of Lord Shrinathji in various moods and seasons, or of serene Nandis and other Krishna motifs like lotuses and parrots, are testament to his spiritual connect with the deity. Lord Shrinathji is Shan’s muse, with whom he shares an intimate relationship that guides his art. Shan is also deeply inspired by Jaipur, where he lives and works, which shows through in his choices of brilliant hues. Besides being a professional artist, Shan is also an interior designer.
|Medium:||Mixed Media on Canvas|
|Size:||26 x 26 inches|
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