“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” - Edgar Degas
Now there may be several artists who make you peek into your soul, but only a few of them have managed to leave an indelible imprint there. These are the ones whose names you see in history books and popular culture. Their fame grows because of their ability to stay relevant through centuries of social, political and cultural change.
You may have come across paintings depicting Lord Krishna surrounded by bright motifs like cows, peacocks and lotuses. This art form is known as Pichwai and it originated in Rajasthan 400 years ago. Each piece takes painstaking efforts to be created and that’s probably why this art form began to fade away. However, there has been a renewed interest in Pichwai recently, with interior decorators gravitating towards it’s vivacity.Here are 6 things you may not know about this beautiful Indian art form:
The year is 1672. A deity representing Lord Krishna’s avatar as a 7-year-old is being transported from Mathura via Agra. Suddenly the bullock cart comes to an abrupt halt as the axle gets stuck in the mud. Devouts see it as a divine sign from Shrinathji (a local form of Lord Krishna) and decide to build a temple at that spot.
The town is now called Nathdwara (the gateway to Shrinath), which is hailed as the birthplace of Pichwai art.
An artist sits hunched over a stiff canvas, holding a paintbrush. The creases on his forehead say that nothing can disturb his meditation right now. Splashes of black, yellow and gerua (orange) burst forth from the innermost recesses of his mind to recite an old tale—a tale of Lord Krishna and his enigmatic life. Many would have already heard this story, but the way he brings out the green of trees and the reddish smile dancing on a Gopi’s lips—it’s something very few storytellers would touch upon.