Vijayanagara Paintings: photo 23
Photo 23 of 37 in Gallery: Vijayanagara Paintings
Image title: Plate-23: Venugopala
Cf. Plate 22.
The second panel is another favourite theme, Kṛṣṇa as Veṇugopāla playing the flute with his right leg crossed against the left. The weight of his body is resting on the left foot, the tribhaṅga or the tri-bend of Kṛṣṇa making the figure very charming. The face is exquisite and the entire delineation is done with great charm. The kalpa tree, almost twining around, forms as it were an arch above the head as a half creeper and half tree, a combination of kalpavṛkṣa and kalpavallī as a favoured mode in many Vijayanagara and Nāyaka representations of Veṇugopāla. The rapt attention with which the cows and calves listen to the divine music, with the face turned towards the divine musician in a deep gaze, standing still without the least movement, is indeed a commentary on the melody of the celestial music.
This plate is contained in the book “Vijayanagara Paintings”, a valuable aid to the understanding of Indian iconography (also known as śilpaśāstra). The Vijayanagara empire was established in 1335 by Harihara, Harihara, Kaṃpa and Bukka (sons of Saṅgama) and grew to be a dominant power in the South. Painting has been considered in the Citrasūtra of the Viṣṇudharmottara, the early standard text on painting, as the premier art.