Vallabhacharya is the founder of the Pushtimarg, or Path of Grace, a Vaishanava equalitarian sect centred on the life of Lord Krishna as described in tenth book of the BhagavataPurana. Vallabhacharya was born in a Brahmin family of religious scholars in South India in the late 15th century. After his philosophical and religious education he is said to have debated with and defeated scholars and philosophers at the court of Vijayanagara before performing three pilgrimages in India during which he spread the creed of Pushtimarg and experienced an apparition of Shri Nathji, a manifestation of Krishna, at Mount Govardhan.
Many paintings illustrate Vallabhacharya’s vision of the divine infants, three toddlers crawling towards him: the blue-skinned Krishna, a golden-skinned boy who is yet to be born and Balarama, Krishna's elder brother. Vallabha's wife gave birth to two sons: Gopinathji, who was believed to be Krishna's brother Balarama, reborn, and Vittalnathji who was said to be Krishna himself. Vittalnathji eventually succeeded his father. For a related version of this vision see Madhuvanti Ghose (ed.), Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings, Chicago, 2015, p.72, no.9, and a painting sold at Christie’s, London, 26 May 2016, lot 34.