A PAINTING FROM THE 'BHARANY' RAMAYANA: RAMA AND LAKSHMANA DEPART AYODHYA
A PAINTING FROM THE 'BHARANY' RAMAYANA: RAMA AND LAKSHMANA DEPART AYODHYA
A PAINTING FROM THE 'BHARANY' RAMAYANA: RAMA AND LAKSHMANA DEPART AYODHYA
2 More
THE COLLECTION OF MARILYN T. GRAYBURN, NEW YORK
A PAINTING FROM THE 'BHARANY' RAMAYANA: RAMA AND LAKSHMANA DEPART AYODHYA

NORTH INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, KANGRA OR GULER, MASTER OF THE FIRST GENERATION AFTER NAINSUKH AND MANAKU, CIRCA 1775-1780.

Details
A PAINTING FROM THE 'BHARANY' RAMAYANA: RAMA AND LAKSHMANA DEPART AYODHYA
NORTH INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, KANGRA OR GULER, MASTER OF THE FIRST GENERATION AFTER NAINSUKH AND MANAKU, CIRCA 1775-1780.
Folio 9 1⁄4 x 13 3⁄4 in. (23.5 x 34.9 cm.)
Image 8 3⁄8 x 12 3⁄8 in. (21.3 x 31.4 cm.)
Provenance
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 14 December 1979, lot 233.

Brought to you by

Tristan Bruck
Tristan Bruck Specialist, Head of Sale

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

This painting is from a dispersed series of the Ramayana of Valmiki, painted in Kangra circa 1775-1780, by a master of the first generation after Nainsukh and Manaku. The series originally belonged to the dealer C.L. Bharany from which it takes its name, although it is also at times referred to as the Second Guler Ramayana series. The series exemplifies the Pahari style at its best, presenting a world of refinement and delicacy on every page.
The artists of this series produced among the most well-known and well-celebrated series in Indian painting, including the present series, the ‘Tehri Garhwal’ Gita Govinda and the ‘Modi’ Bhagavata Purana. The three works are all closely related stylistically and ichnographically and, according to W.G. Archer, these series were all commissioned by the mother of Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra (r. 1775-1823) for his wedding in 1781. These series together rank among of finest achievements in Indian painting, becoming some of the most coveted illustrations among collectors.
As a whole, the delicately detailed Ramayana series carries all of the trademark characteristics of this generation of artist: a restrained color palette, lyrical drawing, poetic suggestions and an intimate reflection on nature. The individual paintings are particularly inventive and varied, although many follow a similar composition along a diagonal, with a succession of plans and perspectives. It is possible that various hands participated in this series although the artist responsible for this painting, likely painted all of the cityscapes in the series. A remarkable distinction between the present series and the Gita Govinda and Bhagavata Purana is that the figures in the Ramayana are painted in much smaller scale, often as if seen from a distance, which is utilized often in city scenes like the present lot. A possible attribution to Gaudhi, the second of Nainsukh's four sons has been suggested for these scenes.
The present painting depicts a scene from the Balakanda, the first book of the Ramayana detailing Rama’s childhood. The moments in this illustration depict Rama and Lakshmana’s initial departure from their father’s court. In the upper left corner, Rama kisses the feet of their father, King Dasharatha, as Lakshamana bids farewell to his mother Sumitra. Rama’s mother, Kaushayla, and Dashratha’s third wife, Keikeyi, also bid their farewells. As per the artists talent, the figure’s emotions are all wonderfully exemplified with expressions of pride and assurance as the brothers set out on their first great feat. The sage Vishwamitra leads the way, in a scene continued at the bottom right corner of the painting, as the trio departs to fight demons disturbing sacrificial rites in the area. In a receding plane beyond the city gates, the artist offers a glimpse of the bustling urban life in Ayodhya, with a multitude of figures so delicately drawn they are scarcely discernable. In the foreground, the artists pay homage to the lush nature of the Pahari region using the scenery surrounding the Beas River to inspire their interpretations of the Sarayu and Ganga.
Although the series is unnumbered, and not previously known to the public until its dispersal in the 1970s, it is estimated that about 100 pages of the 'Bharany' Ramayana subsist in private and public collections. These include works from the first three chapters of the Ramayana. The final two books were completed by the same generation in a slightly later continuation series, variously attributed to between 1780 and 1800, for example, see the following lot.
Among the 'Bharany' section, five illustrations from the Edwin Binney III Collection are in the San Diego Museum of Art (acc. nos. 1990.1267; 1990:1260; 1990:1265; 1990:1266; 1990:1268); two illustrations are in the Brooklyn Museum, New York (acc. nos. 78.256.3 and 80.181); four illustrations are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (acc. nos. 1985.398.14, 1976.15, 1976.14, 1976.15); five illustrations are at the Museum Rietberg (acc no. RVI 981 and four published Britschgi and Fischer nos 11, 13 37 and 58); three illustrations are at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (acc. nos. 2002-11-1, 2004-149-73 and 1977-11-1). The Minneapolis Museum of art also recently acquired a page from the series formerly in the Paul F. Walter collection (acc. no. 2021.7). Few examples come to auction; most recently a page from the series sold at Christie’s South Kensington on 11 June 2014, lot 126 for GBP 182,500.

More from Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art

View All
View All