Maqbool Fida Husain’s paintings recurrently examine and remix various subjects and motifs that inspired him over the course of his travels and experiences. Among these, the feminine form has been a significant leitmotif in the artist’s body of work. While their forms are often influenced by classical Indian sculpture and dance, they are characterized by Husain’s vibrant palette and strong, angular lines.
“The central concern of Husain's art, and its dominant motif, is woman […]. Man, in Husain’s view, is dynamic only in heroism. He is diminished by confusion and broken by unbelief, and these are unheroic and unbelieving times. Spiritually, woman is more enduring. Pain comes naturally to her, as do compassion and a sense of birth and death of things. In Husain’s work, woman has the gift of eagerness […] and an inward attentiveness, as if she were listening to the life coursing within her.” (R. Bartholomew and S. Kapur, Husain, New York, 1972, p. 46)
In this painting, Husain’s featureless women take on the aspects of the sun and the moon, or Surya and Chandini, their oppositional relationship underscored by the artist’s choice of palette and his diagonal division of the painted surface. Discussing Husain’s distinctive figuration, fellow artist S.H. Raza notes, “The transformation of Husain's figures was really impressive. The facial features were missing because the focus was on the relationship between his form and figure. The eyes, nose and ears couldn't evoke the feeling a figure could.” (S.H. Raza, ‘Husain - a lighthouse’, The Hindu, 17 July, 2011)