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Slide Collection

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Gita Govinda Painting Collection



The IGNCA has one of the largest slides collection in Asia.  It includes painting, sculptures, architecture, manuscripts, events and rare books.  Gita Govinda, a 12th century poem is one of the lyrics, which were widely pictorialised.  The various schools of painting in India have lent their special touch and colour to this poem in 24 songs.  the IGNCA collection on the subject in vast and varied.

Gita Govinda was composed in Sanskrit by Jayadeva.  He was the court poet of Lakshmanasana, the last Hindu ruler of Bengal in the late 12th century.  Gita Govinda is a work of infinite beauty and the poem is based on the love play of Krishna and Radha, their union, Radha's jealousy and anger, the resultant separation and reunion.  The poem communicates a cosmic drama which unfolds at macro and micro levels.  

The multi layered texture of the poem moves concurrently at the sensuous and the spiritual, terrestrial and the spiritual, terrestrial and celestial, human and the divine, eminence and transcendental levels. The beauty of Gita Govinda lies in the idea of celebrating divine love though the idiom of human experience associated with love such as jealously, desire, anger, separation, persuasion and reunion expressed lyrically to experience the divine love for the common masses to understand.  It is one of the most powerful of Sanskrit poems and has provided the inspiration for a variety of artistic interpretations in the traditions of painting, music, dance and architecture.  Its popularity spread all over India and it is sung in some temples of India, as part of worship ritual.

Gita Govinda has been painted in all the major schools of Indian paintings.  The IGNCA has in its collection 2090 slides on Gita Govinda, photo-documented form 'the Gita Govinda Collection' of National Museum, New Delhi, Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay; Govt. Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh; Gujarat Museum Society, Ahmedabad; Salargunj Museum, Hyderabad; Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute, Udaipur; Swai Mansingh II, Museum, City Palace Jaipur and Govt. Museum, Alwar.  Some illustrated folios on Gita Govinda in slide form have been acquired from Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, U.S.A.  The IGNCA has also photo-documented Gita Govinda paintings in phad style by Pradeep Mukherjee.  The Gita Govinda collection in the IGNCA represents the schools of Basholi, Kangra, Guler, Mewar Bikaner, Bundi, Udaipur, Jaipur, Alwar, Gujarat and Orissa.


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