Lord Krsna in Gold
BY: SUN STAFF
Sep 26, USA (SUN) An age-old style of Indian art has been revived - and even improved - by Vrindavan artist Kanhia Chitrakar. Chitrakar has pioneered an artistic form known as Kanhai gold painting.
Kanhai gold paintings are somewhat like the well-loved Tanjore paintings, but the Kanhai's are proportionate, unlike the Tanjores, which features short, stout figures. In addition, the Kanhai paintings use only 24 carat pure gold, which is applied more liberally than the fine-touch gold typically used in other India paintings. Rajasthani paintings, for example, use only gold ink, whereas Kanhai's paintings use less ink and more pure gold foil, along with semi-precious stones and Swarovski crystals. The resulting three-dimensional gem studded paintings are unique to Kanhai Chitrakar.
Kanhai's paintings are receiving great acclaim due to their improved artistic composition, use of oil paints and embossing materials, realistic style and large canvases, excellent gem-setting work, and opulent 24 carat gold foiling.
Indian painters have long used gold to depicted Lord Krsna in His various manifest Forms, and museum examples of these works date back several centuries. Early extant specimens housed in the National Museum of New Delhi belong to the 12th century A.D. After the Mughal invasion, the art of making gold paintings became more popular, but eventually declined under the British rule. Until fairly recently, the genre had lost most of its popularity.
About fifty years ago, artist Kanhai Chitrakar began to revive this art form, and very successfully brought it back into the public domain. Chitrakar and his family live in Vrindavan, where the family worships Lord Krishna through their paintings. Kanhai's sons, Krishna and Govind, work with him in offering prayers through this unique art form.
These gold paintings present such beautiful expressions of Lord Krsna's beauty that today, Kanhai gold paintings can be found in corporate board rooms, lobbies of 5-star hotels, and private estate homes around the world. Thankfully, the Lord's Form and Pastimes are enlivening many people who might not otherwise have gotten Sri Krsna's mercy. We are very happy to see that the artist is also creating wonderful paintings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, whose beauty outshines even the purest gold.
While the purchase price of these paintings is fundamentally counted in devotional mood, there is naturally a monetary price to be paid in order to acquire one - and that price is not low. Early gold works by Kanhai sold for approximately half a million INRs. Today, many of his works are done in much larger format, and are priced accordingly. Given that gold is always considered to be a solid investment, coupled with the fact that relatively few new paintings come to market each year, the Kanhai gold's are considered to be excellent investment pieces by art critics and appraisers.