Devotion in lithograph

This week, adorning your pooja room, or even your living room, with rare lithographs of Lord Krishna should be easy, thanks to the Krishna at Janmashtami exhibition by Artisans.

The exhibition-cum-sale will feature stunning chromolithographs, oleographs and offsets, procured by artist Manish Sharma, and curated by Radhi Parekh. “Till date, Artisans heavily focused on textiles, and I was looking at striking a balance with graphic arts, too. The festive season, starting with Janmashtami, gave me the perfect chance to do so.”

Prints in India, says Parekh, are usually synonymous with the legendary artist Raja Ravi Verma. “I wanted to feature artists who have come after him and have done some very good work. From the 1800s onwards, many chromolithographs came to India from France and Germany, and were published by publishers all across India,” says Parekh. Sharma has procured prints of Krishna artwork by artists such as Vasudeo H Pandya, R G Chonker, L A Joshi and Narottam Narayan. 

The images, says Parekh, represent Lord Krishna is all his forms — the cherubic kid, the makhan chor, the prankster, the arouser of desire and the charioteer during the war at the Kurukshetra. “With respect to the art, you can draw parallels with the pre-Raphaelite style and the emotions it evoked — the Victorian romanticism and the sentimentality when it came to painting women and babies,” says Parekh.

Some rare prints of Lord Krishna from the 1800s at the exhibition

Over the past three months, Sharma walked the bazaars, lanes full of collectors of prints, publishers and even stepped into people’s homes in the western part of the country to procure rare images of Krishna. “Parts of Maharashtra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Rajasthan, Gujarat, even Delhi, have some great, rare prints of Lord Krishna and Sharma often had to approach owners of havelis and people in charge of public halls across the country to procure some of the prints. He concentrated on Vaishnavite parts of these regions because they have the best imagery when it comes to Krishna’s depictions,” says Parekh.

Artisans will hold a preview of the exhibition for interested buyers on August 8. Prices of the prints are in the range of Rs 5,000-15,000 and upwards.

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