Romancing the poet

Renowned Sanskrit poet and dramatist Kalidasa’s most famous works Shakuntala and Meghaduta have left an indelible impact on readers thanks to their beautiful imagery and heart-rending stories. Award-winning artist Vasudeo Kamath aims to recreate this imagery in his new exhibition of oil and water paintings titled Resonance Kalidasa. The series comprises 21 paintings out of which nine chronicle the story of Shakuntala, 11 are dedicated to Meghaduta while the last work is a portrait of Kalidasa.

Vasudeo Kamath’s oil painting titled, Lovestruck

Kamath decided to paint this series after he read both the works and was deeply influenced by Kalidasa’s writing as well as his humane characters. “His works not only have a universal story but also vivid imagery and a wide gamut of emotions that everyone can relate to. I wanted to capture all these aspects in my paintings.”

The JJ School of Arts graduate completed the paintings within three months. He chose oil and water paintings as they are his favourite mediums. He explains, “I usually choose the medium as per the subject.

In Resonance Kalidasa I opted for water paintings too as they would capture the essence of the stories perfectly.” In order to pay an ode to Kalidasa, Kamath read eminent Sanskrit poet Rajashekhar’s description of the litterateur and came away impressed by his vivid description. “Since Kalidasa lived in the fourth century, it was very difficult to get his pictures. Rajashekhar has described him in his work so I decided to use them as reference,” explains Kamath.

The 56-year-old artist has earlier exhibited his paintings of Lord Buddha, Krishna and a series on the Guru Shishya tradition and also created portraits of personalities such as former president Pratibha Patil. He says, “I love doing portraits and landscapes as the former gives me a chance to get to know the lesser known side of personalities while the latter helps me capture nature in all its glory.”

Kamath has been painting for over three decades and is impressed with the current art scene. “Today people are more aware about art and young artists are keen to explore new avenues.”

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