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Govardhanlalji sitting in prayer, holding a Rosary Bag

Govardhanlalji sitting in prayer, holding a Rosary Bag / prayer beads

by Unknown Artist
Nathdwara
circa 1930

Opaque watercolour on paper
14.5 x 11.5 in. (36.8 x 29.2 cm.)

There are several paintings of Govardhanlalji wherein he is shown going about his religious duties or portraits that highlight his exalted stature. There are very few portraits that depict his spiritual frame of mind. This is one such portrait based on a photograph by Laxmilal Jagannath Sharma of Ghasiram Studio.

Here, Govardhanlalji is shown, meditating holding a rosary bag in which rosary beads are dropped while saying a prayer. His head-dress is not his usual bejeweled turban but a simple cap as worn by ordinary priests. He is shown sitting on a mattress with his back against a bolster. In front of him are bajoth, kalash, tarbhanu, aachamani and pavalu, all used in prayer. It is this spiritual nature of Govardhanlalji that acts as beacon for the followers of Pushti Marg even today.

Reference photograph from which this painting was created

Reference photograph from which this painting was created

Oval bust Portrait of Govardhanlalji in Grisaille style

Oval bust Portrait of Govardhanlalji in Grisaille style

by Champalal Gaur (c.1875-c.1930)
Nathdwara
circa 1920

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
23 x 18 in. (58.4 x 44.7 cm)

Portraits of Tilkayat Govardhanlalji were extremely popular amongst the pilgrims who came to pay obeisance to Shrinathji. The artist, Champalal Gaur acceded to the rising demand of painting a portrait of Govardhanlalji in grisaille style from his celebrated full length portrait (see previous page). Only minor changes were done in the portrait by accentuating the details of clothes, jewellery and facial features.

Reference photograph from which this painting was created

Reference photograph from which this painting was created

Govardhanlalji seated on European-style chair with hand resting on a table

Govardhanlalji seated on European-style chair with hand resting on a table

by Champalal Gaur (c.1875-c.1930)
Nathdwara
circa 1920

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
21.5 x 16 in. (54.6 x 40.6 cm)

Tilkayat Govardhanlalji was always a popular subject with the artists of Nathdwara. Champalal Gaur (c.1875-c.1930) belonged to the Jatoiya clan of the adi-gaur artists was one such acclaimed painter. His grandfather lived and painted in Nathdwara whereas his father was employed in Bombay at the Balkrishanlal temple. His childhood years were divided between Bombay and Nathdwara and his art was honed by studying under his paternal uncle was himself an accomplished artist. On his father’s demise, he took over as artist-in-residence at the Balkrishanlal temple at a very young age.

This grisaille portrait of Govardhanlalji by Champalal Gaur was done in the then fashionable “photographic-studio” style wherein the subject is photographed in a studio and then painted. This style was very popular in those days since the subject did not have to spend days posing for the artist.

Govardhanlalji is shown in full finery, sitting in a chair resting his hand on a table with the backdrop of a palace.

Reference photograph from which this painting was created

Reference photograph
from which this painting was created

Manorath on a special festival day

Manorath on a special festival day

by Ambalal Khemraj
Nathdwara
circa 1925

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
23.5 x 17.75 in. (59.7 x 45.1 cm)

In this painting of a manorath, the entire family is depicted in profile. The pichwai at the back depicts golden cows on a black background. Govardhanlalji is shown performing aarti with Damodarlalji holding the fan.

This is a painting by Ambalal Khemraj of a manorath on the occasion of Gopashtami. Ambalal was of the Jangir-Palaicha clan of artists and was a direct descendent of Pitha who settled in Nathdwara in 1705. Unlike other artists who would travel to different towns for commissioned works, Ambalal followed his father’s tradition of staying only in Nathdwara and working from there. His brother, Jairam and son, Radhakrishna, were acclaimed artists in their own right. Ambalal was also a photographer and a group photo of various artists and persons of Nathdwara clicked by him have been published in “The Artists of Nathdwara”, a book by Tryna Lyons.

Manorath of Shrinathji in Chandan ka Bungala

Manorath of Shrinathji in Chandan ka Bungala

by Unknown Artist
Nathdwara
circa 1920

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
17.9 x 22 in. (45.5 x 55.9 cm.)

Painting commemorates a manorath of Shrinathji in a chandan ka bungala or silver pavilion. It shows Govardhanlalji performing aarti to Shrinathji. The setting is that of a silver pavilion in a European style landscape. Two devotees wearing dhoti, dagla and topi stand in worship with folded hands.

Devotees of Pushti Marg perform manorath in fulfilment of a vow. To capture this event they get a painting done. Generally, many paintings using the same images were made. After the faces were changed by taking a photograph of the devotee, which was printed on thin paper and pasted on the painting. They use techniques like outlining and shading, the photographic images of the faces which blended perfectly with the paintings.

Manorath on the day of Maghsarsudi Purnima with Damodarlalji

Manorath on the day of Maghsarsudi Purnima with Damodarlalji

by Nathalal Jaikrishnadas
Nathdwara
dated 1921

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm.)

An auspicious day in the calendar of the Vallabha sampradaya is Maghsarsudi Purnima. Here, an entire family belonging to the Bhatia community from the erstwhile Bombay state which today comprises of Gujarat and Maharashtra, is shown performing a manorath. The family is segregated by gender and includes different generations. Shrinathji is adorned with his ceremonial kachchani and crown. The pichwai depicts large cows in gold brocade or embroidery on a black background.

This painting was painted by Nathalal Jaykrishnadas, a direct descendent of master artist, Pitha, who settled in Nathdwara in 1705.

Shringar of Maghsar Sudi Purnima for Chappan Bhog with background of Krishna Leela

Shringar of Maghsar Sudi Purnima for Chappan Bhog with background of Krishna Leela

by Khubiram Bhai Gopilal
Nathdwara
circa 1920

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
25 x 20 in. (63.5 x 50.8 cm)

This painting by renowned painters Khubiram and Gopilal is a wonderful amalgamation of Krishna Leela alongwith the aarti conducted by Govardhanlalji. At the centre of the painting is the scene where aarti is performed by Tilkayat Govardhanlalji standing on the left and his son Damodarlalji is on the right, holding a fan. The pichwai celebrates the occasion of Gopashtami. The bottom part of the border shows a pond full of lotus flowers and fishes. The border is depicted with different episodes of Krishna Leela with great detail and finesse.

Artists Khubiram and Gopilal were partners and had a shop in Nathdwara, where they served as middlemen for a large number of artists. They would generally have their name signed on whatever painting they would sell from their shop. They specialized in pichwais, manorath paintings, Krishna Leela scenes and portraits.

Shrinathji Shringar on a summer day

Shringar on a summer day

by Bitthaldas Sharma
Nathdwara
circa 1910

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
24 x 17.75 in. (61 x 45.1 cm.)

In summer the color scheme is light. Shrinathji is seen in garments made from jasmine buds. The white pichwai in the back seems to be in appliqué. The front room is filled with water. A tiny fountain cools the atmosphere with toy drains, turtles and real and artificial flowers in it. On the left, Govardhanlalji is shown performing an aarti with is young son Damodarlalji on the right, holding a fan.

Govardhanlalji performing Aarti of Shrinathji During Gangaur Festival

Govardhanlalji performing Aarti of Shrinathji During Gangaur Festival

by Unknown Artist
Nathdwara
circa 1910

Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
12.25 x 17.5 in. (31.1 x 44.4 cm.)

Gangaur is one of the most colourful and important festivals of Nathdwara and observed with great fervor by the womenfolk. This festival signifies the coming together of Lord Shiva and Gauri-Parvati.

In this painting, Shrinathji is adorned in a dress made from a chunri. In the backdrop is a pichwai depicting the celebration of Gangaur by Krishna and Radha. Women are shown performing ghoomar, a Rajasthani folk dance. Gangaur Ghat is depicted in the background and Govardhanlalji is shown performing aarti.

Full length portrait of Govardhanlalji standing with cane

Full length portrait of Govardhanlalji standing with cane

by Unknown Artist (after Ghasiram Sharma)
Nathdwara
circa 1910

Opaque watercolour on paper
21.25 x 11 in. (54 x 27.9 cm.)

Nathdwara was at its zenith during the tenure of Govardhanlalji as the Tilkayat. Several portraits of Govardhanlalji were very popular amongst the pilgrims. One such painting is this full figure of the Tilkayat.

This painting was done in the middle part of his tenure, as his moustache is grey and is holding a walking stick. Dressed in clothes that depict class and simplicity, Govardhanlalji exudes aristocracy and humility in this portrait.

A similar half length portrait wearing the same attire was painted by the renowned artist Ghasiram Hardev Sharma and holds pride of place in the collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

Reference photograph from which this painting was created.

Reference photograph
from which this painting was created.