Gokulnathji (1552-1641) reciting from a manuscript
Artist following Kishangarh-Nathdwara style
circa 1840 CE
Gouache on paper
12.6 x 9.4 in. (32 x 24 cm.)
Gokulnathji was the fourth son of Vitthalnathji and gained immense popularity as a devout Pushtimargi. He compiled a number of books in a vernacular dialect, Braj bhasha, which had a deep impact on local mass. He also complied his father’s travel experiences and incidences which he witnessed.
In this composition, except for the posture and facial features of the central figure, which are rendered in Kishangarh style, everything else is finished in a Nathdwara qalam.
Architectural features, flora and fauna refers to contemporary Nathdwara style where artists of the period had already started experimenting with photo-realism, perspectives and play of light. This painting also brings about the struggle of artists in continuing traditional aspects with contemporary influences: to draw Gokulnathji (who existed centuries ago), artist derived a traditional style and to depict the background he assembled more compelling contemporary idioms.