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Art of reverence

Prasanna Gupta's Tanjore paintings on Lord Krishna evoke a divine reverence and a sense of spirituality.



PASTORAL SCENES: Prasanna Gupta is inspired by gods and nature.

EVERY NOOK and corner of Prasanna Gupta's home proclaims that it is the home of an artist who loves her work. The walls, the furniture, the lamps and other accessories have all been her canvas at one time or another. She wields her brush in long, straight, confident strokes creating images of gods and her favourite is Lord Krishna.

Her home, which doubles up as her studio, is full of her works - large and small, in various stages of completion. "I do two or three paintings at a time, working on each till I reach a dead end and then I leave it for a while until new ideas form and then get back to it," Prasanna said.

Prasanna follows the Tanjore school. Figures of Krishna are set against the backdrop of nature with cows, earth, sky and of course, the gopis. Prasanna loves the figures of different gods and nature in its various manifestations. She uses warm colours and even the so-called cold colours come alive under her brush. "That is because I put them near warm colours," Prasanna explains.

When Prasanna started painting, her palette was very restrained. But years of practise have helped her evolve not only in Tanjore art but also in Madhubani relief work, murals and oil painting. Prasanna has also started giving art classes. While she always loved colours, earlier she used them conventionally. That has now changed and her stylised forms are vibrant with free movement. Marriage to industrialist Ravi Gupta has affected her work, she says. "It has resulted in a metamorphosis from my earlier style. I have matured as a artist." Ravi Gupta and his friend, Amitabh Gupta, are her best critics. "They have helped me to improve immensely."

Prasanna uses gold, semi-precious stones, oil colours and acrylics for her Tanjore paintings. Her experimentation has led her to paint on glass, Jharokhas and corrugated paper. Spirit and Soul, a painting of Krishna clad in a gold dhoti with jewels to match embracing Radha is wonderfully natural. The gaze of his expressive eyes bestowing spirituality on his admirers, show Prasanna's artistic maturity. Reverence, another painting, features a dhoti-clad Lord Krishna dancing with other cowherds. The concept of the two paintings and the depiction is very different and yet they share an emotive mood of spirituality. Prasanna's paintings are unique in the way ancient texts are juxtaposed with traditional Tanjore art.

RATNA G. CHOTRANI

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