MAO - Museum of Oriental Art verified

Turin, Piedmont, Italy open Visit museumarrow_right_alt

closed Krishna, the divine lover

Curated by: Claudia Ramasso e Thomas Dähnhardt

The show

The collection of works of art from South Asia includes four religious paintings centered on the figure of the god Krishna, three of which are of considerable size. The exhibition aims to show the public this type of pictorial production (picchavai), accompanied by a selection of poetic compositions attributable to the devotional current of bhakti, with a view to enhancing through the visit the concept of aesthetic experience dear to the Indian tradition. the rasa. The term rasa, which means "juice", "essence" or "taste", indicates a particular emotional state which is intrinsic to the work of art, be it visual, literary or musical, and which succeeds in arousing in the viewer the corresponding mood. The poems presented in the exhibition alongside the paintings, in addition to being an evocative interpretation of the pictorial representations, are intended to invite full aesthetic enjoyment of the exhibition through the universal language of the ways of art.

The picchavai, pictorial works of the Rajasthani schools, are large devotional paintings on free canvas consecrated to the god Krishna, one of the best known Indian deities in the West, earthly manifestation of the god Vishnu and fulcrum of the devotional current of bhakti. Traditionally they are displayed in the inner hall of the temple where the image of Krishna is venerated to adorn the walls and furnishings. The paintings, of great artistic expression, tell the earthly life of the god Krishna through a series of different contexts, which vary throughout the year according to the calendar of the festivities relating to the divinity. Of particular importance are the depictions called Raslila, which represent Krishna playing amorous games with the young herdsmen (gopi) in the woods of Vrindavan, a place where the religious tradition places his youth. Lila means "game" and in the context of the devotional current of bhakti this term is understood in a symbolic sense: human souls are seen as passionate "lovers" of the "beloved" god, ecstatically enraptured in a loving dance with the divinity, as the gopis with Krishna.

Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Via San Domenico, 9-11
10100 Turin


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