Shiva Gangadhara, "Bearer of the Ganga"1945 by Y. G. Srimati

Dating from an intensely productive period in the mid- to late 1940s, this work displays a remarkable command of the watercolor medium and a sophisticated engagement with Brahmanic themes. Shiva Gangadhara is a powerful and original rendering of the much-loved story in which Shiva captures the river Ganges (Ganga) in his braided hair, so breaking its thundering descent from the Himalayas that threatened to destroy the earth. A slender crescent moon and the white strand alluding to the river serve as the principal identifiers of the subject. His dance posture and secondary hands holding a drum and flaming pyre identify Shiva as Nataraja (Lord of Dance). The diagonals in the composition and the full-scale figure that seems to strain the boundaries of the page both add a dynamic tension to the work.
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