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Mother and Daughter

Mother and Daughter
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Time required to recreate this artwork
4 to 6 weeks
Advance to be paid now
$49.00 (20%)
Balance to be paid once product is ready
Item Code: OS16
Oil on Canvas
33.0 inches X 24.0 inches
This painting, a portrait of two women, one, a young girl, and other, one of the advanced age, perhaps a daughter and her mother, is a brilliant attempt at discovering in the simplest forms and few colours a theme – a mother dressing up her daughter, as also the minds of the two figures, a young girl’s apprehensions, indecision, fears and perhaps hopes in regard to future she is going to face, and a mother’s anxiety to know what is going on in her daughter’s mind, as also her worries and fears. Visually it appears to be a simple theme: a woman of advanced age combing a young woman’s hair. As suggest the jewellery box and the necklace lying along other articles, a small looking-glass and an oil-bottle among others, she is dressing her up for some formal occasion, perhaps meeting her husband after a period of tension and discord. With deep concern reflecting on her face the elderly woman is in all probabilities her mother, or one with mother-like concern, though the girl’s social status, a middle or upper middle class family, hardly supports the contention that the family could have a regular maid for the purpose.

The painting, rendered pursuing late nineteenth century Bazaar art style, especially its idiom as practised in Bengal, is a brilliant example of discovering a theme in portraits of the represented figures, again one of the main characteristics of this late nineteenth century art style finding its best accomplishment in the paintings of Raja Ravi Verma who was primarily responsible for giving to portraits also thematic dimensions. This painting primarily portrays two women in their fullness, their appearance, social status, customs, costume-styles, mutual relationship, and even theology, as also each one’s mind, its apprehensions and fears, and its anxiety and concern, something that in modern art a portrait was required to essentially accomplish.

In all probabilities the painting portrays a young married girl, reconciled to her husband, readying to go to him. Vermilion applied on her hair-parting decisively indicates her marital status. Reconciliation apart, apprehensions and doubts yet lurk in her mind, and hence some reluctance. A matured woman, the young damsel would dress herself up if it was her own choice. That initiative and enthusiasm is completely missing in her portrayal. She has facing her a mirror but her eyes seem to be looking elsewhere, perhaps within her, to a past event, or to a future fear, a sore memory or a painful tomorrow. A broken one, her seating posture suggests that she has submitted herself to her mother’s wish, though in turn the mother, too, is not much confident of how the things would shape or take a turn. She is holding in one hand the comb, and in the other, a braid of her hair, but her eyes are directed to neither of them.

The scene has been composed on a large terrace covering horizontally almost half of the canvas. The two women are seated on temporarily laid matting. A few subdued forms apart, a faint moon in the sky, a distant hill-range, a lake with a flight of steps and a pair of swans-like aquatic birds in it, some shadows-like looking trees with cypresses rising above others, and a marble railing identifying a part of the terrace from the rest, the background is broadly an expanse of greenish-grey void. Such background affords an appropriate setting to the portrayed figures for as necessitated the theme they have neither glowing faces reflecting inner lustre nor brilliant costume and jewels.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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