India (Rajasthan, Bikaner)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper; Image: 6 5/8 x 9 5/8 in. (16.8 x 24.4 cm); Page: 9 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (24.4 x 30.2 cm)
Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2002 (2002.176)
The blue infant Krishna is shown killing the demoness Putana, who had disguised herself as a beautiful woman in order to kill him. Sensing her perfidy, Krishna is able to suck up her poison milk and drain her of life without harming himself. The demoness, revealed in her true form, lies prostrate beneath him. Two women and a child prostrate toward the giant figure and a house is seen to the left. The picture is made more dramatic by the large field of red in the background. Red is often used in early paintings to highlight the emotional vibrancy of an event. The style of this work is transitional between that of early indigenous Indian paintings and the more naturalistic style of the Mughals that was adopted at the court of Bikaner as early as the 1630s.