Escapade at Night: A Nobleman Climbs a Rope to Visit His Beloved, ca. 1800–1810
Attributed to Chokha (Indian, active 1799–1825)
India (Rajasthan, Mewar)
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; overall 12 1/4 x 16 1/8 in. (31.1 x 41 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2006 (2006.451)
This Mewari painting, in an unusual oval format, has been attributed to Chokha, a gifted court artist and son of the master painter Baghta. In the early nineteenth century, Chokha produced a series of dramatic night scenes in which protagonists were highlighted against sober yet richly detailed backgrounds. In this atmospheric scene, a nobleman climbs a rope that presumably has been lowered from a rooftop pavilion to facilitate a tryst with his mistress. Within the palace, the lady wearing a diaphanous gown lies upon a low bed and is flanked by attendants. The quiet of the night is conveyed by the sleeping guards, cows, monkeys, and darkened city in the far distance.