Escapade at Night:

Artist: Attributed to Chokha (Indian, active 1799–ca. 1826)

Date: ca. 1800–10

Culture: India (Rajasthan, Mewar)

Medium: Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper

Dimensions: Image: 11 1/2 x 14 7/8 in. (29.2 x 37.8 cm)
Page: 12 3/16 x 15 15/16 in. (31 x 40.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2006

Accession Number: 2006.451


A nobleman ascends a rope to visit his lover, who reclines within the palace’s defended walls. The clandestine tryst is a theme that runs through the poetry of this period, and certainly the tension of this forbidden act would have appealed to royal tastes. Presenting this scene in the somber tones of night is an innovation of the artist Chokha, who followed his father, Bagta, as the major Mewar painter during this period. Chokha gives the painting a sense of drama by juxtaposing the quietude of the sleeping cows and guards with the brightly colored protagonists and a roiling band of black thunderclouds.