Mother and Child
Attributed to Chokha, Indian, active 1799 - 1824
This unusual painting is based on a European image of the Madonna and baby Jesus. However, the brilliantly idiosyncratic artist Chokha reinterprets his European prototype in a manner very different from its meaning in the Christian context. Chokha turns the unfamiliar foreign mother into a half-comical, half-disturbing statement on the legendarily (to his Indian audience) excessive sexuality of European women. In this bizarre vision, Chokha also carries to a high point the modeling effects of light and shade that were introduced to Indian artists through European art. Chokha probably attained knowledge of European images while working at the Mewar royal capital of Udaipur, not far from his hometown of Deogarh, where he also worked.