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The Figure of Radha in Miniature Paintings: From the Pastoral to the Courtly, from Text to Visuality, from Polyphony to Normativity
Religion & Gender
This article analyses how Radha was depicted in miniature paintings between the 16th and 19th century in North India. Interrogating the link between text and image, contrasting poetry, style and historical settings with the visual representations of this central figure, my reflections focus on the changing nature of Radha. Through various examples from miniature paintings of different periods and schools, this article analyses the way the rich personality of Radha was transposed into images. In order to stress the changes brought to this female figure, I compare her to Krishna, the masculine figure who is always at her side. The main goal of the article is to show the normative power of images on the figure of Radha, with normativity being understood as the simplification, iconisation, aestheticisation and stereotypification of a figure with polysemous references.
Radha, visuality, normativity, Indian miniature painting, iconotext, Braj literature
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