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Immersing in the World of Radha and Krishna: Visual Storytelling in the Context of Religious Practice


Widmer, Caroline (2020). Immersing in the World of Radha and Krishna: Visual Storytelling in the Context of Religious Practice. In: Johannsen, Dirk; Kirsch, Anja; Kreinath, Jens. Narrative Cultures and the Aesthetics of Religion. Leiden: Brill, 270-292.

Abstract

Narration is not limited to textual formats, but is equally present in the performative or fine arts. However, the connection and relationship between narrative content and artistic expression have often been of minor interest. In philological studies, it is still common to consider paintings merely as illustrative accompaniment to the text, whereas for art historians, one of literature’s benefit lies in the possibility of identifying obscure, vague, or indistinct imagery. Addressing the resulting research gap, this chapter explores the imaginative practice related to the interplay of visual and textual storytelling in a religious context. Considering the multiple cognitive effects and worldmaking qualities of fiction, as well as the religious content of Indian art and many Indian stories, attending or practicing religious storytelling can also be interpreted as a religious practice. Referring to a painted series of the Gitagovinda, a religious poem dating back to the twelfth century AD on the love between the Hindu god Krishna and the shepherd girl Radha, artistic methods of transmitting narrative devices and conveying emotions are revealed. The immersive and imaginative impact of paintings and text are also associated with the bhakti movement.

Abstract

Narration is not limited to textual formats, but is equally present in the performative or fine arts. However, the connection and relationship between narrative content and artistic expression have often been of minor interest. In philological studies, it is still common to consider paintings merely as illustrative accompaniment to the text, whereas for art historians, one of literature’s benefit lies in the possibility of identifying obscure, vague, or indistinct imagery. Addressing the resulting research gap, this chapter explores the imaginative practice related to the interplay of visual and textual storytelling in a religious context. Considering the multiple cognitive effects and worldmaking qualities of fiction, as well as the religious content of Indian art and many Indian stories, attending or practicing religious storytelling can also be interpreted as a religious practice. Referring to a painted series of the Gitagovinda, a religious poem dating back to the twelfth century AD on the love between the Hindu god Krishna and the shepherd girl Radha, artistic methods of transmitting narrative devices and conveying emotions are revealed. The immersive and imaginative impact of paintings and text are also associated with the bhakti movement.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Institute of Religious Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
290 Other religions
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:04 Jun 2020 09:32
Last Modified:23 Jul 2024 01:39
Publisher:Brill
Series Name:Supplements to Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Number:14
ISSN:2214-3270
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004421677_012
Related URLs:https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004421677/BP000014.xml?body=pdf-29704 (Publisher)