Mahabharata 15, Arjuna with Chariot (detail), 1971
On view November 4, 2006 to June 3, 2007
Located in the: Contemporary Indian Art - Herwitz Gallery
The Mahabharata is one of India’s oldest and most beloved epics, and the source of stories and teachings that have been part of life in India for two thousand years. M. F. Husain, India’s best-known contemporary artist, first painted a series of works about the epic for the 1971 São Paulo Bienal. For Husain, the central paradox of the epic, and of human nature, is the competition and jealousies that divide members of a family, forcing them to choose sides and moving them all inexorably towards an Armageddon. Drawn primarily from the Peabody Essex Museum’s Herwitz Collection of contemporary Indian art, the exhibition features 20 works inspired by Husain’s vision of the Mahabharata.