Maqbool Fida Husain (b. 1915)
- Maqbool Fida Husain
- Signed in Devanagari lower right and signed, dated and inscribed 'Husain/ IX 67/ J. 20' on reverse
- Oil on canvas
- 33 1/4 by 22 in. (84.2 by 56 cm.)
This painting relates to an ongoing series of works by Husain including a work entitled 'Black Moon' (1960) which shows a similar veiled woman kneeling next to a lamp. The symbol of the lamp is seen in many of Husain's early works to represent sexual arousal or unrequited love and the theme draws upon a common theme in Indian miniature painting of a young maiden awaiting the return of her lover. Husain cleverly juxtaposes bright colors in the lamp and costume of the woman with a darkened veiled face to give the work a 'quiet tension'.
The veiled face likewise appears to relate to Husain's own upbringing in a Muslim household. 'Husain's women are always enshrouded in an invisible veil, the simplicity of their form countered by their inaccessability. They could well be women from his own childhood in a Muslim household, where the feminine presence alternates between the secretive and the visible. The suppressed yearning could be for his mother, who died when he was only two years old, leaving him feeling permanently bereft...The ascetic purity of the woman is countered by the gas lamp that stands sentinel to her thoughts.' (Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, p. 111).