Vishnu: Hinduism's Blue-Skinned Savior

Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior is the first major museum exhibition to focus on Vishnu, one of Hinduism’s three major deities.

Art Exhibition previously on at Brooklyn Museum of Art in United States.
From Friday 24 June 2011 to Sunday 02 October 2011

Varaha Rescuing the Earth, Page from an illustrated Dashavatara series; circa 1730–40 image Vishnu Saving the Elephant (Gajendra Moksha) image Vishnu in His Cosmic Sleep, circa 12th century image Krishna Fluting for the Gopis image Standing Vishnu, 5th century. image Two-Sided Stele with Vishnu (Flanked by Personified Attributes) and Durga image Two-Sided Stele with Vishnu (Flanked by Personified Attributes) and Durga image Lakshmi Massaging the Foot of Vishnu, circa 1765–70. image Standing Vishnu, circa 14th century image Miniature Shrine for an Icon or Ritual Object, 19th century image Krishna and Radha in a Grove, circa 1720 image Vishnu, late 4th–early 5th century image Lakshmi-Narayana, 10th century image Yoga-Narasimha, 12th century image Vishnupada, circa 500  image Vishnupada, circa 500 image

Published by Brooklyn Museum on Friday 01 April 2011.
Contact the publisher.

Presenting approximately 170 paintings, sculptures, and ritual objects that were made in India between the fourth and twentieth centuries, this exhibition serves as a brief survey of Hindu art styles as well as an examination of the Vaishnava (Vishnu-worshipping) tradition.

Known as Hinduism’s gentle god, Vishnu is easily recognized in paintings by his blue skin. While he is an interesting figure in his primary form, the complexity of Vishnu’s character becomes clear when he assumes new forms, known as avatars, in order to save the earth from various dangers. Vishnu’s ten avatars reveal the multiplicity of ways that one can envision and interact with the divine.

The first section of the exhibition introduces Vishnu in his primary form, with subsections dedicated to his attributes, his consorts, and his legends. The second section examines his avatars, as a group and then individually. The avatars that are more frequently celebrated in art are fully represented in the exhibition, with substantial subsections dedicated to Rama and Krishna. The third section shows some of the ways in which Vishnu has been worshipped, with images of temples and ritual objects.

Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior has been organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, and curated by Joan Cummins, Lisa and Bernard Selz Curator of Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Selz Foundation, Inc., Katharine and Rohit Desai, Gary Smith and Teresa Kirby, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky, an anonymous donor, and other generous supporters.