Bridget Riley, Nataraja, 1993

From the Tate Collection:

Nataraja is an exemplary diagonal stripe painting. The surface is divided vertically and diagonally, creating a multiplicity of discrete areas of colour. The complexity of the colour relationships is formidable. Many of the colours exist in as many as twenty different shades. The position of each of these elements has been carefully judged in terms of correspondence, contrast and proportion.

Nataraja is a term from Hindu mythology, which means Lord of the Dance. It refers to the Hindu god Siva (Shiva) in his form as the cosmic dancer. Sculptures of the dancing Siva, who is usually presented with four arms, are displayed in most Saiva temples in South India. Siva’s dance represents his importance as the source for all movement in the universe. Riley’s use of the term Nataraja thus refers to the emphasis on rhythm and counter-rhythm, which are central elements in the painting.

 

Posted on April 11 2012, with 167 Notes

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