The Hindu god Vishnu reigns supreme as a divine sovereign entrusted with maintaining the stability and prosperity of the universe. When things go awry and the universe is threatened with chaos and disorder, Vishnu sends out different animal and human forms of himself (“descents” or avataras) to creatively solve cosmic problems.
In a colorfully illustrated lecture titled “Vishnu’s Divine Descents: Saving the World one Avatar at a Time” Cynthia Packert, Christian A. Johnson Professor in the History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College, discusses the myths, meanings, and various artistic manifestations of Vishnu’s avataras, with a focus on his multiple human guises. Examples are drawn from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and the Rani ki Vav stepwell in Patan, Gujarat.
To learn more about the Avatars of Vishnu exhibition, click HERE.
This lecture has been made possible through the generous financial support of the Christian Humann Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.