Day Break at the Hermitage

UnknownMid 19th Century

National Museum - New Delhi

National Museum - New Delhi
New Delhi , India

Dawn is about to break and the rays of the morning sun have not yet washed over the sky. A faint twinkling of the stars speckle the surface of the slate-grey sky. In the distance, little silhouettes of the dark pines dot the mountains, or emerge against the silvery-grey sky.

The faint light of the night fades the vibrant hues of the forest into dull tones of grey. Bathed in the coolness of the night, undisturbed by the warmth of the day, everything in the sanctuary of the hermitage is still and quiet. Even the birds perched upon the trees are still asleep, their feathers puffed up, eyes shut and heads curled into a deep sleep.

Even before the birds could stir, the day however has already begun for the inhabitants of the hermitage. Accustomed to an austere lifestyle, the boy sage has already woken up, relinquishing his bed as he walks towards the forest, his deer skin wrapped around his shoulders, his water vessel in his hand. The place where he lay asleep in the night on the porch, is conspicuously vacant, his bedding has been folded and set aside.

Shakuntala and her companions meanwhile put up an immense struggle against sleep. Anasuya and Priyamvada have valiantly risen but still wage a battle against the dreamless - the artist depicts their drowsy heads lolling on their hands as they sit up, squatting. Shakuntala, depicted in dull mauves behind the tree adjoining the little hut, still lies on her bed propped up against the trunk of the tree, sleeping blissfully.

Within the cool hues tempered by the faint light that suffuses the entire painting, the brighter hues of the clothes that the figures wear make them stand out conspicuously. Despite the faint light, the artist delineates the individual leaves, the folds of the drapery, crevices on the rocks, the texture of the trunks of the trees and even the closed eyes and the feathers of the birds asleep on the trees with vivid detail and clarity.


  • Title: Day Break at the Hermitage
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Mid 19th Century
  • Physical Dimensions: 33 x 37 cm
  • Style: Nalagarh / Hindur
  • Accession Number: 89.503/15

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