Michelangelo’s David Vs Nellaiappar Arjuna – part 2

In part 1, we compared David poised to strike with the sculpture of Karna in Nellaiappar temple. We continue the narration today by viewing the scene from the view of Protagonist of the battle – the mighty Arjuna ( my personal preferences are with Karna though) – to recap we are in day 16 of the great battle @ Kurukshetra. Previously having sat out the great battle for 10 days, Karna being kept out by the guile of the great Bhishmar , has set his eyes to slay Arjuna – but from day 11 to 16 – the battle flows with the Pandavas gaining the upper hand thanks mostly to the Krishna. Krishna is said to have praised Karna in front of Arjuna thus

“Do not. O mighty-armed one, disregard Karna, that ornament of battle! Karna is possessed of might. He is proud and accomplished in weapons. He is a Maharatha. He is accomplished (in the ways of battle) and conversant with all modes of warfare. He is also well-acquainted with all that suits place and time. What need is there of saying much? Hear in brief, O son of Pandu! I regard the mighty car-warrior Karna as thy equal, or perhaps, thy superior! With the greatest care and resolution shouldn’t thou slay him in great battle. In energy he is equal to Agni. As regards speed, he is equal to the impetuosity of the wind. In wrath, he resembles the Destroyer himself. Endued with might, he resembles a lion in the formation of his body. He is eight rathis in stature. His arms are large. His chest is broad. He is invincible. He is sensitive. He is a hero. He is, again, the foremost of heroes. He is exceedingly handsome. Possessed of every accomplishment of a warrior, he is a dispeller of the fears of friends.”

Lets us see the classic faceoff between the two.

Now, Arjuna knows that the Nagastra has been taken up by Karna, let us see his expression ( not to mention his long beard and it seems to be tied up in a knot at the end as well)

The overall poise is that of someone who knows that he has no answer to the bolt that is going to be hurled at him, his left leg is slightly back and his body tilted a bit – on the back foot.

You can compare the torso of the two, and you can see that Arjuna’s chest is relaxed.

Compare it to the torso of Karna, with its bulging chest and exposed ribs

Yet, Arjuna has an arrow out of his quiver in his hand. Maybe, he is confident that Krishna would find a way to save him !

The portrayal is useful to compare against David.

Ofcourse, the detailing of the knee caps of the ligament in hard granite of Arjuna is outstanding

For such a colossal work in stone, the way he holds the arrow shaft , the ribs of the feather on the shaft, the posture of the fingers and the detailing of the nails !

Definitely time stands still as the master sculptor sculpted his scene in stone.