Amritsar (The Lake by the Golden Temple)

Amritsar (The Lake by the Golden Temple)

Object Title:

Amritsar (The Lake by the Golden Temple)




Charles W. Bartlett


British, 1860 - 1940


Oil on canvas


30 1/2 x 41 in. (77.5 x 104.1 cm)

Credit Line:

Gift of Anna Rice Cooke, 1927 (4974)

Object Number:



Amritsar, the "Lake of Holy Nectar," is located in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, near the border with Pakistan. An important historic region, the area is connected with the ancient Hindu epic the Ramayana, and is believed to be near the hermitage of the sage Valmiki, where Rama's wife Sita took refuge during her exile. Amritsar is particularly sacred to the Sikh religion, and is the location of the Harmandir Sahib, or Golden Temple, the most important Sikh place of worship. Completed in 1604, the Golden Temple is one of the most recognizable monuments in India, and already was an important tourist destination by the time Bartlett visited South Asia in 1914. However, Bartlett seems to have been more fascinated by the distinctive light of the area around the lake and the tapestry of colors offered by pilgrims and other visitors. His paintings and prints of Amritsar tend to focus on the human elements of the city, with the Golden Temple usually taking a subsidiary role in the background, as in this painting, where its presence is only suggested by the golden reflection on the lake. (2009)