Benares (No. 1)

Benares (No. 1)

Object Title:

Benares (No. 1)




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 (4984)

Object Number:



One of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi (Benares) is sacred to the Hindu deity Shiva, making it an important pilgrimage site. It is especially famous for its ghats, stairways providing access to the Ganges River. Many Hindus believe that bathing in the Ganges has a purifying effect, and adherents from all over the world visit the city to purify themselves in its waters. Here Bartlett shows a scene of bathers gathering on the ghats. This painting was done early in Bartlett's residence in Hawaii, only a year after he first arrived in the islands in 1917. The founder of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Anna Rice Cooke, was one of Bartlett's most faithful patrons, and this is probably one of the first paintings she bought from him. This work was donated by Mrs. Cooke (together with the other two Bartlett oil paintings on display in this gallery) in the year that the museum opened to the public. (2009)