Who was Raja Ravi Varma?

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Who was Raja Ravi Varma? Blog Image


The first true copy of the painting Indulekha by Raja Ravi Varma will be unveiled at the Kilimanoor Palace, Kerala, where the eminent artist was born in 1848, on the occasion of his 176th birth anniversary celebrations.

About Raja Ravi Varma:

  • He was an Indian painter and artist.
  • He is considered one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art.
  • He was born as Ravi VarmaKoil Thampuran of Kilimanoor palace, in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore (Thiruvithankur) in Kerala. 
  • He is known for his amazing paintings, which revolve mainly around the Puranas (ancient mythological stories) and the great Indian epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
  • In addition to incidents in Hindu mythology, Varma painted many portraits of both Indians and British in India.
  • He is believed to have made around 7,000 paintings before his death at the age of 58.
  • His most famous works include Damayanti Talking to a Swan, Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, and Shantanu and Matsyagandha
  • Features of his work:
    • Before Raja Rai Varma’s paintings, the paintings of Indian artists were greatly influenced by the Persian and Mughal schools.
    • Varma was the first Indian to use Western techniques of perspective and composition and to adapt them to Indian subjects, styles, and themes.
    • His works are one of the best examples of the fusion of European academic artwith a purely Indian sensibility and iconography
    • He was one of the first Indian artists to use oil paints and to master the art of lithographic reproduction of his work.
    • He was notable for making affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure. 
    • His paintings often depicted mythological characters and Indian royalty in a realistic style, challenging traditional artistic norms.
  • Recognitions:
    • He received widespread acclaim after he won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna in 1873.
    • His paintings were also sent to the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, and he was awarded two gold medals.
    • In 1904, Viceroy Lord Curzon, on behalf of the King Emperor, bestowed upon Raja Ravi Varma the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal. At this time, his name was mentioned as “Raja Ravi Varma” for the first time.

Q1: What is lithography?

A lithograph is a piece of art that involves drawing an image onto a plate. These plates can be made from several materials, but the most common is a piece of limestone or metal. Depending on the method used, original lithograph art is created by treating the hand-drawn image with a special solution. The image is then transferred to paper and can be used and reused multiple times.

Source: First true copy of Ravi Varma’s Indulekha to be unveiled on Monday