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Master Artist – Raja Ravi Varma

Raja Ravi Varma-Indian Artist

One of the first painters of the British India to use European techniques and methods to bring out his works and paint, Raja Ravi Varma, is one of the most prominent artists India has ever had.

Born in a town in Kerala, Kilimanoor, Raja Ravi Varma's paintings are an ode to the coherence of his birthplace and the simplicity of the women belonging to the place. He was one of the first and few painters to have adapted European academic art (true-to-life realistic paintings), and blend it with Indian folk and grassroot sensibilities. His paintings also depict the living conditions and the lifestyles of people that inhabit the place and mould themselves according to the surroundings.

South Indian Lady-Raja Ravi Varma Print

Kerala Royal Lady by Raja Ravi Varma (Reproduction)


Although born and brought up in a well to do family, filled with artists, Raja Ravi varma made sure that his art is available to all, without the bondages of established hierarchies of the society. His paintings of Gods and Goddesses, that were made accessible to the lower sections of society, were a great boon to them, since they were discriminated from entering the temple premises, and his paintings were used by the households for worshipping.

Goddess Saraswati by Raja Ravi Varma

Goddess Saraswati by Raja Ravi Varma (Reproduction)


Characterstic of His Paintings:

- Raja Ravi Varma's paintings can be categorised with three kinds of depiction-

  1. Potraits

  2. Configurations of Potraits

  3. Depiction of the events in mythological scriptures


- Most of his paintings have elaborate and ornated clothes and jewellery on the characters in the paintings.

- His daughter Mahaprabha, can be seen portrayed in a lot of his paintings with his wife Bhageerathi Bayi.

The Daughter- Raja Ravi Varma

The Daughter and The Mother by Raja Ravi varma (Reproduction)


The Lithograph Press:

Along with Paintings, Raja Ravi Varma also produced works through a Lithograph Press that he first established in Ghatkopar, Mumbai. The press was run on the principle of using the immiscble properties of water and oil. The colors were extracted from limestones or smoother surface of metals. The press helped make the prints for his works and avail it in larger quantities.

His works still remain one of the best ever produced in the field of fine art, and we respect the legacy left behind by this legendary Artist.

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