Raja Ravi Varma – The Father Of Modern Indian Art

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One of the most renowned artists in the history of Kerala and the entire Indian subcontinent is Raja Ravi Varma of Kilimanoor Kovilakam. He is often referred to as the father of Modern Indian art and is particularly well-known for his striking oil paintings.

Raja Ravi Varma. Circa 1891 AD

On April 29, 1848, the head of the Kilimanoor Royal family gave birth to Ravi Varma. His family was a very significant one in the Travancore kingdom. For 200 years, Ravi Varma’s family was charged with producing male noblemen to wed the Travancore Royal Princesses. As a result, the family had ties to the ruling Travancore Royal family.

Puthen Malika Palace, Kilimanoor

When Ravi Varma was 18 years old, his career as a painter truly began to take off. He paid a visit to the Maharajah of Travancore in 1866, who was impressed by some of his early creations. The British officer Edgar Thurston was called by the Maharajah and assigned the duty of teaching the young Ravi Varma everything there is to know about water painting to Mr. Rama Swami Naidu. Mr. Theodor Jenson, one of his subsequent instructors, taught Ravi Varma the fundamentals of oil painting. Ravi Varma started his official career as a painter once he had mastered the art.

Ravi Varma was given widespread recognition when he won an award for his oil paintings that were at display at Vienna, Austria.

The fact that Ravi Varma drew Hindu and Indian goddesses using western techniques, which had never been done before, helped him become immensely well-liked among Kerala’s working class. Ravi Varma created paintings that were more realistic than ever by utilising cutting-edge techniques that were then regarded as unconventional.

Ravi Varma was alive for more than 50 years. His actual life was considerably dissimilar from the dreams shown in his artwork. At a very young age, Ravi Varma wed Bhagirathi Bayi Thampurathi of Mavelikara. Over 300 paintings were created by Ravi Varma during his lifetime. The governor general of India presented the Kaisar-E-Hind Medal to Ravi Varma.

One of Ravi Varma’s most popular paintings was that of Princess Damayanti, the wife of King Nala:

Damayanti receives King Nala’s message of love.

Shakuntala was the celebrated lover and wife of King Dushyanta. She is also the mother of Bharata Chakravartin from whom India gets it’s native name.

Shakuntala, Drawn By Raja Ravi Varma. 1870 AD.

Some of Ravi Varma’s other paintings:

Prince Arjuna meets the love of his life:

The Victory of Indrajit:

Sri Rama conquers the Oceans on his way to Lanka:

The Asura King Ravana Kills the eagle named Jatayu:

Maharajah Shantanu meets Satyavati, the fisher women:

Some of his paintings on real people:

The Maharashtrian lady:

Woman holding a fruit:

There comes papa:

Lady playing the Swarabat:

Galaxy of Musicians:

The Gypsies:

He died during the year 1906 AD. Ravi Varma’s descendants ended up being adopted into the royal family of Travancore and are currently active in cultural activities in Kerala.

Also Read – Musical Pillars In Theruneveli Nelaiyappar Temple

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