Greatest painters in the history of Indian art , Raja Ravi Varma

Raja Ravi Varma was an Indian painter and artist, considered as one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art. Raja Ravi Varma is known for his amazing paintings, which revolve mainly around the Puranas (ancient mythological stories) and thegreat Indian epics – Mahabharata and Ramayana. Ravi Varma is one of the few painters who managed to accomplish a beautiful union of Indian tradition with the techniques of European academic art. This is one of the reasons why he is considered as one of the most, if not the most prominent Indian painters. Varma was also responsible in taking the Indian art all over the world with his impeccable technique. While the Europeans and other art lovers admired his technique, the laymen of India enjoyed his work for its simplicity. More often than not, Varma’s paintings highlighted the beauty of South Indian women which were admired by all. His portrayal of Hindu gods and goddesses went on to become worship material for many people belonging to the lower castes. Back then, these people were often forbidden from entering temples and thus they celebrated Varma’s works, for they gave them an idea of how the deities looked inside the temple. He also managed to improve the artistic knowledge and spread the importance of art among Indian people. He achieved this by making affordable lithographs, which were accessible even to the poor. Alternatively, this also made him a household name and Raja Ravi Varma soon captured the hearts of all. Recognizing his feat, Viceroy Lord Curzon honored him with the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal for his service in thefurtherance of public interest.

Great Paintings of Raja Ravi Varma

Raja Ravi Varma produced many masterpieces of art during his life. Here is a comprehensive list of some of the most prominent works of Raja Ravi Varma:

  • A Family of Beggars – This painting represented the sorry state of Indian economics.
  • A Lady Playing Swarbat – Just like many of his paintings, this too, was modelled after a South Indian woman.
A Lady Playing Swarbat

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  • Arjuna and Subhadra – This painting narrates a story from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
  • Damayanti Talking to a Swan – This too is a scene straight out of Mahabharata.
  • Draupadi Dreading to meet Kichaka – Once again, this picture narrates a story from Mahabharata.
  • Girl in Sage Kanwa’s Hermitage (Rishi-Kanya) – This story talks about the story of Shakuntala.
  • Jatayu (a bird devotee of Lord Rama) – This is perhaps one of the most commonly featured work of Raja Ravi Varma. The picture narrates the story of Jatayu who gives up its life after fighting the mighty villain Ravana from Ramayanam.

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