Greatest Artist in the History of Indian Art

Raja Ravi Varma Koil Thampuran was a celebrated Indian painter and artist. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art for a number of aesthetic and broader social reasons.

Nineteenth-century India was popular within the West because of its miniature paintings. These included Mughal and Rajput paintings and also forms   – Pattachitra from  Orissa, Madhubani art from Bihar, or perhaps the Thanjavur painting originating in Tanjore.  While the forms varied, a common thread running through was the flat rendition of the figures.  This changed with the coming of Raja Ravi Verma.

Originally from Kilimanoor, Kerala, Ravi Varma belonged to royal lineage.  He was brought to the royal palace of Thiruvananthapuram where he was instructed in art and became aware of the various Indian and Western styles of the times. 

Oil as a medium was just being introduced, and not many who knew the technique. Ravi Varma taught himself the medium by observing a Dutch painter, Theodor Janson, who was on a visit to the court.

Raja Ravi Varma’s studio

Raja Ravi Varma’s studio

Raja Ravi Varma’s studio now lies in destroyed condition. The roof plus some of the walls of the building is shambled. The studio was a present towards the great painter by Maharaja of Baroda.It is situated in the compounds of Lukshmi Villas Palace just back to Moti Baug Palace.


Raja Ravi Verma


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Stolen Interview





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Lady in the Moon Light


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Raja Ravi Varma was acknowledged as the father of modern Indian art for essentially two causes.The Primary Reason was that he was the first one to blend European academic techniques with Indian sensibilities.




Portrait of a Lady


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Lady Holding The Fruit

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Rani Bharani Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi


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Focusing on realism, Ravi Varma gave importance towards the details, the play of light and shadows, adding depth simply by making use of perspective in the paintings. It was an extraordinary shift in the style of art that was painted then.



Mrs. Ramanadha Rao & son


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Jatayu wars with Ravana


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Sri Shanmukha Subramania Swami


Ravi Varma’s expeditions within the country spread across a developing topography is reflected in his extensive body of work.  His younger brother Raja Raja Varma, an excellent painter in his right, assisted Ravi Varma in his art and managed his businesses.



Lady Holding The Lamp


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Shakuntala - Looks Of Love


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Besides being among the finest Indian artists to do portraits, Ravi Varma made his niche using the Pauranic paintings which made him so famous.Acclaimed as the father of Indian calendar art, Raja Ravi Varma literally bought life into the Hindu characters.



Kerala Royal Lady


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Here Comes Papa

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Krishna Yashoda

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Up to then, a lot of these characters, which were painted were flat, and in addition to deities was recognized only by their accessories. In tune with modern realism, Raja Ravi Varma gave them a face with which to be identified.





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Goddess Laxmi


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Episodes from the Hindu epics came to life, in full-bodied form – color and emotion that were palpable.One other reason which made the painter so remarkable was his vision – he established a printing press in Mumbai in 1894 with the aid of a German expert Fritz Schleicher.



Lady Playing The Veena


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Fresh from Bath


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Goddess Saraswathi


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The press churned out cheap oleographs of his paintings. Suddenly, the bazaars were flooded with posters of an overabundance of deities. The Cheap prints made him a commoner’s painter.



Shantanu woos Satyavati, the fisherwoman


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Radha Waiting For Krishna In Kunjavan


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The genre of Pauranic paintings was also instrumental in constructing a national consciousness.



Maharastrian Lady


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Yashoda Adoring Krishna


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Lady With Swarbat


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It was also at a time in India’s chronology when national sensibilities were taking root.  His Veda-reflective art blended with the mood of the nation,  gaining popularity. The beginning of Indian Cinema was also routed in Raja Ravi Varma’s story.



Hamsa Damyanthi


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Birth of Shakuntala



A Photographer named Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, joined Ravi Varma at his press, excelling in lithographs and oleographs. A little later he set up his press before eventually reeling India’s first moving picture – Raja Harishchandra in 1912.



Krishna Sandhan



Krishna Drishta


Madalasa And Rutudwaj


Raja Ravi Varma passed away in 1906.For a long time after his death, his prints continued to adorn the walls of middle-class homes; but, soon after, he was condemned by the schools of art emerging later.


Malabar Lady Holding The Veena



Arjuna Subhadra


A Belle Of Malabar

Nonetheless, in his heyday, the globally known, much-awarded artist set the visual language of India.  His influence is still felt – right from match-box labels, tin sweets boxes, religious and political posters,  calendar art to early Indian cinematic aesthetics. Many even laud him because the father of Indian advertising, as well as the pop culture associated with the day want to idolize him as the father of Indian kitsch.





In Contemplation


Ganga and Shantanu

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Tharun Bangera
Travel Blogger l Travel Vlogger l Photographer l Big Foodie l Food Critic l Love Listening to Oldies English Songs:60s,70s,80s,90s l Love Detective Conan l


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