Monday, August 18, 2008

Popularizing Raja Ravi Varma

The creations of Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), the great Indian painter, are superb and very popular all over the world. (See Raja Ravi Varma: A Movie on the Royal Painter)

We recently picked up a set of his paintings in the deco art format from an art and craft fair in Chennai. They are set on treated wood and are quite true to the originals. The pieces can be either stood on tables or hung on walls.

According to the suppliers, ‘Deco-painting is a Greek art form which originated during the 17th century.’ Anyway, deco-art was popular during the first half of the 20th century.

What is now available in the market should make copies of Raja Ravi Varma masterpieces available to the common man. The 13x13 cm size we bought costs Rs.100 each. Bigger ones are available also.

My photographs of the pieces are rather poor quality, but nevertheless I am reproducing them below:

Click on images to enlarge.


Anonymous said...

Mysore Maharajas had a collection of Ravi Verma paintings which used to be on show on special occasions in Mysore Jaganmohan Palace building in 1950s and 60s. We were told by one of our teachers then that Raja Ravi Verma was influenced by Dutch impressionist painters, which at that time meant nothing to most of us 10 year olds.
I still remember my teacher then explaining that forte of Ravi Verma was painting deep colours with contrast in oil.

I distinctly remember that there was a painting of a lady who was covering a lamp with her hand which made a lasting impression on us. Years later, when I visited Amsterdam (Rembrandt's place) and Delft (Vermeer's place) and saw the paintings of these Dutch masters, I remembered the 'Lady with the Lamp' painting of Ravi Verma I saw in 1950s in Mysore. I was too young to know about women then! But then it is interesting to note how both the Dutch painters and Ravi Verma portrayed 'fuller women', as perhaps those days that
was how women wanted to look. Even here Ravi Verma and Dutch impressionist painters had similarity.

Unknown said...

Ram, thanks for the comment. It is true that as an young artist Ravi Varma was influenced by Western Masters.

I remember the painting that you have mentioned. It is superb. I too was under the impression that it was a Ravi Varma creation, but the post 'Glow of hope' (31/8/07) in Maddy's Ramblings says that it was by a different painter