Raja Ravi Varma

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    In Context

    • One of his significant paintings, Draupadi Vastraharan by Raja Rai Varma is expected to fetch between Rs 15 and Rs 20 crore at an auction.

    Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906)

    • About:
      • Ravi Varma (1848–1906) was one of the first Indian painters to successfully adopt Western painting techniques and adapt academic realism to the visual interpretation of Indian mythology. 
    • Background and History:
      • He was born into aristocracy at Kilimanoor in the erstwhile Travancore state of present-day Kerala.
      • At the age of 14, Varma was patronised by Ayilyam Thirunal, the then ruler of Travancore.
      • Later, Varma studied oil painting from British painter Theodore Jensen. 
      • Varma worked on both portrait and landscape paintings and is considered among the first Indian artists to use oil paints.
    • His work:
      • Raja Ravi Varma, also known as ‘The Father of Modern Indian Art’ was an Indian painter of the 18th century who attained fame and recognition for portraying scenes from the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
      • He painted the picture of God and Goddess that helped Dalits, who were prohibited from entering temples to know about the Gods.
      • He used oil paint colours rather than watercolours.
      • In his painting, he has shown the position of Indian men and women like how they were treated at that time.
      • His works are the best examples for the fusion of European techniques with Indian sensibility.
      • As a prolific artist, Raja Ravi Varma is believed to have made around 7,000 paintings before his death at the age of 58. His most famous works include Damayanti Talking to a Swan, Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, and Shantanu and Matsyagandha.
    • Awards and honours:
      • His 1873 painting, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, won Varma prestigious awards including the Governor’s Gold Medal when it was presented in the Madras Presidency.
      • He won the first prize in the Vienna Art Exhibition in 1873 and four movies have been documented based on Ravi Varma’s life tenure.
      • He was also awarded three gold medals at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
      • In 1904, the British colonial government awarded Varma with the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal. In 2013, a crater on the planet Mercury was named in his honour.
      • According to the Guinness World Records, the most expensive saree named ‘Vivah Patu’ in the world is an 8-kg sari priced at Rs 40 lakh and pays tribute to his paintings.

    Source: IE