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Raja Ravi Varma Biography 

 

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Raja Ravi Varma's Biography

A prince among painters and a painter among princes

No other Indian artist blazed as many trails as Raja Ravi Varma. He was the first Indian to master perspective, the first to use human models to depict Hindu gods and goddesses, the first to make his work available not just to the rich but to ordinary people too. The immense popularity of his work also made this deeply pious aristocrat the first Indian artist to become well known before him painters were largely anonymous.
Raja Ravi Varma was born in 1848 into the royal house of Kilimanoor, 25 miles from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala state. The Kilimanoor princes were renowned for their cultural accomplishments, and Ravi Varma's artistic talents blossomed early: by the time he was 14, he had secured the patronage of the maharaja of Travancore.

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Western painting fascinated Ravi Varma: he instinctively sympathized with its vigorous realism, so different from the stylized, contemplative Indian tradition. He also preferred oil paints, then new in India, to tempera, the traditional Indian medium. Though Ravi Varma had to teach himself the techniques of oil painting, by the early 1870s he was mixing oils perfectly, and his portraits show a remarkable ability to depict a variety of skin tones and fabrics.
Ravi Varma's career gradually took off. For the next three decades he was in great demand, with everyone from businessmen to maharajas vying to commission him. One 1888 commission by the maharaja of Baroda for 14 paintings fetched Ravi Varma Rs50, 000, an astronomical sum for the time. Ravi Varma exhibited his canvases abroad too; he won several medals at international exhibitions, including one at Vienna and two at Chicago. And he was awarded so many prizes in India that at one stage he announced that he'd no longer take part in competitions so that other artists would have a chance!
In his paintings, Ravi Varma idealized women, often making his subjects more stately and graceful than they actually were. Indeed, at one time, telling an Indian woman that she looked like a Ravi Varma painting was the ultimate compliment. Though he painted women of many communities and classes, Ravi Varma had a special fondness for depicting the sari-clad women of Bombay where he lived for many years. He found the sari then not worn in Kerala and many other parts of India with its striking colors and graceful folds especially appealing, and it's often said that the popularity of Ravi Varma's paintings helped make the sari the national dress for all Indian women.
In 1906 at the age of 58 he passed away. At the time of his death, Ravi Varma was indisputably India's best known and most honored artist. But within a few years, critical opinion turned against him. Critics and artists, some even jealous of his great success, accused him of being a sentimentalist, a mere illustrator, an unimaginative copier of European techniques and thus not Indian enough. Some even criticized him for using oils, then seen as a "colonial" medium! However, the Indian public never once rejected him. In recent years, critics too have begun to reassess him as an old master who pioneered in India the best form of fine art and based his ideas and themes on the deepest of Indian traditions. Today Ravi Varma paintings are in great demand at auctions, and fetch higher prices than for any Indian painter.

 

 

Tanjore Paintings, are a style of art that flourished with the patronage of the Maratha Kings in the 18th century in Southern India. These paintings are in the gilded and gemset technique with rich relief work.Available in Balaji, Lakshmi,Ganesh and Krishna 

The process of making Tanjore paintings require dedication and skill from the artist. Each work of art is done stage by stage using semi-precious stones to decorate and takes days to complete. These paintings are done on wooden board on which layering of clay provides a three dimensional embossed effect.


The paintings depict scenes from the ancient scriptures of Hindu religion and are unique and rich in harmony of colors, designs, and traditional techniques blended with meticulous attention to details. The composition is characteristically static and consists generally of one main figure, the diety, centrally placed. The diety is formally housed within an enclosure of a palace or temple pavilion.

These works of art from a renowned artist are now brought to you in limited quantities in the USA and are available in 2 frame sizes and 3 main dieties.

 

 

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