Ravi Varma

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Ravi Varma

Raya Ravi Varma (April 29, 1848 – October 2, 1906) was an Indian painter from the princely state of Thiruvithamkur (1729-1858, in English Travancore), who was in the current Kerala (in the extreme southwest of India)

  • രാജാ രവി വര്മ്മ in Malayalam language

He achieved recognition for his representation of scenes from the mythical epics of the Majábharata and the Ramaiana (two epic-religious texts of the century III a. C.).

His paintings are considered among the best examples of the fusion of indigenous traditions with the techniques of European academic art.

During his life, Varma was recognized for his paintings of beautiful women dressed in sari, who were presented as proportionate and elegant. Varma’s paintings became an important motif in the kitsch of the time, his reproductions are found in almost all middle-class homes.

Ravi_Varma’s Biography

First years

Raja Ravi Varma was born with the name Ravi Varma Koil Thampuran from Kilimanur Palace, in the former princely state of Thiruvithankur (Travancore) in Kerala. His mother, Uma-Iamba Thampuratti (deceased in 1886) was a poet and writer whose work Párvati suaiam-varam (the marriage of [the goddess] Uma) was published by her son Raya Ravi Varma after her death. His brothers were C. Goda Varma (born in 1854), C. Raja Raja Varma (1860-1933) and Mangala Bayi Thampuratti, who was also a painter.

At an early age he got the financial support of his kinsman Ayilyam Thirunal (from Travancore), and from then on formal training began, he trained in watercolor with Suami Rama Naidu and later in oil painting with the portraitist Dutch Theodor Jenson.

Art career

Galaxy of musicians (‘galaxy of musics’), oil of Varma.

His exhibition in the West came when he won the first prize of the Vienna Art Exhibition, in 1873. Raya Ravi Varma’s paintings were also sent to the World Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893, where he was awarded two gold medals.

Varma traveled through India in search of subjects and subjects. Often his model for the Hindu goddesses were women from South India, whom he considered the most beautiful. Ravi Varma is particularly renowned for his paintings depicting episodes of the legends of Dushianta and Shakuntala, and of Nala and Damaianti, of the epic religious text Majábharata.

Ravi Varma’s depiction of mythological characters has become an integral part of the Hindu imagination. He was often criticized for too flamboyant and sentimental a style. However, his work is still very popular in India. Many of his paintings are available at the Laksmi Vilas Palace, in Vadodara.

Raya Ravi Varma died in 1906 at the age of 58 years. He is considered one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art.

There are many cultural organizations through Kerala on their behalf.

Personal life

The hut that Varma used as a studio during his stay at the Laksmi Vilas palace.

Raya Ravi Varma was married to Pururuttathi Nal Bhagirathi Amma Thampuran (Kochu Pangi), of the royal house of Mavelikara, with whom he had two sons and three daughters.

His eldest son, Kerala Varma, born in 1876, disappeared in 1912 and was never heard from again. His second son was Rama Varma (born in 1879), an artist who studied at the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai, married to Srimathi Gowri Kunjamma, sister of Dewan PGN Unnithan.

Raya’s older daughter Ravi Varma Ayilyam Nal Mahaprabha Thampuran, appeared in two of her prominent paintings and was the mother of Maharani Pooradam Thirunal Sethu Laksmi Bayi of Travancore.

He had a second daughter, Thiruvadira Nal Kochukunji Thampuran, grandmother of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma Maharás.

There comes Papa (‘here comes Papá’, 1893), painting by Varma. The portrayed woman is Mahaprabha Thampuratti from Mavelikara, the daughter of the artist and mother of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi.

His third daughter, born in 1882, was Ayilyam Nal Cheria Kochamma Thampuran. His descendants are part of the royal house of Mavelikara, while two of his granddaughters, including the aforementioned Sethu Laksmi Bayi, were adopted by the royal family of Travancore, a cousin of the Mavelikara family, to which the lineage of the current Maharaja of Travancore Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma belongs.

Well known among their descendants are, among others:

  • Writer Shri Kumar Varma (Prince Punardam Thirunal),
  • the artist Rukmini Varma (Princess Bharani Thirunal),
  • the artist Jay Varma,
  • the classical musician Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma,

More Facts about Ravi Varma

The Ravi Varma’s statistics like age, body measurements, height, weight, bio, wiki, net worth posted above have been gathered from a lot of credible websites and online sources. But, there are a few factors that will affect the statistics, so, the above figures may not be 100% accurate.

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