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