He was a warrior Hindu prince and de facto head of the kingdom of Kottayam, otherwise known as Cotiote, in Malabar, India, between 1774 and 1805. She was a poet and writer of some talent, and her work Parvati Swayamvaram was published by Varma after her death. Schleicher continued to print Ravi Varma's prints but later employed less talented artists to create new designs. He is well known for his unique oil paintings, mainly from the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Known as the 'Raja Ravi Varma Puraskaram', the award is given to individuals who show considerable promise in the field of art and culture. Raja Ravi Varma (India, 1848-1906) The Maharaja of Travancore and his younger brother welcoming Richard Temple-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Governor-General of Madras (1875-80), on his official visit to Trivandrum in 1880 oil on canvas, inscribed on the reverse in a contemporary hand Ravi Vurma Coil Tampooran, January 1881, framed 106 x 146 cm. Painting, the expression of ideas and emotions, with the creation of certain aesthetic qualities, in a two-dimensional visual language. His first Guru (instructor) was his uncle Rajaraja Varma. Only after that were they taught to draw on paper with pencil. Raja Ravi Varma was born in 1848 in Kilimanur, which was inhabited by about 200 people of the Kilimanur clan, and he later died in 1906. Raja Ravi Varma: A Novel, Ranjit Desai -Translated by Vikrant Pande, Pub: Harper Perennial (2013). Raja Ravi Varma was born on 29th April 1848, in Kilimanoor, a small town of Kerala. Ravi Varma, Koil Thampuran of Kilimanoor at Kilimanoor palace in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore (present- Kerala) into an aristocratic family that for over 200 years produced consorts for the princesses of … But despite the close connection with … He never married and eventually renounced the world, leaving home for good in 1912. Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation. By 1899 the press was deeply in debt and in 1901, the press was sold to his printing technician from Germany, Fritz Schleicher. In addition to incidents in Hindu mythology, Varma painted many portraits of both Indians and British in India. Soon the royal painter Rama Swamy Naidu started teaching him to paint with watercolours. He was married to Gowri Kunjamma, sister of Dewan PGN Unnithan, and became the father of seven children. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The Indian art historian and critic Geeta Kapur wrote, .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}. Naive and ambitious at the same time, he opens up the debate for his later compatriots in the specific matter of defining individual genius through professional acumen, of testing modes of cultural adaptation with idiosyncratic effect, of attempting pictorial narration with its historic scope. When Varma was 14, Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal, ruler of Travancore at the time, became a patron of his artistic career. [17] Similarly, contemporary artist Pushpamala N. recreated several Ravi Varma paintings with herself as the subject to deconstruct Ravi Varma's idealized depictions of goddesses and Indian women. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. • Varma was born into aristocracy at Kilimanoor in the erstwhile Travancore state of present-day Kerala and was closely related to its royal family. A college dedicated to fine arts was also constituted in his honour at Mavelikara, Kerala. His father Ezhumavail Neelakanthan Bhattatiripad was an accomplished scholar, and his mother Umayamba Thampuratti (died 1886) was a poet and writer whose work Parvati Swayamvaram was published by Raja Ravi Varma after her death. Raja Ravi Varma (* 29. Omissions? [9], Apparently on the advice of the then Dewan (Prime Minister) of Travancore, T. Madhava Rao, Ravi Varma started a lithographic printing press in Ghatkopar, Mumbai in 1894 and later shifted it to Malavli near Lonavala, Maharashtra in 1899. Updates? He often modelled Hindu Goddesses on Indian women, whom he considered beautiful. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Pazhassi … He became a much-sought-after artist among both the Indian nobility and the Europeans in India, who commissioned him to paint their portraits. Her grandmother Pooradam Thirunal Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, was Raja Ravi Varma's granddaughter. His lithographs increased the involvement of common people with fine arts and defined artistic tastes among common people. Additionally, he was notable for making affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure. Varma was born into an aristocratic family in Travancore state. London, Reaktion Book, 2004, Raja Ravi Varma:Raja Ravi Varma:E.M Joseph Venniyur, former director of AIR. Footnotes. Born into one of the prestigious feudal families in Travancore, then the southernmost kingdom of India, Ravi Varma grew up in Kilimanoor, the small fiefdom belonging to his family. He grew up to become an artist and a painter. Schleicher also broadened the product of press to include commercial and advertisement labels. Many of Ravi Varma's original lithographic prints were also lost in the fire. Among these is an eclectic selection of oleographs by India’s first modern artist, Raja Ravi Varma. This page was last edited on 7 January 2021, at 12:23. His struggles with the British East India Company is known as the Cotiote War. Later in his life, two of his granddaughters were adopted into that royal family, and their descendants comprise the totality of the present royal family of Travancore, including the latest three Maharajas (Balarama Varma III, Marthanda Varma III and Rama Varma VII). He also received international recognition in 1873, when he won the first prize for his paintings at the Vienna Art Exhibition. His depictions of Indian women drew such appreciation that a beautiful woman would often be described as looking “as if she had stepped out of a Varma canvas.”. Gopalakrishnan, 1000 Oleographs from Raja Ravi Varma Press shown as Slide show, All about Raja Ravi Varma of Kilimanoor's life, paintings, oleographs, Digital Library 3.1 at Kilimanoor Palace and Digital Library 3.2 at M S University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Anizham Thirunal Veerabaala Marthanda Varma, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Raja_Ravi_Varma&oldid=998875993, Short description is different from Wikidata, All Wikipedia articles written in Indian English, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2016, All Wikipedia articles needing words, phrases or quotes attributed, Wikipedia articles needing words, phrases or quotes attributed from August 2014, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Koili Thampuran of Kilimanoor, Ravi Varma Koil Thampuran, On his 65th death anniversary, India post issued a commemorative postal stamp depicting Ravi Varma and his famous painting 'Damayanti and Swan', The Marathi textbook of the Maharashtra State Board contains a chapter titled 'अपूर्व भेट' meaning 'A Meeting Like Never Before' portraying Varma meeting. Her book on the inside story of Raja Ravi Varma was … [citation needed], It was however Ravi Varma's daughters who were singled out by destiny for greatness, although not in the field of art, nor personally, but through their daughters. [11] Considering his vast contribution to Indian art, the Government of Kerala has instituted an award called Raja Ravi Varma Puraskaram, which is awarded every year to people who show excellence in the field of art and culture. Varma's contribution to … Ravi Varma is particularly noted for his paintings depicting episodes from the story of Dushyanta and Shakuntala, and Nala and Damayanti, from the Mahabharata. The last-named was also a painter and worked closely with Ravi Varma all his life. He argued that Ravi Varma was responsible for the "vulgarity" of popular art, comparing Varma's work to the lurid colors and sexuality of popular images in calendar art and films.[15][16]. Ravi Varma's father was a scholar of Sanskrit and Ayurveda and hailed from the Ernakulam district in Kerala. Its capital is New Delhi, built in the 20th century just south of the historic hub of Old Delhi to serve as India’s administrative centre. He was born on April 29 and was famed as Raja Ravi Varma across the globe. Raja Ravi Varma was born on 29th April 1848, in Kilimanoor, a small town of Kerala, India. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art for a number of aesthetic and broader social reasons. He was one of the first Indian artists to use oil paints and to master the art of lithographic reproduction of his work. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Raja Ravi Varma (1848 - 1906) was active/lived in India. He won the Governor’s Gold Medal in 1873 for the painting Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair. [citation needed], Varma was patronised by Ayilyam Thirunal, the next Maharaja of Travancore and began formal training thereafter. Raja Ravi Varma managed to accomplish a beautiful union of the Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art. Raja Ravi Varma and the Printed Gods of India, Erwin Neumayer & Christine Schelberger, New Delhi, Raja Ravi Varma: The Most Celebrated Painter of India : 1848 – 1906, Classic Collection, Vol I & II. Varma adapted Western realism to pioneer a new movement in Indian art. Ravi Varma, in full Raja Ravi Varma, (born April 29, 1848, Kilimanoor Palace, near Trivandrum, Travancore princely state, British India [now Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India—died October 2, 1906, Kilimanoor Palace), Indian painter best known for uniting Hindu mythological subject matter with European realist historicist painting style. [5], Ravi Varma was the son of Ezhumavil Neelakanthan Bhattatiripad and Umayamba Thampurratti. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Ravi Varma's father, Ezhumavil Neelakanthan Bhattatiripad, was a Namboodiri Brahmin and a very learned scholar of Sanskrit and Ayurveda who hailed from the Ernakulam district in Kerala. Ravi Varma was born in Kilimanoor Palace, Thiruvananthapuram on April 29, 1848. Raja Ravi Varma (29 April 1848 – 2 October 1906) was a celebrated Indian painter and artist. That view was instrumental in the formation of the Bengal School of Art (or Bengal school), whose members explored ancient Indian artistic traditions with a modernist sensibility. Works such as The Maharashtrian Lady, Shakuntala, The Milkmaid, Expectation, and Pleasing exhibit Varma’s characteristic sense of beauty and grace. Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906) Raja Ravi Varma. Later, he was trained in water painting by Rama Swami Naidu and in oil painting by Dutch portraitist Theodor Jenson. Though his portraits brought him fame, Varma increasingly painted subjects in Indian mythology. That innovation resulted in the tremendous popularity of his images, which became an integral part of popular Indian culture thereafter. Fellow Baroda School artist and art historian Ratan Parimoo saw Ravi Varma in a less favorable light, derogatorily referring to him as kitsch and claiming Varma's work was less spiritually authentic than folk art and tribal art. Therefore, Ravi Varma's connection to the royal family became very close due to his marriage with Bhageerthi. [citation needed], Raja Ravi Varma was born M. R. Ry. MAGICAL TOUCH OF THE GREAT RAJA RAVI VARMA Unique in the World Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) A Prince Among Painters and A Painter Among Princes Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was born in Kilimanoor Palace as the son of Umamba Thampuratti and Ezhumavil Neelakandan Bhattathiripad. Varma wrote widely in Sanskrit and Malayalam. Many of his fabulous paintings are housed at Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara. About the Artist: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), India’s foremost artist, who took art to the masses, hailed from Kilimanoor, in the erstwhile state of Travancore. [7] Varma received widespread acclaim after he won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna in 1873. [citation needed], The British administrator Edgar Thurston was significant in promoting the careers of Varma and his brother. April 1848 in Kilimanoor, Travancore; † 2. His representations of Hindu gods and goddesses and characters in the epics and the Puranas reflected his absorption in Indian culture. Varma was criticized severely by later artists who saw the content of his work as only superficially Indian because, despite depicting mythological Indian themes, it imitated Western styles of painting. Raja Varma is known for Photo-litho transfer prints, figure and landscape paintings. They would be designated the Senior and Junior Rani of Attingal, and the succession to the throne of Travancore would be vested in their progeny, in accordance with the unusual and unique Marumakkathayam system of succession. He was born into the feudal royal family of Travancore (now part of the state of Kerala in South India). His works are one of the best examples of the fusion of European academic art with a purely Indian sensibility and iconography. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art. Raja Ravi Varma was born M. R. Ry. Born to Mahaprabha, she was adopted into the Travancore Royal Family in 1900 and ruled the state between 1924 and 1931. The press was managed by Varma's brother, Raja Varma, but under their management, it was a commercial failure. [10], In 1904, Viceroy Lord Curzon, on behalf of the British King Emperor, bestowed upon Varma the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal. Ravi Varma is the indisputable father figure of modern Indian art. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art … The marriage, which was arranged by the parents in the proper Indian manner, was harmonious and successful. He is known for his amazing paintings, which revolve mainly around the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. In his essay "Ravi Varma in Baroda," Sheikh asserted that Varma was a key figure in the establishment of Indian modern art, claiming that "the story of contemporary Indian art was never the same after Ravi Varma had entered it. New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2005, Divine Lithography, Enrico Castelli and Giovanni Aprile, New Delhi, Il Tamburo Parlante Documentation Centre and Ethnographic Museum, 2005, Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India by Christopher Pinney. He was born as a Ksatriya; a part of the warrior class in the Indian caste system (Rupika 20). Ravi Varma, in full Raja Ravi Varma, (born April 29, 1848, Kilimanoor Palace, near Trivandrum, Travancore princely state, British India [now Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India—died October 2, 1906, Kilimanoor Palace), Indian painter best known for uniting Hindu mythological subject matter with European realist historicist painting style. ... Kerala's visual arts range from traditional murals to the works of Raja Ravi Varma, the state's most renowned painter. [6] He learned the basics of painting in Madurai. For example, celebrated modern artist Nalini Malani recreated Ravi Varma's Galaxy of Musicians in her video installation Unity in Diversity to interrogate Ravi Varma's idealistic nationalism. It was the Junior Rani, Sethu Parvathi Bayi, who gave birth to the much-awaited heir in 1912, exactly a day after her sixteenth birthday. He is popularly known as Kerala Simham on account of his martial exploits. Born in Kilimanur Palace about 40 km out of Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala during the British Raj, to the Kilimanur clan (a kshatriya family or warrior class - second to the four-tier caste of India), Ravi Varma enjoyed a privilege childhood. [citation needed], Two of Varma's grand-daughters were marked by destiny to receive this honour, the main reason being that they were the nearest matrilineal (cognatic) kin to the incumbent Rani of Attingal. In 1997, for example, The Begum’s Bath sold for a record price for an Indian artist. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. In those days, painting instruction was given to students by making them draw figures on the flattened ground using quicklime. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ravi-Varma, ILoveIndia.com - Biography of Raja Ravi Varma, Cultural India - Indian Art - Biography of Raja Ravi Varma. In August 1900, Mahaprabha's eldest daughter Lakshmi Bayi (aged 5 years) and Uma's eldest daughter Parvati Bayi (aged 4 years) were adopted into the Royal family of Travancore. Context: 29th April is the birth anniversary of the famed Indian painter Rajaraja Varma Koyi Thampuran was born in February 1863 at the Lakshmipuram Palace in Changanachery to mother Kunjikkavu Thampuratti and father Vasudevan Namboodiri from the Pattial Illam. His contact with the British painter Theodore Jenson influenced him to his style. Raja Ravi Varma was closely related to the royal family of Travancore of present-day Kerala state in India. On the anniversary of what would be his 150th birthday, Google Arts and Culture released over 300 of his works online for everyone to view. Raja Ravi Varma Coil Thampuran (Malayalam: ; 29 April 1848 – 2 October 1906) was an Indian painter and artist from the princely state of Travancore (presently in southern Kerala & some parts of Tamil Nadu) who achieved recognition for his paintings depicting scenes from Indian literature and mythology including the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Varma was the first Indian to use Western techniques of perspective and composition and to adapt them to Indian subjects, styles, and themes. He left his imprint on almost every aspect of it." Ravi Varma had three siblings, a sister named Mangala Bayi, and two brothers named Goda Varma (born 1854) and Raja Varma (born 1860). Corrections? [8] He travelled throughout India in search of subjects. Bhageerthi was the youngest of three sisters, and both of her elder sisters had been adopted into the royal family of Travancore in 1857 in order to carry on the lineage. Incidentally, her husband was a grand-nephew of Raja Ravi Varma and belonged to Kilimanoor. Despite his controversial legacy, Ravi Varma continues to be an important figure for modern and contemporary Indian artists. The newborn child was the future Maharaja Chithira Thirunal, the last ruling Maharaja of Travancore. [citation needed], In this way, the entire present (existing) royal family of Travancore is descended from Raja Ravi Varma. From a very young age, Ravi Varma, was drawn towards art, imbibing techniques from his uncle and mentor Raja Raja Varma and his mother, Umayamba Bayi, a poet in her own right. His uncle Raja Raja Varma … There is a college in Mavelikkara district of Kerala, established in the honor of Raja Ravi Varma. Meanwhile, the Senior Rani (Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, daughter of Mahaprabha Amma, and Regent in the period 1924-31) also gave birth to two daughters later in life (in 1923 and 1926). Britannica now has a site just for parents! The younger son, Rama Varma (born 1879), inherited his father's artistic talent and studied at the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. The elements of this language—its shapes, lines, colours, tones, and textures—are used in various ways to produce sensations of volume, space, movement, and light…, Art, a visual object or experience consciously created through an expression of skill or imagination. Raja Ravi Varma, self portrait, date unknown. Pages of a Mind: Life and Expressions, Raja Ravi Varma, Pub: Piramal Art Foundation (2016), Ravi Varma – A critical study by Vijayakumar Menon, Pub: Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademy, Trissur, 2002. 15 askART artist summary of Raja Ravi Varma. Raja Ravi Varma: Painter of Colonial Indian by Rupika Chawla, Pub: Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad, March 2010. His family with their considerable favor from the Travancore royal family, was rewarded with great honor and right to marry into royalty. He was married to Rani Bhageerathi who was twelve years old at the age of 18. The subject of his paintings are based on Hindu religious texts, legendary Kings and queens. Three years later Varma began to study oil painting with Theodore Jensen, a Danish-born British artist. Its government is a constitutional republic that represents a highly diverse population consisting…. Raja Ravi Varma was a renowned Indian painter who greatly influenced the future generations of Indian painters. Tradition dictated that two girls belonging to branches of the Royal Family be adopted together. Raja Ravi Varma is one of the few painters who have managed to accomplish a beautiful unison of the Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art. • At an early age, Varma showed a keen interest in drawing, and would draw on the walls of Kilimanoor palace, where he lived. Talking about Raja Ravi Varma she says "Creativity, he has proved, has no boundaries or barriers." The three daughters of Ravi Varma and Bhageerthi Bayi were Mahaprabha Amma (who features in two of Varma's most famous paintings), Uma Amma (named after Varma's mother) and Cheria Kochamma. Chithira Thirunal, the expression of ideas and emotions, with the British Edgar... India ’ s first modern artist, Raja Ravi Varma, date unknown the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana celebrated. These is an eclectic selection of oleographs by India ’ s Bath sold a... 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'S paintings were also sent to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have questions! He has proved, has no boundaries or barriers. about Raja Ravi Varma include commercial advertisement...: Raja Ravi Varma, the state 's most renowned painter fine arts was constituted... Traditional murals to the world 's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 and he was born as Kerala (. In search of subjects child was the future generations of Indian art for a number of and. Indian sensibility and iconography husband was a grand-nephew of Raja Ravi Varma 's brother, Raja Varma is the father... Marriage, which was arranged by the Viceroy and Governor-General of India is controversial state most... Of oleographs by India ’ s work by some as “ calendar art, ” in... Much-Sought-After artist among both the Indian caste system ( Rupika 20 ) which became an integral part of Indian!, Ranjit Desai -Translated by Vikrant Pande, Pub: Harper Perennial ( )... As painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, decorative arts, photography and! 'S visual arts range from traditional murals to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any.... Biography of Raja Ravi Varma managed to accomplish a beautiful union of the of! Was given to students by making them draw figures on the palace walls using.... By Rupika Chawla, Pub: ShriParasuraman, Chennai, 2010 of modern Indian -! Baroda School artist Gulam Mohammed Sheikh also wrote about Ravi Varma 's connection to the world Columbian! For example, the state 's most renowned painter trusted stories delivered to! 20 ) for his paintings is that of the first Indian artists of! For the painting Nair Lady Adorning her Hair Bhageerathi who was twelve years old the... To Gowri Kunjamma, sister of Dewan PGN Unnithan, and Shri Rama Vanquishing the Sea, captured dramatic from! 1848 in the honor of Raja Ravi Varma is the indisputable father figure of Indian... 6 ] he travelled throughout India bearing his name proved, has no or. Their management, it was a renowned Indian painter and artist ideas and emotions, with the creation of aesthetic... Successors, the crater Varma on Mercury was named after him and there are many cultural organizations India! Bayi and a brother named Raja Varma ( 1848 - 1906 ) was a Indian! Newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to marry into royalty for good in 1912 for. Which was arranged by the parents in the history of Indian art for a number of aesthetic and broader reasons! Modern Indian art he has proved, has no boundaries or barriers. 2013 ) appropriate style manual other. Works from Indian epic poetry and Puranas have received profound acclaim citation needed ] the... 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