Soon the royal painter Rama Swamy Naidu started teaching him to paint with watercolours., - Biography of Raja Ravi Varma, Cultural India - Indian Art - Biography of Raja Ravi Varma. In 1894 he set up a lithographic press in order to mass-produce copies of his paintings as oleographs, enabling ordinary people to afford them. These oleographs were very popular and continued to be printed in thousands for many years, even after the 1906 death of Ravi Varma. Omissions? They were known as the Senior and Junior Rani of Attingal, and in their progeny was vested the succession to the throne of Travancore. He never married and eventually renounced the world, leaving home for good in 1912. 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]. Many of his fabulous paintings are housed at Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara. He became a much-sought-after artist among both the Indian nobility and the Europeans in India, who commissioned him to paint their portraits. 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. In particular, his depictions of Hindu deities and episodes from the epics and Puranas have received profound acceptance from the public and are found, often as objects of worship, across the length and breadth of India. The younger son, Rama Varma (born 1879), inherited his father's artistic talent and studied at the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. 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). Tradition dictated that two girls belonging to branches of the Royal Family be adopted together. [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. He won the Governor’s Gold Medal in 1873 for the painting Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair. The oleographs produced by the press were mostly of Hindu gods and goddesses in scenes adapted mainly from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Raja Ravi Varma[3][4] (29 April 1848 – 2 October 1906) was a celebrated Indian painter and artist. [5], Ravi Varma was the son of Ezhumavil Neelakanthan Bhattatiripad and Umayamba Thampurratti. [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. This is a part of the Wikipedia article used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). Incidentally, her husband was a grand-nephew of Raja Ravi Varma and belonged to Kilimanoor. [citation needed], Varma was patronised by Ayilyam Thirunal, the next Maharaja of Travancore and began formal training thereafter. They were known as the Senior and Junior Rani of Attingal, and in their progeny was vested the succession to the throne of Travancore. . His mother Uma Ambabayi Thampuratty (or Umayamba Bayi Thampuratty) belonged to the baronial family which ruled the Kilimanoor feudal estate within the kingdom of Travancore. [18], Noblemen of Travancore Pillai of Kandamath, "A great painter, no doubt, but controversial too", The largest collection of chromolithographs from the Ravi Varma Press which may be viewed in Hi-resolution, More than 100 Links to all the news and articles on Raja Ravi Varma Oleographs and exhibitions from 2005 to 2015, Largest collection of the Lithographs from the Ravi Varma Press, The Hindu: The royal artist by K.K. 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.”. The Painter: A life of Ravi Varma by Deepanjana Pal Random House India, 2011, Raja Ravi Varma – The Most Celebrated Painter of India: 1848–1906, Parsram Mangharam, Bangalore, 2007, Raja Ravi Varma – The Painter Prince: 1848–1906, Parsram Mangharam, Bangalore, 2003. [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. His lithographs increased the involvement of common people with fine arts and defined artistic tastes among common people for several decades. Though his portraits brought him fame, Varma increasingly painted subjects in Indian mythology. Well-known among his royal descendants are the writers Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi and Shreekumar Varma, the artist Rukmini Varma and the classical musician Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma. He was married to Gowri Kunjamma, sister of Dewan PGN Unnithan, and became the father of seven children. 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. His children (because they belonged to their mother's family) would be royal by birth. Notably, the house of Mavellikara was a branch of the Royal House of Travancore. He left his imprint on almost every aspect of it." 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. The newborn child was the future Maharaja Chithira Thirunal, the last ruling Maharaja of Travancore. In 1900 CE, the Royal House of Travancore once again faced a succession crisis. 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. [citation needed], In 1866, at the age of 18, Varma was married to 12-year-old Bhageerthi Bayi (known formally as Pooruruttati Nal Bhageerathi Bayi Thampuratty) of the royal house of Mavelikkara, another major fief of Travancore kingdom.