Raja Ravi Varma – Artist of Hindu Epics

Raja Ravi Varma, Artist of Hindu Epics

Raja Ravi Varma is a famous Indian realistic art painter. He greatly influenced the next generation of painters with his art style skill. He especially brought the omnipresent God and Goddesses to Indian Hindu society. He adopted the characters from the great Indian Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Before him, European artists like Davency and Michelangelo and other artists picturised realistic paintings. Natural art forms came into the limelight after Raja Ravi Varma in India. Artists, writers, and poets influence his images. The efforts of the mythological characters have become a part of the Indian imagination of the classics.

Raja Ravi Varma Biography

The great Raja Ravi Varma was born on April 29th, 1848, to a noble family in Kerala. Since childhood, he was raised in an environment of art and culture. So he started painting animals and using instruments in daily life on the walls at seven; his uncle Raja Varma observed Ravi Varma’s interest in painting, so he gave little Ravi Varma lessons on images. Later at the age of 14, he was sent to Thiruvananthapuram to learn painting techniques. He stayed at Moodath Madam’s house in the Killmanoor palace and learned from Rama Swamy Naidu, the Art instructor and Palace Painter. Under the observation of Rama Swamy Naidu, Raja Ravi Varma learnt the fundamental techniques of Watercolour paintings.

Three years later, he learnt from the famous British painter Theodore Janson’s Oil colour painting techniques. During the instructions of Theodore Janson, he showed many European master painters’ paintings, significantly Varma influenced the style of Italian master paintings. From then, he started using realistic images.

Raja Ravi Varma Paintings Impact on Indian Art Canvas

Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings greatly attracted people with their magnificent colours and themes. Before this, the total Indian art and style were influenced by the tradition of Hindu scriptures. We can only see such exquisite traditional art forms in temples and other worshipping places. He adopted the themes for paintings from the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. In those days, many art lovers believed that Ravi was a portrait artist because from 1870 to 1878, he painted many portraits of British officers and princes of India.

But he succeeded in removing public opinion on him by painting a picture of Puranic characters. His style, technique and combination of colours still impress the spectators. In 1873, he won the first prize at the Madras painting exhibition. The same year, he got the first prize in the Vienna exhibition. After this first prize only, he became a famous Indian painter worldwide. He painted many famous paintings in his life, still making people attend them. Raja Ravi Varma finally breathed his last on October 2nd, 1906, in his palace, Kilimanoor.