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 influenced the next generation painters a lot with his skill in art style. Especially he brought the omnipresent God and Goddesses to the Indian Hindu society. He adopted the characters from the great Indian Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Before him, the European artists like Davency and Michelangelo and other artists picturised the realistic paintings. In India, the realistic art forms came into limelight after Raja Ravi Varma. His paintings are not only influenced by artists but also by the writers and poets. The efforts on 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 his childhood days, he had been brought up in the environment of art and culture. So that he started painting the animals and using instruments in daily life on the walls at the age of seven. His uncle Raja Varma observed Ravi Varma’s interest in painting and so he gave lessons on paintings to the little Ravi Varma. Later at the age of 14, he was sent to Thiruvananthapuram to learn painting techniques. There he stayed at Moodath Madam house of the Killmanoor palace and learn from Rama Swamy Naidu the Art instructor and Palace Painter. Under the observation of Rama Swamy Naidu, Raja Ravi Varma learnt the entire techniques of Watercolour paintings.

Later three years he learnt from the famous British painter Theodore Janson in Oil colour painting techniques. During the instructions of Theodore Janson, he showed many European master painter’s paintings, especially Varma influenced the style of Italian master paintings. From then he started the realistic paintings.

Raja Ravi Varma Paintings Impact on Indian Art Canvas

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

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