RAJA RAVI VARMA: FATHER OF MODERN ART IN INDIA
In the history of Indian art this man is considered as Master of paintings.
He is still considered as the greatest painter of all times.
Raja Ravi Varma ,the most famous artist from 19th century is known as the “FATHER OF MODERN ART IN INDIA “.His works are one of the best examples of the fusion of European academic art with a purely Indian sensibility and iconography.
In this way he introduced a new theme in Indian paintings. He took inspiration for his paintings from Vedic verses ,Kathakali dance dramas, Puranas etc. Apart from this Sanskrit epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata were often seen as subject of interpretation in his paintings.
It is said that Ravi Varma had painted more than seven thousand paintings in his lifetime .
In this article I will let you know about the life of Raja Ravi Varma and how he changed the the indian art to its great extent.
Raja Ravi Varma was born in the year of 1848 at Kilimanoor Town in Travancore princely state .His mother was a famous poet and a writer who used to compose music for Kathakali dance dramas where as his father was a scholar of sanskrit and Ayurveda .
At the age of 7 he stated painting different daily life scenes and animals. Ravi Varma was guided by his uncle Raja Raja Varma from very young age who helped and him to improve his art work.
When he was 14 he got the patronage of the ruler of Tavancore and started living at Kilimanoor Palace .
The ruler of Travancore used make Raja Ravi Varma familiar with the intalian paintings and art of western parties and thus ,encouraged him with his talent.Raja Ravi Varma took his training for water colours under the companion of Tavancore’s king later he left conventional paints for indigenous paints (paints made from plants leafs ,bark of the trees etc) .
Later it was seen that ,oil painting which was a very new concept in the world of art ,Ravi Varma started to apply oil paints in his paintings .
Rama Swamy Naicker was the only person at that time who had the knowledge of oil painting refused to give training to Ravi Varma as he considered him as his rivalry but one of the student of Rama swamy later gave Ravi Varma the training for oil painting . As we all know that without mistakes we can’t learn anything new with errors and mistakes in his paintings Ravi Varma even learned different hand strokes for paintings.
Influenced by Indian sankrit texts ,epics and Indian music he didn’t limit his paintings but extend his art by painting various portraits of indian aristocracy and British officials. He also won first prize in a painting exhibition in Madras in 1873.He was getting so famous for his paintings that even in the World ‘s Columbian Exposition in 1893 his paintings were send for exhibition.
In his paintings we can easily find the basic elements of Tanjore paintings,famine emotions were potraited so well that his paintings astonished every single individual who explored his paintings. His paintings were not of only subject to explore but also to find out good subjects for his paintings he used to travel all over India .
Some of his marvelous paintings were of –
Nala Damayanti ,Shantanu and Matsyagandha ,Shantanu and Ganga,Radha and Madhav,etc.He also started lithography printing press to print his paintings and spread his art to whole of India .He was given Governor ‘s Gold Medal in 1873 for his paintings “Nair Lady Adorning her Hair”
In 1904 he was awarded with “Kaisar -i-Hind “ Gold Medal by lord Curzon.
His achievements are countless and I don’t think it can be covered up here but yes even today in his name some schools are in existence. His contribution to Indian art is magnificent and the kerala government has initiated an award called “Raja Ravi Varma Puraskaram”.
Raja Ravi Varma gave Indian art a new way of life .some of his paintings are :
1.Arjuna and Subhadra
2.Painting of the Goddess Saraswati
5.Jatayu vadham and many more
So ,from now on whenever we asked about painters before saying Lenardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso let us not forget our Indian painters who contributed their level best in the world of art and gave us wonderful masterpiece to be proud of being Indian.
[Writer Sakshi Kumari, a law student of Centre for Judicial Studies, Dibrugarh University].
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