(Last Updated on : 12/06/2013)
Raja Ravi Verma was the Indian King and painter whose paintings brought a momentous turn in Indian art. His works on great Indian epics Ramayana
brought the omnipresent God and Goddesses to the surroundings of earthy world. This showed excellent fusion of Indian traditional art with European realism. These paintings influenced future generation artists and also influenced the literature and Films. His representation of mythological characters has become a part of the Indian imagination of the classics. His style is criticized for being too gaudy and sentimental.
Ravi Verma was born on April 29th, 1848 in Kilimanoor Palace in Kerala
. Ravi Verma was brought up in an environment of art and culture. At the age of seven he started painting the figures of animals, acts and scenes from daily life on the wall with charcoal. Ravi Varma's uncle Raja Verma started giving lessons of paintings to little Ravi seeing his keen interest for art. When Ravi Verma was around 14 years of age, he was sent to Thiruvananthapuram to stay at the Moodath Madam house of the Kilimanoor Palace, where he was taught water painting by the palace painter Rama Swamy Naidu. After three years, Theodor Jenson, a British painter taught him oil painting. He was exposed him to the famous paintings of Italian painters. Here he was using indigenous paints made from leaves, flowers.
Raja Ravi Varma's next venture was to master this new medium of painting as the technique was very new and elusive to painters those days. He enhanced his creativity by listening to the music of Veterans, watching Kathakali, going through the manuscripts preserved in ancient families and listening to the artistic interpretation of the epics. Ravi Varma's as a portrait artist rose high when he painted several portraits of the Indian aristocracy and British officials between 1870 and 1878. Ravi Verma got immense recognition in major exhibitions abroad mostly for the portrait-based renditions, which were the perfect blend of the personality and the attire of the person, portrayed. His works also depicted an aesthetic and technical adequacy in case of illustrative paintings on Puranic subjects.
Raja Ravi Verma is most remembered for his paintings of beautifully sari-clad women, who were depicted as graceful and shapely. In 1873 he won the First Prize at the Madras Painting Exhibition and became a world famous Indian painter only after winning the First Prize Vienna Exhibition in 1873. Raja Ravi Verma breathed his last on 2nd of October 1906 in his palace of Kilimanoor.