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Raja Ravi Varma

30th April, 2024 Culture and Heritage

Raja Ravi Varma

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  • The painting of Indulekha, the protagonist of the first modern Malayalam novel by O. Chandu Menon, was unreleased until 2022.
  • Its emergence into the public domain sparked enthusiasm among the art community.

Trust's Decision

  • The Kilimanoor Palace Trust initially planned to unveil the original painting on Raja Ravi Varma's birth anniversary.
  • Due to security concerns, the trust opted to unveil a true copy of the painting instead.

Unveiling Ceremony

  • Sasikala Parakkal, the owner of the painting, will unveil the copy at a palace function.
  • Indulekha is believed to have inspired Ravi Varma's famous painting "Reclining Lady."

Description of the Painting

  • The oil painting depicts Indulekha holding a letter addressed to her lover Madhavan, dated 1892.
  • It showcases meticulous attention to detail and symmetry, restored by Madhan S. of the Heritage Conservation and Research Academy.

Additional Dedications

  • Other paintings to be dedicated include a portrait of Pooyam Thirunal C.R. Kerala Varma by K. Ravi Varma.
  • Paintings of Raja Ravi Varma's siblings, Rajaraja Varma and Mangala Bayi, by artist Suresh will also be dedicated.

About Raja Ravi Varma

Famous Indian Painter

  • Raja Ravi Varma is celebrated as one of India's most prominent painters, born in 1848. His artistic prowess earned him widespread recognition and enduring fame in Indian art history.
  • Renowned for his ability to depict Indian themes with a blend of European painting techniques, Ravi Varma's work stands as a testament to his unique artistic vision and skill.

Mixing Indian and European Styles

  • Ravi Varma's paintings were distinctive for their seamless integration of Indian cultural motifs with the technical finesse of European academic art.
  • This fusion of styles allowed him to create visually stunning and emotionally resonant works of art.
  • By infusing Indian mythology and folklore with the realism and precision of European painting, Ravi Varma captivated audiences with his ability to breathe new life into ancient stories and traditions.

Getting Awards

  • In recognition of his contributions to art and public interest, Ravi Varma was honored with the prestigious Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal by Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India at the time. This award underscored his significant impact on the cultural landscape of India.

His Paintings

Different Types of Paintings

  • Ravi Varma's oeuvre encompassed a wide range of subjects and styles, including portraits, narrative compositions, and mythological scenes.
  • His versatility as an artist allowed him to explore diverse themes and genres, each imbued with his signature style.
  • Whether capturing the likeness of individuals through portraits or evoking the grandeur of epic tales through theatrical compositions, Ravi Varma's paintings resonated with audiences across various social and cultural contexts.

Famous Paintings

  • Among his many celebrated works, paintings such as A Family of Beggars and Arjuna and Subhadra stand out for their visual splendor and narrative richness.
  • These paintings not only showcased Ravi Varma's technical prowess but also his ability to evoke deep emotional and cultural resonance.


Some People Didn't Like His Style

  • Despite his acclaim, Ravi Varma's artistic style was not without its detractors. Critics often argued that his paintings were overly influenced by European aesthetics, leading to a dilution of indigenous artistic traditions.
  • Some felt that his works lacked the dynamism and spiritual depth characteristic of traditional Indian art forms, resulting in a departure from established artistic conventions.

Controversial Representations

  • Certain aspects of Ravi Varma's portrayals also sparked controversy, particularly his depiction of Hindu deities and mythological figures.
  • Critics accused him of sensationalizing and commodifying sacred imagery, raising questions about the authenticity and reverence of his representations.


  • Despite criticism, Ravi Varma's legacy endures as a testament to his enduring influence on Indian art and culture.
  • His life and works continue to inspire artists, scholars, and enthusiasts alike, serving as a source of inspiration and fascination for generations to come.
  • Through movies, novels, and educational materials, Ravi Varma's impact on Indian culture remains palpable, underscoring his enduring relevance and significance in the annals of Indian art history.


Q. Which renowned Indian painter is credited with creating the iconic paintings "A Family of Beggars" and "Arjuna and Subhadra"?

a) M.F. Husain

b) Amrita Sher-Gil

c) Raja Ravi Varma

d) Jamini Roy


c) Raja Ravi Varma