Often referred to as the father of modern Indian art, Raja Ravi Varma is widely known for his realistic portrayal of Indian gods and goddesses.

April 29th is the birth anniversary of the famed Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), remembered for giving Indians their western, classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses.


Famous works –

His most famous works include Damayanti Talking to a Swan, Shakuntala Looking for Dushyanta, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, and Shantanu and Matsyagandha.


About Raja Ravi Verma –

  • Varma was born into aristocracy at Kilimanoor in the erstwhile Travancore state of present-day Kerala, and was closely related to its royal family. At an early age, Varma showed a keen interest in drawing, and would draw on the walls of Kilimanoor palace, where he lived.
  • Varma worked on both portrait and landscape paintings, and is considered among the first Indian artists to use oil paints. Apart from painting Hindu mythological figures, Varma also made portraits of many Indians as well as Europeans.
  • His 1873 painting, Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair, won Varma prestigious awards including Governor’s Gold Medal when it was presented in the Madras Presidency, and Certificate of Merit at an exhibition in Vienna.
  • In 1904, the British colonial government awarded Varma with the Kaiser-i-Hind Gold Medal. In 2013, a crater on the planet Mercury was named in his honour.