Raja Ravi Verma began his career walk at a very tender age and went on to become an internationally acclaimed artist. In 1873, after his painting was exhibited in Vienna where he had won the first prize, he got three more golds for his amazing work, which was dispatched to Chicago where it was showcased at The World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. British administrator Thurston was responsible for Varma’s paintings being exhibited overseas as he took particular interest in his work. Once the painting touched foreign soil it became famous globally. His paintings had a voice of their own, one that people could relate to. He travelled extensively in India to find ideas for his paintings and he took an exceptional interest in depicting women from South India.
Raja Ravi Varma produced masterpieces of his art. This is a list of some of his prominent and renowned pieces of art:
- A Family of Beggars – Showing the sad state of the Indian economy
- Draupadi Dreading to meet Kichaka – Based on the Mahabharata
- A Lady Playing Swarbat – Modelled by a South Indian woman
- Girl in Sage Kanwa’s Hermitage – Shakuntala’s story
- Lady Giving Alms at the Temple – A common sight on the streets of India
- Arjuna and Subhadra – Narrating an incident from the Mahabharata
- Damayanti Talking to a Swan – Based in the Mahabharata
- Jatayu – The bird devotee of Lord Rama
- Lady Lost in Thought – South Indian woman showcased
Many modern artists have made movies made and written novels revolving around the classy life of Varma, one of India’s greatest artist. Some really recent examples are “Rang Rasiya”, which is a Bollywood movie and “Makaramanju”, a Malayalam movie. Makaramanju is based on the novel by Ranjit Desai that depicts Varma. In fact, the Maharashtra board for education included a chapter titled “A meeting like never before” in a Marathi textbook. This chapter is based on Varma’s meeting with Swami Vivekananda.
As quoted by Parasram Mangharam, author of “Raja Ravi Varma, The Painter Prince”, an article in the Deccan Herald (26 October, 2003), “The more I saw, the more I admired the Master’s genius — his uncanny ability, through the magic of his brush to depict mood, emotion and atmosphere and to encapsulate the whole story in the selected scene. I felt even then that a state of the art folio on his works needed to be brought out. Only, I never imagined that it was I who would eventually be doing it.”
At Tibu Comics, we relate to the emotion Mr Mangharam experienced when he wrote about one of India’s finest artists, Raja Ravi Varma. We salute all the Indian artists – the famous, forgotten and unknown ones. You have been our motivation.