Raja Ravi Varma

Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906) was an eminent Indian painter known for his significant contributions to the art world. Hailing from the princely state of Travancore in present-day Kerala, Varma was a visionary artist whose work blended Indian traditions with European academic realism.

Raja Ravi Varma is celebrated for popularizing the genre of Indian mythological paintings in the 19th century. His masterful depictions of Hindu deities and mythological characters, often infused with a touch of Western aesthetics, resonated widely. One of his iconic works is the portrayal of gods and goddesses like Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Shakuntala.

His innovative use of lithography facilitated the mass production of his artworks, making art more accessible to the public. Raja Ravi Varma's influence extended beyond his paintings, contributing to the cultural and artistic heritage of India. His legacy endures, with his artworks remaining cherished symbols of India's rich artistic tradition.

About Lithography

Lithography finds its roots in the Greek words 'litho' (stone) and 'graphein' (to write), forming the basis of 'stone printing' in Lithography. The initial printing plates were porous stones, with the printing area absorbing ink and the non-printing portion repelling it. Crafting an oleograph was a meticulous process, taking months and demanding highly skilled artisans, especially considering the complexity involved in handling multiple colors.

About Ravi Varma Lithographic Press

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III supported and encouraged Raja Ravi Varma in establishing the Ravi Varma Lithographic Press in Ghatkopar, Mumbai, in 1894. It was later relocated to Malavli near Lonavala, Maharashtra, in 1899. In 1901, the press was sold to Mr. Schleizer, a printing technician from Germany, and was sadly destroyed in a fire, leading to its closure.