Raja Ravi Varma lived in an era characterised by experiments in art. His portraits, historical and mythological paintings adorned the palaces of kings and his representation of Indian deities changed how the country visualised it’s Gods and Goddesses. Even today, more than a century after his death, Raja Ravi Varma’s lithographic prints of deities – produced by his own press – continue to adorn many homes. In collaboration with DAG, we bring you this Ravi-Varma jigsaw from their magnificent art collection.
This artwork is from the Drishyakala Art Museum, Red Fort (Delhi)
It took us 10 minutes to piece this masterpiece. Can you beat our score?
# puzzle pieces might just be on top of each other – look carefully!
# make sure you have observed the painting before you start. In case you need to see the image again, scroll down or hit the picture icon on the bottom left
# hint: if you can piece the faces together, you’d be able to sail through easily!
# Don’t forget to challenge your friends!
About the painting : Yashoda and Krishna
This particular painting titled ‘Yashoda and Krishna’ is considered one of Raja Ravi Varma’s finest works. His exquisite style gives divinities a uniquely human quality – Yashoda looks at the viewer, conscious of the divine responsibility that rests on her shoulders. Krishna, holding a golden goblet, looks into the distance. The richness of Yashoda’s saree’s texture is brought out through Ravi Varma’s expert handling of its folds as the vibrant hues of her clothes allude to the peacock feather on Krishna’s head.
Looking at this painting for long enough, you’d probably end up in awe of Raja Ravi Varma’s attention to detail. The play of light (like the slight glimmer on the brass pot), the gentle curve in Yashoda’s waist while seated, and the richness of the jewellery can leave you spellbound. In almost all his paintings, you’d probably end up feeling as if the characters had paused for a moment – just for you to see.
Raja Ravi Varma
Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art, began his career under the patronage of the Maharaja of Travancore. He worked on commissioned portraits for the nobility, before experimenting with historical and religious themed paintings.
Oil-painting as a technique was not very common in India at the time Raja Ravi Varma painted. He created a mashup of European academic techniques with Indian aesthetics, thus creating an exceptional visual style – a vast shift from the art styles prevalent in India at the time.
His popularity also soared for another reason : his vision and zeal for making art accessible to everyone. In 1894, he founded a printing press in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar with the help of Fritz Schleicher, a German technician. Ever since, prints of his works (oleographs) have managed to reach thousands of households – across generations.
Take a look at more paintings from the DAG collection : on Instagram!
Fun Fact: Did you know, Raja Ravi Varma’s sister Mangala Bayi was the first woman artist of the nineteenth century who worked within a studio-setup !
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