150 years of Raja Ravi Varma’s career

1870 & Raja Ravi Varma

In the year 1870 Varma left his hometown for the first time to Mookambika on a pilgrimage. On his return, while at Calicut, he received his first commission to paint a portrait of a family. His first professional patron was Kizhakkepat Ramakrishna Menon, a sub-judge of the Mangalore Court. With this legal patronage would commence Raja Ravi Varma’s career which would eventually alter the religious, social and aesthetic notions of the people of the Indian sub-continent and beyond.

Raja Ravi Varma Kizhakke Palat Krishna Menon

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation & Commemorating 150 years of the artist’s professional career

2020 marked 150 years since the start of Raja Ravi Varma’s professional career and the Foundation was intent on commemorating this milestone. Having partnered with Google Arts & Culture in 2019, it was deemed the best platform to bring together the paintings, sketches and archival photographs of the works of the artist.

The Foundation reached out to custodians of the artist’s legacy and the commemorative resulted in the largest collaborative collective of the works of the artist. Joining in this effort were the Royal Gaekwad Collection and the Maharaja Fatesingh Museum, Vadodara; the Kaudiar Palace, Thiruvananthapuram; the Kilimanoor Palace Trust, Kilimanoor; the Jatprole Aristrocacy; the Apparao Galleries and Foundation, Chennai; DAG, new Delhi, Mumbai and New York; Pundole’s, Mumbai; Saffronart, Mumbai; OSIANS, Mumbai; Christies, New York, etc. Many individual collectors also allowed images to be showcased on the platform.

Launch of the Commemorative and Articles

Her Highness Shubhangini Raje, Rajmata Ji of Baroda launches the exhibits
Her Highness Ashwati Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, Princess of Travancore launches the articles written for the commemorative

Articles written for the Commemorative

Reclaiming Shakti

Her Highness Radhika Raje Gaekwad of Baroda explores the many dimensions of Raja Ravi Varma’s first painting to enter the Gaekwad collection, “Sita Bhumi Pravesh.”

The Emotive Raja

Dr. Swarnamalya Ganesh explores Raja Ravi Varma’s contemporary interpretations of the classical ashta-nayikas in this article.

Raja Ravi Varma Kizhakke Palat Krishna Menon Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation

Commemorating 150 years

Ganesh Shivaswamy explores 150 years of Raja Ravi Varma’s resonant legacy through 15 iconic paintings.

The Life of Raja Ravi Varma: 1848-1885

The first segment of a three part biography of the artist written by Her Highness Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, the Princess of Travancore and great grand-daughter of the artist.

The Life of Raja Ravi Varma: 1885-1894

The second segment of a three part biography of the artist written by Her Highness Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, the Princess of Travancore and great grand-daughter of the artist.

Raja Ravi Varma Hamsa Damayanti

The Life of Raja Ravi Varma: 1894-1906

The third segment of a three part biography of the artist written by Her Highness Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, the Princess of Travancore and great grand-daughter of the artist.