Sree Chitra Art Gallery

Raja Ravi Varma & the Museum at Thiruvananthapuram

As early as in 1895-95 Raja Ravi Varma started corresponding with the officials at Trivandrum suggesting that a picture gallery be established at Trivandrum, the capital city of the kingdom of Travancore. His Highness Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, Maharaja of Travancore, commissioned Ravi Varma to paint five pictures, commencing with “Draupadi at the Court of Virat.” One of paintings commissioned at this time was the iconic Hamsa Damayanti.

The ‘Picture Gallery’ was thereafter inaugurated as a Museum in September 1935 by His Highness Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, Maharaja of Travancore. It was originally named the “Sree Chitralayam” and is now called the Sree Chitra Art Gallery.

Raja Ravi Varma & the Museum at Thiruvananthapuram
The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation & Sree Chitra Art Gallery

In 2020, the Government of Kerala embarked upon creating a new wing dedicated specially to the works of Raja Ravi Varma, his brother C. Raja Raja Varma, his sister Mangalabai Thampurathy and other artists. The foundation stone for the new wing was laid by the Chief Minister of Kerala in November 2019.

Ganesh Shivaswamy was appointed the Honorary Curator of this museum in March 2021. The new museum is the collective vision of the Government of Kerala, Keralam Museums, Dr. Venu Vasudevan, Additional Chief Secretary, Mr. Abu Sivadas, Director, Department of Museums and Zoos, Mr. Chandran Pillai, Executive Director, Keralam Museums, Mrs. Manjula Harilal, Superintendent, Sree Chitra Art Gallery, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi, Education Officer,
Quern Designs, Kozhikode: Mr. Naseeb and Ms. Zeba Maria, Mr. Girikumar, Conservator, and many other dedicated individuals who strive towards a refreshed
showcasing of the great artist’s legacy.

Virtual rendering of the new museum

Poster raja ravi varma

The Online Symposium conducted by the Sree Chithra Art gallery, Department of Museums and Zoos, Govt. of Kerala with Dr Venu Vasudevan, Ramavarma Kilimanoor Palace, Abu Sivadas, Manjula Harilal, Prof. Chitrabhanu, Architect. Zeba Maria, Ganesh Shivaswamy, the Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation and Girikumar Sekharakurup on April 29, 2021.

Webinar conducted by The Art Platform India (#TAPTalks) and the Apparao Galleries, Chennai

On the occasion of International Museums Day, the Art Platform, India (#TAPTalks) headed by Sharan Apparao organized a webinar titled “A New Beginning: Re-imagining the Iconic Raja Ravi Varma Museum.” The webinar featured segments by Ganesh Shivaswamy, Architect. Zeba Maria and Girikumar Sekharakurup. The webinar was conducted on May 18, 2021.

Newsletter ,raja ravi varma

The new wing dedicated to the works of Raja Ravi Varma; his brother, C. Raja Raja Varma; his sister, Mangalabai Thampuratty and other artists was inaugurated on September 25, 2023 by the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan; the Minister of Ports, Museums, Archaeology and Archives, Ahammed Devarkovil and others.