10 Celebrated Divine Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma
The great Indian epics have always amused Raja Ravi Varma, arguably the best artist India has seen. May be that is why he chose scenes and situations from Ramayana and Mahabharata for his paintings.
Most of his paintings illustrated love and you will find many stories of love taken from our epics as situations for Raja Ravi Varma paintings. Here is list of his famous divine paintings.
Radha introduced to Krishna
When it comes to the greatest love stories from Indian epics, the story of Radha-Krishna is right up there. The story of innocent love, devotion and broken hearts captured imaginations of many artists. In this painting, Radha is being introduced to Lord Krishna. River Kalindi in the backdrop makes the whole painting even more beautiful.
This painting portrays a scene from the great epic, Ramayana.
The story behind this painting is related to ‘Sita Apaharan’. Ravana abducted Sita, wife of Lord Rama. On the way back to his kingdom, Jatayu, a demigod in the form of vulture, confronted Ravana. Jatayu tried everything he could to save Sita from the evil hands of Ravana. However, being too old, age made him weaker of the two and Ravana cut off Jatayu’s wing. He fell down with too many injuries to survive. But, Jatayu held on to his life till Rama and Lakshmana found him and he told them about everything from the fight to the direction in which Ravana flew with Sita.
This painting from Ravi Varma portrays the scene of fight to its best. The evil intent of King Ravana, grief of abducted Sita, valiance of Jatayu, all illustrated with great lucidity.
Vishnu on Garuda
This is another Ravi Varma painting of Lord Vishnu with his two wives, Lakshmi and Maya, on Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Garuda has a snake in his hands, which is all set to become his food very soon. This particular painting has even made it to the famous Christie’s auctions and fetched around $17,500.
Seduction of Vishwamitra
This beautiful painting by Ravi Varma has a great story behind it.
Once, Rishi Vishwamitra started Tapasya that went on for centuries. This made Devraj Indra restless thinking Vishwamitra is aiming for his throne. Indra then decided to disrupt Vishwamitra’s Tapasya. Indra trusted Menaka with the task of disrupting Vishwamitra’s Tapasya by seducing him. Menaka took up the task, but not with complete compliance, and went to the forest where the Rishi was in Tapasya. With the help of Kamdev, Menaka was able to seduce the Rishi and break his Tapasya.
The painting illustrates the seduction of Menaka at work.
Nala leaving Damayanthi
The story of Nala and Damayanti is another story of great love.
After they got married, Nala lost all his possession along with his kingdom in a dice game. He was then asked to leave the country. Damayanti decided to go along with Nala, much to his opposition. Nala wanted Damayanti to return to her father, but all efforts of Nala went in vain. However, during night when Damayanti was asleep, Nala decided to leave her hoping she would return to her father. This is the situation portrayed in the painting.
Ravi Varma gave the look of agony on the face of Nala as he was forced to leave his wife.
Ravi Varma, who always found his interest in Gods and mythological stories, has here portrayed Mahalakshmi standing on a lotus flower in a beautiful pond. Ravi Varma who is known for turning Gods to humans though his paintings, has done somewhat the same with Mahalakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and fortune. In most Hindu houses, you will find reproductions of this painting hanging on the walls.
It’s not a rare thing when Gods and Goddesses find places in Ravi Varma paintings. This time, it’s Saraswathi. The Goddess of knowledge, Saraswathi, is playing her ‘Veena’ on the banks of a beautiful river. A peacock standing by the side of Saraswathi is enjoying the music and admiring the Goddess.
Yasoda with Krishna
The painting of Yasoda holding Krishna, who is in a very playful mood, in her hands portrays the love of a mother. Yasoda is showing and describing something that cause Krishna’s eye. He is also holding one of his toys in his hands. The evening sky and the mountains in the background amplify the beauty of this Ravi Varma painting.
Sita longs for the golden deer
During the time of exile, Ram, Sita and Lakshman were staying in a forest. One day, Sita sees a golden deer, which actually a demon in disguise, running around the place. The situation for this Ravi Varma painting is Sita expressing her wish to have that deer. Ram, carrying bow and arrow, is setting out to catch the golden deer for Sita.
There is no need to describe the story of love between Radha and Krishna.
The innocent love between the two and the times they spend together makes the story interesting as well as captivating. The use of bright colors with sun shining over the river Kalindhi makes the setting blissful and divine. This painting tells us why Ravi Varma is the best in portraying love on the canvas. Not a single brush stroke is out of proportion and the use of colors along with free flowing love makes this yet another masterpiece from Ravi Varma.
The list above discusses only a small number of Ravi Varma paintings that speak loud about his abilities and divine touch with brush. Raja Ravi Varma gave faces to Hindu Gods and if the faces you pray happen to appear on some Ravi Varma paintings, that probably is not a coincidence.
Which among these paintings are your favorites? Did Ravi Varma really gave faces to our beloved gods? Share your comments with us via the following form.