Critically examine the efforts of Raja Ravi Varma to re-establish Indian art.
Raja Ravi Varma tried to re-establish Indian art through western methods and technique. He is best known for depiction of scenes from Indian mythology and epics.
His iconic and figural portraits of Indian women, mythological gods, royal life, literary figures and national heroes and heroines were an amalgamation of the European Realism, technique and material but were Indian in subject as well as narration. While the company style is known for extensive use of the English water colours, Raja Ravi Varma modified the European style of perspective and composition with the Indian Iconography and used oil painting. The oil painting was an inexpensive technology and coupled with Raja Ravi Varma’s oleographs, his paintings gained immense popularity due to their mass production and cheap prices and therefore the poor could also afford his work.
Due to use of Indian Mythology and realism, he became very popular artists. But his critics, particularly the doyens of the Bengal School of Art alleged that his paintings were of bad taste.
Raja Ravi Varma was basically a link between the Neo-Bengal Movement and the Company art. If we view it from the perspective of Bengal school of art, it was not a national. But if we view the spread of his work, we can say that his work created a national identity in India at a time when mother India was in dire need of such identity.
E-Book: 001 - Indian Art Forms