Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was born in Kilimanoor Palace as the son of Umamba Thampuratti and Ezhumavil Neelakandan Bhattathiripad. At the age of seven years he started drawing on the palace walls using charcoal. His uncle Raja Raja Varma noticed the talent of the child and gave preliminary lessons on painting. At the age of 14, Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja took him to Travancore Palace and he was taught water painting by the palace painter Rama Swamy Naidu. After 3 years Theodor Jenson, a British painter taught him oil painting.
Most of his oil paintings are based on Hindu epic stories and characters. In 1873 he won the First Prize at the Madras Painting Exhibition. He became a world famous Indian painter after winning in 1873 Vienna Exhibition.
Many of his oil paintings are classic and his unique Indian style has later influenced artists and designers worldwide.Some of his original paintings are available as oleographs. Some of the most famous oleographs of Raja Ravi Varma.

Goddess Saraswathi

Hamsa Damyanthi

Goddess Lakshmi

Shakunthala writing a letter

Keechaka and Sairandhri

Damayanthi Vanavas

Ganga Vatram

Shantanu and Matsyagandhi

Vishwamitra and Menaka


Usha's Dream

Hamsa Damayanthi



Urvashi and Purooravas

Lady Giving Alms

Shivaji Maharaj

Radha and Sakhi

Birth of Sakunthala

Sakunthala and Sakhis

All photos and text courtesy http://www.cyberkerala.com