Reinterpreting Raja Ravi Varma | A breath of fresh perspective

Hindsight is a great teacher. Even though there have been many volumes on the noble painter Raja Ravi Varma, the three under review show, with the present’s technological telescopes zoomed on the past, that there is much room left for fresh interpretations. In 1894, an anonymous Malayalam book appeared on Ravi Varma which stopped at the opening of his Press in Bombay. Then came Ramananda Chatterjee in 1904, followed by Balakrishnan Nair in the 1950s, E.M.J. Venniyoor in 1980, and Rupika Chawla in 2010. What differentiates the tomes under review is not just the weight of the author’s scholarship, but a very sharp eye which zooms into the many layers beyond the obvious.

Leave a Comment