Raja Ravi Varma: An Everlasting Imprint - The Shaping of an Artist

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The books in the series, Raja Ravi Varma: An Everlasting Imprint, explore the democratization of art in India through the country’s foremost modern artist and the Ravi Varma Press. The first volume looks at the life and times of Raja Ravi Varma and how he created images which found widespread acceptance and appreciation among common men and women. The second volume describes the setting up of the Ravi Varma Press and the transformative effects of its visual legacy. The remaining volumes look at specific themes depicted in the works of the artist and the Press. The third volume explores visuals and iconography of the divine, while the fourth volume deals with the epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The fifth volume discusses images from the Shrimad Bhagavatam, classical dramas and other Hindu texts, while the sixth and concluding volume turns to imagery of power and the allure of the feminine.

As may be observed, Ravi Varma is the central point in this narrative. Although instrumental in popularizing fine art and prints in India, he was not the only person working in this field. Biographies, hitherto, have mainly focused his life and contributions; but this series also studies the role of the many others who participated in this movement. His relatives, tutors, mentors, models, and societal and cultural influences are brought in. The functioning of the Ravi Varma Press is another focus of attention—it is intriguing to note that the establishment was at no point in time ever owned by Raja Ravi Varma, even though it was named after him. Those who carried forward the baton, borrowing and keeping alive the artist’s style and icons in the world of cinema, theatre, fashion, design and fine art, are all documented. Along with the creators of this kind of art, the books also consider the opinions shared by viewers. After all, any amount of public fame and recognition entailed adulation and praise but also criticism, disapproval and evaluation, all of which are covered and lend value to these books.

About the Author: Ganesh V. Shivaswamy is a lawyer by profession who started collecting chromolithographs of the Ravi Varma Press from the age of 13. The collection is now considered to be one of the most comprehensive repositories of prints from the Press. He established the Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation in 2019, which partnered with Google Arts & Culture to showcase the work of Raja Ravi Varma and the Press. In 2020, he was appointed the Honorary Curator of the Sree Chitra Art Gallery, Thiruvananthapuram, which houses the largest government collection of the artist’s works.


  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: White Falcon Publishing; 1 edition (2023)
  • Author: Ganesh V. Shivaswamy
  • ISBN-13: 9781636408460
  • Product Dimensions:  8.27 x 1 x 11.69 Inches

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