Raja Ravi Varma's name conjures a vision of an artist who was a revolutionary in his contribution to Indian art. A popular and significant artist of his time, Mr. Varma was a prominent representative of Europeanized School of Indian artists. His oleographs of Indian divinities still survive in many homes and shrines and these kitsch prints are framed and sacredly worshipped for posterity. His works are also popular and visible in religious prints, calendars, posters, and other popular arts. Interestingly enough, in the last decade of the Twentieth Century, with changing perceptions and trends in collecting art, Ravi Varma's paintings have soared in the art collector's esteem. Even after a century he is still one of the most celebrated painters of India.
Ravi Varma's life began in the small village of Killimanoor, 40 km to the North of Trivandrum in Kerala. Born on 29th April 1848, there was no greater artist than Ravi Varma either during his lifetime or in Indian Art History. Tributes came in from various places and people. Perhaps the most memorable is by Dr. Abanindranath Tagore, a revered name in Indian art, "it is rare to come across men like him, artists like him, lovers of India like him"- Parsram Mangharam.