Raja Ravi Varma - Portrait of An Artist

Raja Ravi Varma - Portrait of An Artist

Product ID: 15663

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Author: Erwin Neumayer
Christine Schelberger/
Editor(s): Erwin Neumayer / Christine Schelberger
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2005
Language: English
Pages: 350
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195659716


The Diary of C Raja Raja Varma, a journal kept by Raja Ravi Varma's brother, is one of the most important and authentic source materials on the last ten years of the life of Raja Ravi Varma, one of India's most famous artists. C Raja Raja Varma was co-worker, assistant, secretary, and business manager to the renowned artist. Their symbiotic relationship is well known, and they are often referred to as the Ram and Laxman of Indian art.

This diary, available in its full and authentic form for the first time, is a huge source of information on the accomplishments of Ravi Varma and the working of his Ravi Varma Fine Arts Lithographic Press over a ten-year period, 1894-5 to 1905. Over 1000 entries accompanied by a colour plate section of rare photographs, paintings, drawings, and art magazines of the period, showcase the artist's method of working and the influences on his art.

This journal, which began as a travelogue during Raja Varma's tour with Prince Martanda Varma in 1894, mostly chronicles the Varma brother's journeys while they attended to their flourishing portraiture business. It also contains the only reliable source material on Ravi Varma's great industrial enterprise, the Ravi Varma Fine Arts Lithographic Press. This press, founded in Bombay in 1894, had an overwhelming impact on modern Indian aesthetics. It introduced a kind of visual imagery, which until this day defines the parameters of popular Indian visual media, especially of now much talked-about Indian calendar pictures, and also modern visual media such as cinema and television. The diary gives an insight into the internal business of the Ravi Varma Press, particularly the separation of the partnership between the Varma brothers and their financial companion Govardhan Das, and the final transfer of ownership of the Press into the hands of the German master printer Fritz Schleicher.

Accompanied by extensive notes and a chronology, The Diary of C Raja Raja Varma will be an invaluable reference to scholars of Indian art, art lovers and critics, and will appeal to the general reader in India and abroad.


The diary will be of immense value to scholars and of great interest to the general public. It illuminates the life and practice of Ravi Varma as recorded by his brother Raja Varma, One of the most valuable sources for first-hand information on Ravi Varma's life, There are, delightful nuggets of candid opinions on other artists and insights on Western drawing and painting methods of the Varmas, A fascinating account.
-Partha Mitter, Research Professor of Art History, University of Sussex, author of The Oxford History of Modern Art

It is the first time that the diaries of C Raja Raja Varma, are being published and made available to a wider audience. They throw light on the lifestyle of the Varma brothers and give the readers some idea about Ravi Varma's method of working, Contains not only rare family photographs but also images of women modeling, Undoubtedly, the book will serve as an encyclopedic reference work on Raja Ravi Varma.
-Jyotindra Jain, Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, in Biblio


Foreword by Partha Mitter


Date Location index



The Diary of C Raja Raja Verma, The End of the Diary and After

Notes, R V Chronology


Historic Photographs, Index, Inventory of the RV Library at Kilimanur.