Raja Ravi Varma was an Indian painter from the princely state of Travancore who achieved recognition for his depiction of scenes from the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. His paintings are considered to be among the best examples of the fusion of Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art.
Varma is most remembered for his paintings of beautiful sari-clad women, who were portrayed as shapely and graceful. His exposure in the west came when he won the first prize in the Vienna Art Exhibition in 1873. Raja Ravi Varma died in 1906 at the age of 58. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art.
Raja Ravi Varma received widespread acclaim after he won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna in 1873. Raja Ravi Varma's paintings were also sent to the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 and he was awarded two gold medals. He travelled throughout India in search of subjects. He often modeled Hindu Goddesses on South Indian women, whom he considered beautiful. Ravi Varma is particularly noted for his paintings depicting episodes from the story of Dushyanta and Shakuntala, and Nala and Damayanti, from the Mahabharata. Ravi Varma's representation of mythological characters has become a part of the Indian imagination of the epics. He is often criticized for being too showy and sentimental in his style. However his work remains very popular in India. His many fabulous paintings are available at Laxmi Vilas Palace of Vadodara.