by Raja Ravi Varma
(inclusive of taxes)

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Size: 22 x 16.5 inches (Framed)
Press: Ravi Varma Press, Karla-Lonavala
Condition: Small tear on top right
Medium: Oleograph
Signature: Bottom Left
Year: 1930s


This is an oleograph of Subramanyaswami, more commonly known as Kartikeya - the Hindu God of War, with his consorts. He is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati and brother of Ganesha. Kartikeya is predominantly worshipped in South India. His life story has many different versions in Hinduism. He is typically represented as a youthful man, with a peacock near him. Some depictions, such as this one, show him with six heads, reflecting the legend around his birth, where six mothers supposedly took care of him as a new born baby. On either side of him are his consorts Devayanai (Devasena) and Valli. Kartikeya sits on his peacock vahana and around them fans out the stunning feathers of the displaying peacock tail. In his twelve hands, Kartikeya carries various objects, mainly weapons. In his upper left hand he holds his emblem the cockerel, while the spear, which is his characteristic weapon Shakti, rests on his right shoulder. He also wears a crown, numerous
necklaces, bracelets, anklets and is adorned with a flower garland. The peacock stands with its talons on a cobra, which some say symbolises the ego.
The artwork carries Ravi Varma's signature on the bottom left. There is a tear on the top right, but the artwork is otherwise in very good condition.
  • ABOUT Raja Ravi Varma

    Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was a celebrated Indian artist, famous for his realistic portrayal of Indian gods, goddesses and mythological characters, in scenes adapted mainly from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas.

    Considered to be one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art, Ravi Varma fused European techniques with a pure Indian sensibility. Though a protégé of royalty, Raja Ravi Varma was the first to make prints (or lithographs) of his artworks affordable and easily available, bringing fine art to the masses. In fact, the Raja Ravi Varma Press was started in Mumbai by him in 1894, and managed by his brother Raja Varma, before being bought over by a German company. 

    An original 1890 Ravi Varma oil on canvas, titled 'Radha In The Moonlight' was sold for a whopping Rs. 20 crores at a Pundole auction in November 2016.

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  • ABOUT Oleographs

    Oleographs, also called chromolithographs, are multi-colour art prints, stemming from the process of lithography. Pioneered in the 1830s, the process of producing oleographs came into wide commercial use in the 1860s. The technique relied on using several woodblocks or stones with colours for printing, while hand-colouring remained an important aspect as well. Depending on the number of colours present, an oleograph could take months to produce by very skilled workers. Poor preservation and cheaper printing alternatives have made oleographs hard to find. Today, they are mainly used as fine art.

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