Menaka and Shakuntala - 02

by Raja Ravi Varma
(inclusive of taxes)

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Size: 21.75 x 15.5 inches (Framed)
Condition: Slight fading of colour
Medium: Oleograph
Signature: Bottom Left
Year: 1910/20s


This is an early and rare oleograph of “Menaka and Shakuntala” by Ravi Varma, from 1910s/20s. Shakuntala's story is told in the epic poem, Mahabharata. In this image, Ravi Varma depicts how Shakuntala, caught up in reverie of her husband King Dushyanta, failed to greet Rishi Durvasa, who cursed her that the person she was thinking of would forget her. King Dushyanta indeed failed to recognise her when she went to his palace, and deeply disappointed, Shakuntala takes refuge in her mother Menaka's arms as she is spirited away to the heavens.
The oleograph has a signature on the bottom left. There is some fading of colour due to passage of time.
  • 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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