Sita Swayamvar

by Raja Ravi Varma
(inclusive of taxes)


Size: 20 x 14 inches
Medium: Oleograph
Condition: Small tears at margin on the top
Signature: Signed by Ravi Varma


A 'swayamvar' was the practice of choosing a husband for a girl of marriageable age from a list of suitors, in ancient India. In the epic Ramayana, Sita's father, Janak Raja, decides to marry his daughter to the man who can lift the Shiva Dhanush (Lord Shiva's bow) and string it. Many suitors in her Swayamvar tried and failed, and then Rama successfully completed the task.

Depicting a very rare subject in oleographs, this artwork has been signed by the artist, Raja Ravi Varma. There are some tears at the margin on the top, otherwise the piece is in good condition. The size of the print is 20" x 14". With the frame, the artwork measures 23.5" x 17".

  • 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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