Dattatreya 02

by Raja Ravi Varma
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Medium: Oleograph
Size: 20.5 x 16 inches (Framed)
Signature: Bottom Left


Dattatreya is a god and one of the lords of Yoga in Hinduism. He is considered to be a combined representation of the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He is represented with three heads, one each for Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He has six hands, in which he carries various things such as the water pot (kamandala) representing Brahma, the trident (trishul) representing Shiva and the conch (shank) and discus (chakra) representing Vishnu. The four dogs surrounding Dattatreya symbolize the four Vedas, while the bull is Shiva’s vehicle.
This oleograph carries the signature of the artist, Raja Ravi Varma. It depicts a rare subject, making the artwork more valuable. There are a few tears towards the bottom of the artwork.
  • 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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