Saraswati and Lakshmi (Pair) 06

by Raja Ravi Varma
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Size: 32 x 24 inches each (Framed)
Condition: Slight fading of colour
Medium: Oleograph
Signature: Bottom Right and Bottom Left
Year: 1920s


This is a pair of rare, early edition Ravi Varma oleographs of the goddesses "Saraswati and Lakshmi” from 1910s/20s. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, love, beauty, joy and prosperity. Gajalakshmi means Lakshmi with elephants (gaja); the elephant can be seen on the right with its trunk raised to garland Lakshmi. This aspect of Lakshmi is representative of prosperity, good luck, and abundance. Lakshmi typically stands on a lotus pedestal, as depicted here, and is shown with four arms. In each of her upper arms, she carries a lotus, and the lower hands are shown in abhya (without fear) and varadamudra (dispensing boons). Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, art, speech, wisdom, and learning. She is typically shown holding in her hands a pustaka (book or script), a mala (rosary, garland) and a musical instrument (veena). Her vahana (vehicle), a peacock, is shown to the left of the image.
The size of the Saraswati oleograph is 31.5 x 24 inches (with frame), and the size of Lakshmi is 32 x 24 inches (with frame). The signature on the Saraswati is on the bottom right, while in the Lakshmi, it is slightly faded, at the bottom left.
  • 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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