Take a peek into the world of Raja Ravi Varma

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Friday, 26 October 2018

“Right from the utensils we use in our kitchen to the drawing room,  artistic sense prevailed throughout the house. But these days, people are forgetting to keep up with art and its appreciation. Hence, I took up this initiative to exhibit the lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma,” said Ajit Gadgil.

PUNE: Paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, known as the ‘Father of Modern Indian Art’, are renowned, but like his paintings, the notable and affordable lithographs which he created, made him a public figure. 

No doubt for collectors, collecting his paintings or lithographs always has been a challenging task. Taking up the mammoth task with the sole aim of reviving the culture of art, Ajit Gadgil, Founder of Zapurza Creative Hub will put on display over 130 lithographs of the famed painter. 

The painstaking work, Gadgil said was to create awareness in people that we are going away from the art which once was part of our mundane life. “Right from the utensils we use in our kitchen to the drawing room,  artistic sense prevailed throughout the house. But these days, people are forgetting to keep up with art and its appreciation. Hence, I took up this initiative to exhibit the lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma,” said Gadgil. 

“If we ask randomly to people to name at least five names of painters who re-defined art in the country, I doubt hardly after Raja Ravi Varma, people would know any other person,” he said. 

“For last 25 years I am collecting the paintings of various Indian artists. Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings can be found in old houses and temples. But many times, due to lack of space or other reasons, the paintings are not taken care of. You will be surprised to know that a scrap goods vendor  was passing  in front of my house, when I saw a painting by Ravi Varma. I stopped him and bought it from him. Later, we became friends and he would ensure to send me the discarded paintings which he would get,” reminisced Gadgil. 

“Once I went thrice to a village near Belgaum to get a painting of Ravi Verma. Then, there was an old woman who had a few paintings of him. There was no one who could look at them, so she gave them to me, saying now it will be taken good care of,” he said.

“The uniqueness of his paintings was he would capture the exact emotions. The women he portrayed would be truly Indian as he did a beautiful amalgamation of the method of how North and South Indian women would drape the saree. Though, a South Indian by birth, his art appealed to all art connoisseurs across British India,” he said.

His paintings were notable for drafting affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public which depicted Hindu deities and episodes from Ramayan and Mahabharat. 

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
- ‘A tribute to Raja Ravi Varma’ will be held at Balgandharva Rangmandir’s art gallery from October 27 to 31 from 11 am to 8 pm. The inauguration will take place on October 26 at 5 pm.  
- More than 100 lithographs based on Ramayan, Mahabharat, gods, and other mythological subjects along with prints of Raja Ravi Press, labels, idols, matchboxes and calendars will be displayed.
- The exhibition will highlight lithography technology. An old lithography stone along with a rare lithograph printed in 1888 will also be a part of this exhibition. Artists Ajay Deshpande and Aditya Shirke will give a demonstration on figurative art on October 27-28.

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