Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gods and Humans

Thought behind the thought
Mythology tells us interesting tales about Gods. Their actions, their character, their way of facing the unique situations in life. It also tells us, that they had a lot of qualities that were essentially 'human' . Natural, isn't it, if we have created these 'Gods' in our own image!

Having said that, we have also assigned certain qualities to them that are most definitely aspirational in natrure, 'good' qualities that are difficult to attain, but desirable and hence 'godly'. That is what we mean when we call certain people 'godly' or 'god-like'.
Saints rise above the level of the ordinary and move towards the realm of godliness with their good thoughts and good deeds. Hagiology, the study of the lives of saints, does tell us that human beings can be gods too, if they imbibe in them all that is good in this world! 

Raja Ravi Verma, probably the most celebrated painter in Indian Art History, brought Indian Gods to life through his paintings. In fact, many a times, his paintings have defined for us Indians, what our mythological characters looked like. It is indeed a difficult task to portray Gods, and but natural to paint them in the image of man!

 Sita, Ravana and Jataayu

 Devi Saraswati

 Yashoda and Lord Krishna



A Maharashtrian lady

About the Artist
Raja Ravi Varma (29 April 1848 – 2 October 1906) was an Indian painter and artist from the princely state of Travancore who achieved recognition for his paintings depicting scenes from Indian literature and mythology including the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art and his paintings are considered to be among the best examples of the fusion of Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art.
Varma's paintings portrayed sari-clad women in graceful manner which became an important motif of that time, reproductions being found in many homes.
Apparently on the advice of the then Dewan (Prime Minister) of Travancore, T. Madhava Rao, Ravi Varma started a lithographic printing press in Ghatkopar, Mumbai in 1894 and later shifted it to Malavli near Lonavala, Maharashtra in 1899. The press was managed by Varma's brother, Raja Varma. In 1901 the press was sold to his printing technician from Germany, Mr. Schleizer and later closed down after it was gutted in an accidental fire.
The oleographs produced by the press were mostly of Hindu gods and goddesses in scenes adapted mainly from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas. These oleographs were very popular and continued to be printed in thousands for many years, even after his death in 1906.
He travelled throughout India in search of subjects. He often modelled Hindu Goddesses on South Indian women, whom he considered beautiful. Ravi Varma's representation of mythological characters has become a part of the Indian imagination of the epics. He is often criticized for being too showy and sentimental in his style but his work remains very popular in India. Many of his fabulous paintings are housed at Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara.

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