Authentication & Restoration

Other Works

Works that have been physically examined by the Foundation,
unsigned but presumed to have been done by Raja Ravi Varma

B A Prince

B A Prince on Cycle

This painting hangs in one of the erstwhile Ammaveedu bungalows in Thiruvananthapuram and is a family heirloom that was handed down from father to daughter. The subject in this painting, B A Prince, was the great grandfather of the present owner of the painting. This appears to be one of the paintings done by Ravi Varma of the Prince during one of their travels together.

The painting is ‘Unsigned’ but bears characteristics and technical similarities to a 'work done by the hand of Raja Ravi Varma.’

The Foundation was invited to examine the painting, however the work has not been subjected to x-ray or any physical or chemical testing.

Baby Princess

Portrait of Narayani Pillai

This is portrait of Narayani Pillai, the wife of B A Prince or Aswathi Thirunal Marthanda Varma. This painting hangs in one of the erstwhile Ammaveedu bungalows in Thiruvananthapuram and is a family heirloom that was handed down from father to daughter. Narayani Pillai was the grand aunt of the present owner of the work.

The painting is ‘Unsigned’ but bears characteristics and technical similarities to a ‘work done by the hand of Raja Ravi Varma.’

The Foundation was invited to examine the painting, however the work has not been subjected to x-ray or any physical or chemical testing.

Works that have been physically examined by the Foundation,
not done by Raja Ravi Varma

V Nagam Aiyah

V Nagam Aiyah

The subject in this painting was a senior bureaucrat in Travancore who wrote the Travancore State Manual and was familiar with Raja Ravi Varma and his brother. The painting is presently in the possession of one of the family members.

While closely observing, and taking into consideration all of the facts of analysis, it is hereby concluded that the ‘painting has NOT been done by the hand of Raja Ravi Varma’. It could possibly have been done by some artist of his time, painted in the manner of Raja Ravi Varma, but without a signature.

Birth of Shakuntala

Ganga Shantanu

Sairandhri

These works, though done in the style of Raja Ravi Varma and on a similar subject, lacked the finesse and skill of a work done by the master artist. While closely observing, and taking into consideration all of the facts of analysis, it was concluded that these painting ‘have NOT been done by the hand of Raja Ravi Varma’.

They could possibly have been done by some artist of his time, painted in the manner of Raja Ravi Varma, but without a signature. The signature in all these paintings has been added at a later date, which is discernible through X-Ray and UV light exposure.

B A Prince

B A Prince

B A Prince died at the age of 29 in 1900. Raja Ravi Varma was an accomplished portrait painter by then. There appear to be several inconsistencies between what the artist could have produced and what the art work looks like.

The Foundation is of the opinion that this portrait of B. A. Prince ‘is done in the manner of the artist but after his lifetime’.

B A Prince

Veena Nu Mrug

A version of the popular work by Ravi Varma featuring a dark-skinned hunter and a fair maiden distressed over an injured bird, this painting shows the female character draped in a bright pink saree, as opposed to the original version showing her in white. While the visible figures have been done in the style and manner of Raja Ravi Varma, the signature appears to have been added later.

Examination under x-ray revealed the figure of a Tibetan Thangka below, clearly indicating that this work has been overpainted on a canvas that at one time bore the figure of this thangka.

It is unlikely that Ravi Varma painted a Tibetan Thangka during his time. This proves that the painting is ‘Not Original and has not been painted by the hand of Raja Ravi Varma’.

Baby Princess

Lady with a Violin

This painting of a lady playing a violin has been done in similar theme and style to a work of the same subject done by Ravi Varma. However the artistic technique and fine details clearly indicate that the work could have been done by a skilled artist who followed the style of the master artist.

The Foundation examined the x-rays of this work, took into account the age of the canvas, the style of painting and other details before concluding this this work ‘is not original and has Not been done by the hand of Raja Ravi Varma. Instead it appears to be a work done by an artist from the School of Ravi Varma.

Works that have been sent to the Foundation for review,
but not physically examined

Lithographic Examplers

Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation were shown a set of 5 lithographic examplers titled as follows:

  • Matsya Avatar
  • Varaha Avatar
  • Shesha Narayana
  • Kurma Avatar
  • Shiv Parivar

It was brought to the notice of the Foundation that 5 works that had been used to create very popular lithographs in the Ravi Varma Press, had been abandoned on a Private Vessel owned by an Indian businessman whose estate was being investigated by authorities. The paintings had been purchased via an auction house in the early 1990s, the catalogue of which clearly documented that the works were done by the ‘School of Raja Ravi Varma’ and not the artist himself.

The Foundation has not examined these paintings physically, but believes them to have been done by one of the foreign artists employed in the Ravi Varma Presses after Varma himself sold the press to his German partner. The faces and features of these works are more anglicised, like many of the later lithographs made in the Ravi Varma Press.

Hence the Foundation is of the opinion that these works were not done by Raja Ravi Varma himself, instead by another artist who followed his style of painting.

Copies of Popular Ravi Varma works

The Coquette

Shakuntala’s Impending Calamity

Lady Playing the Veena (2 Versions)

Contemplation (Lost in Reverie)

Radha Waiting For Krishna With Unidentified Companion

Music Hath Charms

Malavika Agnimitram

These are copies of very famous work and well documented works done by Raja Ravi Varma. However these work lack the finesse and perfect proportions that the artist successfully achieved in nearly all his paintings. Many are of similar subjects, with marginal changes made to costumes and colours used.

The Foundation is of the opinion that these are ‘works done by artists after Ravi Varma’s lifetime who followed his school and style of painting’.

Lithograph of Shakuntala Janm

The Foundation often receives information from people who claim to own ‘original’ paintings by Raja Ravi Varma. Most often they contact the Foundation looking for an avenue to sell or valuate the artwork.

One such call led us to the residence of Manju Bhargavi in Bangalore, who claimed to have an original work of ‘Birth of Shakuntala’. Upon visiting the Bhargavi residence the Foundation team found that the work was a lithograph and not an oil painting. However, the lithograph was old and might have been produced at one of the first established Ravi Varma Presses.

The Foundation team examined the work physically and provided only an oral opinion to the owner.