Tuesday, June 5, 2018

01 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretation of Hindu mythology, With Footnotes - 98

Raja Ravi Varma, 1848 -1906
Untitled (Tillottama), c. 1896
Oil on canvas
20 x 13¼ in. (50.8 x 33.5 cm.)
Private collection

Tilottama is a Apsaras, celestial nymphs, from Hindu mythology. In the epic Mahabharata, Tilottama was created at Brahma's request by using the best possible assets to create an almost perfect being. Her purpose was to bring about the destruction of the two Asuras (demons) named Sunda and Upasunda who were brothers and could not be destroyed by anyone except themselves. As their atrocities grew, the God Indra sent Tilottama to them. So captivated were they by her beauty that the jealous brothers fought over her and ended up killing each other. This painting portrays her descent through the skies down to earth, most likely after her creation.

Raja Ravi Varma (29 April 1848 – 2 October 1906) was a celebrated Indian painter and artist. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art for a number of aesthetic and broader social reasons. Firstly, his works are held to be among the best examples of the fusion of European techniques with a purely Indian sensibility. While continuing the tradition and aesthetics of Indian art, his paintings employed the latest European academic art techniques of the day. Secondly, he was notable for making affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure. His lithographs increased the involvement of common people with fine arts and defined artistic tastes among common people for several decades. In particular, his depictions of Hindu deities and episodes from the epics and Puranas have received profound acceptance from the public. More on Raja Ravi Varma

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