Talk: An Indian Way of Seeing: The Art of Raja Ravi Varma

Lecture presentation by Robert J. Del Bontą 

Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), a member of the royal house of Travancore in Kerala, was a student of Western Academic Style oil painting. He excelled in formal portraits of Indian princes of the realm and their families and also of members of the East India Company. He used his creative talents to develop the chromolithograph printing technique that allowed him to make multiple copies of images of Hindu gods and goddesses that were done in a popular style derived from Indian miniature paintings with Western references.

Robert Del Bontą will address the stylistic ambiguities that have arisen in the critiques of Raja Ravi Varma's art. Many scholars look at his work from a Western perspective, but Del Bontą questions this, asking whether we can really know what Raja Ravi Varma's goals were.

Robert J. Del Bontą, Ph.D. is an independent scholar of South Asian art and culture. Since 1978 he has been associated with the Asian Art Museum and the Society for Asian Art in San Francisco. He has lectured and published on the Hoysala Temples of Karnataka, and Indian paintings. His recent scholarship is on Jaina art and he is active with the Centre of Jaina Studies at SOAS in London. He has guest curated many exhibitions of Indian art and photography at the Asian Art Museum, at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and other colleges and universities.

This program is co-sponsored by SACHI and the Asian Art Museum

Saturday, November 03, 2012


FREE with museum admission



Samsung Hall
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102