This is an interesting preparatory sketch and there is a reference to a painting by Raja Ravi Varma which was sent to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. It is said Raja Ravi Varma sent a painting with the following description "At the Well depicts a daughter-in-law of a South Indian brahmin house who is tired of her chores yet her mother in law never ceases scolding her." The woman who attending to the child is wearing a nine-yard saree worn by the Tamil Iyer community of South India. The old woman strikes a pose of domination. It is therefore probable this sketch was a preparatory drawing for the painting "At the Well"


  • Title: At the Well
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma
  • Location: India
  • Physical Dimensions: 34 x 24 cms
  • Type: Sketch
  • Original Source: Collection of DAG- New Delhi, Mumbai, New York.
  • Rights: Curatorial rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Medium: Graphite on Paper
  • Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02
  • Creator's Biography: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was a prolific Indian artist who is recognized for his resorting to the academic realistic style of painting. His portraits of English and Indian royalty and aristocracy were well received. His paintings on Hindu religious and mythological subjects and paintings from classical and literary sources were highly sought after even during his lifetime. He painted several copies of his works and this demand led to the suggestion to have his paintings printed in the form of oleographs. The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press was established in Bombay (now Mumbai) and commenced operations in 1894. Many of Ravi Varma's paintings were printed as chromolithographs at this Press. These chromolithographs would have a tremendous impact on religion, society and aesthetics. They went on to democratize art leading to immortalize Ravi Varma in the minds of the people of the Indian subcontinent.

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