When Ravi Varma painted ‘Hanuman’s Discourse’ he was still under the influence of the Tanjore style of painting, a school that he had closely studied during his residency at the Travancore court in Trivandrum. The ornate parabolic shaped crowns worn by gods and goddesses in Tanjore paintings find continuity in the crowns of Rama and his brother Lakshmana in this painting. Jewels of similar nature are repeated on the godly siblings in his later work titled ‘Sita Bhumipravesh’.
In this early work, the painter’s maturity to bringing both beauty and expression to faces is apparent. Within this small but tightly structured frame, all four personages contribute to the meaning of the narrative. As Hanuman reads from the palm leaves, Rama, who occupies the central position, explains and instructs, indicated by his teaching mudra, as it’s the central point of the painting.