This work by Ravi Varma, portraying a fair-skinned Nair lady draped in Kerala cotton, reinforces the contrast of class and good fortune. The Nair woman looks calmly at the viewer while relaxing with a book, while the dark-skinned maid in the background cools her down with a palm-leaf fan. The composition of this work is reminiscent of Edouard Manet's Olympia, but it is apparent that both a stylistic and a cultural adaptation have occurred in Ravi Varma's painting.


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