The prints from the Ravi Varma Press inspired many later artists who painted for the printing presses established in Madras (now Chennai), Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, etc. These original paintings (referred to in the printing industry as 'Designs') have now become rare collectors items as very few continue to survive to the present day.

These paintings were used as exemplars for printing calendars and framing pictures just like the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, M V Dhurandhar, etc were used by the Ravi Varma Press.

This design was painted by C Kondiah Raju (1898-1976) who was born to a family of traditional artisans. He spent his initial years painting theatrical backdrops in Tamil Nadu and Ceylon. His early artistic career is not well documented but he rose in fame for his textual (shastraic) representations of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

He painted for most of the printers in Sivakasi and Madurai including the Kalaimagal Industries, Madurai; Coronation Litho Works, Sivakasi; Premier Litho Works; Sivakasi. His paintings were also printed in many of the Tamil magazines and Deepavali malars. His latter years were spent in Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu where he established the "Devi Art Studio". He had a number of pupils who assisted him. His most popular students were M. Ramalingam and T. S. Subbaiah.

His depictions were mostly influenced by Ravi Varma's compositions of the Gods and Goddesses. In this painting of 'Sabari' the composition is strikingly similar to the print from the Ravi Varma Press- Ahalyodhar or Ahalya Shaap Vimochan.


  • Title: Sabari
  • Creator: C Kondiah Raju
  • Date Created: 1930/1970
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru
  • Subject Keywords: Popular Art, Raja Ravi Varma, C Kondiah Raju, Ramayan
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Collection, Bengaluru
  • Medium: Gouache

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