SHAKUNTALA JANM OR THE BIRTH OF SHAKUNTALA: Shakuntala was born to Vishwamitra and Menaka who was deputed by Indra to distract Vishwamitra from his intense penance. When Menaka presented Shakuntala to Vishwamitra, he refused to acknowledge the child. Menaka thereafter left the child on the banks of the Malini river and returned to Deva-loka. Birds gathered around the orphaned child when sage Kanva came that way. As sakuntas (birds) were petting the child, Kanva raised the child and caller her Shakuntala.

This print from the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma portrays the drama of Vishwamitra refusing to acknowledge the child despite Menaka submissively offering the child to Vishwamitra.

This was the first print issued by the Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press in the year 1894.


  • Title: Shakuntala Janm
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press Bombay
  • Date Created: 1894
  • Physical Dimensions: 50 x 35 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Shakuntala, Gigapixel
  • Type: Chromolithograph
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru
  • 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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