Shakuntala Patra Lekhan of Shakuntala Writing a Love Letter

Raja Ravi Varma

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation
Bengaluru, India

Shakuntala writing a love letter is a theme Raja Ravi Varma painted several times. Commencing with the earliest known painting in 1878, this painting is a later version of the same theme. It is derived from Kalidasa's play, Abhijnanasakuntalam. Shakuntala is seen seated on a rock, contemplating the verse to be composed which she pricks onto the lotus leaf. In this painting, both her friends Anasuya and Priyamvada are with her.


  • Title: Shakuntala Patra Lekhan of Shakuntala Writing a Love Letter
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma
  • Location: India
  • Physical Dimensions: 83 x 68 cms
  • Type: Sketch
  • Original Source: Private Collection
  • Rights: Curatorial rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas
  • 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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