Shankar Version 1

Raja Ravi Varma and Ravi Varma PressCirca 1950

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation

The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation
Bengaluru, India

SHANKAR: This is a representation of Shiva in his sportive form (lila-murti) of Vigneshanugraha-murti- the form of Lord Shiva in the act of blessing or bestowing grace upon Ganapathi. It is in this form of Lord Shiva that the Ganapathi is made the lord of the troops (gana-pathi).

This print from the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma follows the scriptural description. Lord Shiva is represented as the central figure with four arms which carry the trident (trishul) and the battle-axe (parashu) while his primary hands embrace Parvathi and the other hand although nonchalantly is resting upon Ganapathi is actually in the gesture of protection (abhaya). Ganapathi is also with four arms carrying the noose (pasha) and goad (ankusha) a sweet dumpling (modaka) and his tusk (danta).


  • Title: Shankar Version 1
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Ravi Varma Press
  • Date Created: Circa 1950
  • Location Created: Malavli
  • Physical Dimensions: 50 x 35 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Hinduism, 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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