Shantanu and Matsyagandha

Ravi Varma Press1890

Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation

Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation
Bengaluru, India

King Shantanu is captivated by Satyavati or Matsyagandha and wants to marry her. Their liaison later set the stage for the epic Mahabharata. Satyavati, brought up by a fish chieftain, agrees to marry Shantanu on the condition that their children would inherit the throne, thereby denying Devavrata, Shantanu's son his rightful place. Shantanu doesn't agree to it initially but after his son, Devavrata takes the bachelor-hood vow and comes to be addressed as Bhishma, agrees to the conditions, Shantanu marries her and fathers two children -- Chitrangada and Vichitravirya.


  • Title: Shantanu and Matsyagandha
  • Creator: Ravi Varma Press
  • Date Created: 1890
  • Physical Dimensions: 35 x 50 cm
  • Type: Reproduction
  • Original Source: From the Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation
  • Rights: Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Art Form: Print
  • Labels and Inscriptions: Ravi Varma Press, Karla, Lonavala
  • Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02
  • About the Artist: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), India’s foremost artist, who took art to the masses, hailed from Kilimanoor, in the erstwhile state of Travancore. From a very young age, Ravi Varma, was drawn towards art, imbibing techniques from his uncle and mentor Raja Raja Varma and his mother, Umayamba Bayi, a poet in her own right. Varma was much sought after by the Royals and owing to his popularity and reputation, his spectacular and richly-textured works were prolific. His realistic portrayals of contemporary figures and interpretations of religious and mythological figures fetched him instant and enduring success, lifting his standing in the art world. If the Royals and his countrymen were in awe of this great talent, the international world was spellbound by his imagination and creativity. He ensured that art would be accessible to all, through reproductions of his paintings which were made available, and affordable to everyone.

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