Sir Thanjavur Madhava Row (1828-1891) was a Dewan (a post equivalent to that of a Prime Minister) to the Kingdoms of Travancore, Baroda and Indore. An exceedingly influential person, it was he who was instrumental in Raja Ravi Varma being introduced to the Court of Baroda. It was Sir Madhava who acquired the painting 'Sita Bhumipravesh" and presented it to Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. It was also Sir Madhava who suggested to Raja Ravi Varma, as early as in 1884 “There are many of my friends who are desirous of possessing your works. It would be hardly possible for you, with only a pair of hands, to meet such a large demand. Send, therefore, a few of your select works to Europe and have them oleographed. You will thereby not only extend your reputation, but will be doing a great service to the country.” This suggestion was eventually fructify in the year 1894 when the Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press commenced operations at Bombay (now Mumbai).


  • Title: Sir Thanjavur Madhava Row
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma
  • Date Created: 1881
  • Location: India
  • Physical Dimensions: 175 x 123.5cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Original Source: Royal Gaekwad Collection, Lukshmi Vilas Palace, Baroda
  • 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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