Sita Bhumi Pravesh by Raja Ravi Varma is his first picture painted from the Ramayana. On the reverse of the canvas is written "Ravi Varmah Coil Tampuran, 12 November 1880". This was the first painting by the artist to enter the Royal Gaekwad Collection at Baroda. It is said that it was Maharaja Vishakam Thirunal of Travancore who had suggested that Ravi Varma paint a picture of this theme. In view of a diplomatic faux-pas, Maharaja Visakham Thirunal considered Ravi Varma persona non-grata soon after this painting was finished. Dewan Madhava Row, is said to have acquired this painting and presented it to Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda. With this painting, the patronage of the Baroda Royals for the artist would commence leading on to a very endearing relationship. It is interesting to observe that just as Ravi Varma was rejected at the Travancore Court, so is Sita by Rama in this painting. Just as Sita is embraced and rescued by Mother Earth, so was Ravi Varma by the patronage of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Raja Ravi Varma captures the dramatic scene when Rama questions the fidelity and chastity of Sita, who enraged and distraught, implores Mother Earth to take her back.


  • Title: Sita Bhumi Pravesh
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma
  • Date Created: 1880
  • Location: India
  • Physical Dimensions: 111 x 141.2 cms
  • 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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