Raja Ravi Varma was a celebrated Indian painter and artist. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art. His works are one of the best examples of the fusion of European academic art with a purely Indian sensibility and iconography. Additionally, he was notable for making affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure. His lithographs increased the involvement of common people with fine arts and defined artistic tastes among common people. Furthermore, his religious depictions of Hindu deities and works from Indian epic poetry and Puranas have received profound acclaim. He was part of the royal family of erstwhile Parappanad, Malappuram district.
Raja Ravi Varma was closely related to the royal family of Travancore of present-day Kerala state in India. Later in his life, two of his granddaughters were adopted into that royal family, and their descendants comprise the totality of the present royal family of Travancore, including the latest three Maharajas.