By Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation
One of the most stunning, yet enigmatic portraits by Raja Ravi Varma.
This exquisite painting of a woman holding a gooseberry, is one of two such similar works created by Ravi Varma. The artist sometimes obliged several patrons which versions of one painting.
The Coquette (1893) by Raja Ravi VarmaOriginal Source: Private Collection
As a part of his art practice Ravi Varma made duplications of his own creations, repeating them mainly because of their demand by patrons and admirers.
This painting is part of a private collection.
Often, a painting displayed at an art exhibition of the various art societies, was acquired by one buyer and coveted by another.
This has been a common enough practice for centuries in Europe and continues with contemporary art even today. Thus Ravi Varma obliged several patrons with versions of an 'original' painting.
In this case, by the word ‘original’ is strictly meant the painting that the artist made first, or the prototype as it were, of which the second would be a derivation by the same hand.
It is not possible for us to accurately point out which which of two similar paintings was made first, unless they are dated, or show clear stylistic evolution.
Of the two near-identical and undated canvases of 'The Coquette' and 'Lady With A Fruit', the one that pushed the image forward and the one that came after is a matter of debate.
Despite the ambivalence, the details and careful brushstrokes of 'The Coquette' suggest it to be the primary inspiration when compared with he rapid strokes and casual treatment of the second work.
Lady With A Fruit (1894) by Raja Ravi VarmaOriginal Source: National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
'Lady With A Fruit', similar to 'The Coquette', but painted with lesser emphasis to detail.
This painting is currently housed in the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
Exhibit and references :From Raja Ravi Varma: Painter of Colonial India by Rupika Chawla and Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation