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‘Lady with the lamp’ is not the work of Raja Ravi Varma!

I am back after a couple of week’s hiatus 🙂 And I bring to you three phenomenal artists whose work range from watercolor to photography to oil painting that I’ll write about in the coming days.

But first things first. On April 22nd, I posted a blog titled, ‘Do you want to buy reproduction art?’ In that blog, I had brought to the reader’s attention such masterpieces like Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, Raphael’s ‘Woman with the veil’, Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ and Raja Ravi Varma’s ‘ Lady with the lamp.’

S.L.Handalkar, 'Lady with the lamp', wrongly attributed to Raja Ravi Varma

And I made a mistake. One of the phenomenal artists’ that I’ll be writing about, Ramesh Jhawar, pointed to me that this painting is by S.L.Handalkar and not Raja Ravi Varma as most of us think. So thank you Ramesh for pointing out the error and I apologize to the readers for putting up a blog that failed to recognize the true artist.

Now that the correction has been made, I have another important task – investigate and find out the origins of this wrong attribution of the fantastic painting to Raja Ravi Varma! A few hours of research kind of leads me to a few possible answers:

1. The original is displayed in Jaychama Rajendra Art Gallery at Jaganmohan palace, Mysore, which houses several of Ravi Varma’s original paintings which could have easily led people into believing that this one too is a Ravi Varma masterpiece. And of course the multiple articles that attribute this to Ravi Varma would have just solidified the myth.

2. Many people believe the model to be a lady from the Kerala royal family (Kerala is a state in Southern India and the place Ravi Varma hails from). And when you think Kerala, which other artist comes to mind other than Ravi Varma? But a note to be made here is that the model too is wrongful attribution and is in fact S.L.Haldankar’s daughter!

3. Ravi Varma is most remembered for his paintings of beautiful sari-clad (an Indian garment popular in Southern India) women. And this painting fits the bill perfectly!!!!!

But at least now I know the truth and am wiser today than yesterday 🙂 And reading this blog, you know this too. So spread the word about S.L.Haldankar and his ‘Lady with the lamp’ so we don’t deny an artist credit that his rightfully his!

BTW, the medium used in the painting is watercolor and the surface on which it is painted is handmade paper. And talking about watercolors, watch out for my blog on Ramesh Jhawar and his spectacular watercolor paintings.

Until next time…

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