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R. Siva Kumar

(b Kilimanoor, April 29, 1848; d Kilimanoor, Oct 2, 1906).

Indian painter. He was the most important and one of the earliest Indian artists of the 19th century to work in oil paints. The subjects of his paintings were often mythological, but they were produced in a European historicist style. He absorbed the influence of such French 19th-century academic painters as William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Gustave Boulanger and of Indian contemporary popular theatre, specializing in the type of mythological paintings that found favour with Indian rajas and British administrators. His successful exploitation (from 1894) of the lithographic reproduction of his paintings ensured, for the first time in India, that the work of an individual artist could reach a mass market. He was also a proficient portrait painter, adjusting his style to suit the taste of his patrons. He was assisted by his brother C. Raja Raji Varma, a talented plein-air painter.

K. P. P. Tampy: Ravi Varma: A Monograph (Trivandrum, 1934)...