Rukmini Varma

Rukmini Varma is a leading Indian artist who paints in the classical tradition. Born in 1940 as Princess Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran of Travancore State, Rukmini is a great-great granddaughter of the master painter Raja Ravi Varma and custodian of his artistic legacy. She is also the Chairperson of The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation based in Bengaluru.

Having gone through a cataclysmic change in her life from being a princess to renouncing it all and living life as a commoner, Rukmini came out of a long sabbatical and exhibited her latest works in the series titled “Opulence and Eternity” in early 2017. Between painting and her prayers, Rukmini has penned this book on Raja Ravi Varma, with facts known only to her and drawn from hitherto unrevealed sources.

 

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Hidden Truth

Books by Rukmini Varma

The sharp eye of Neelakantan Bhattathiripad noted the young Ravi Varma tracing lines on the sand. His son was a strange child in his opinion but he refrained from voicing it.

“What would this son of his become, the scion of this strange race,” he wondered?

“Always, always drawing and sketching things — was there a future in this?”

His wife, Umamba Bayi indulged him too much.

All this fanciful sketching, it was a dreamer’s life, thought Neelakantan.

From his father, Ravi Varma learned to discipline his thoughts, from his mother the pictorial rhythms of poetry and music, and from his uncle, Raja Raja Varma, the way to express it all in concrete visual form, as he was doing on the sand.

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Testimonial

As an artist who not only keeps alive Raja Ravi Varma’s legacy, but is also his direct descendant, Rukmini Varma is a remarkable source of stories, anecdotes, and the mostfascinating details about this legendary Indian painter, viewing him not only as her ancestor but also as a creative force who opened a whole new chapter in India’s artistic tradition. Rukmini Varma offers to unravel the story of Ravi Varma and all that made him the person he was, from a perspective that is both new but also intimate and deeply personal - a combination that is especially inviting.”

- Manu S. Pillai

Author, The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore

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