Ravi Varma comes alive in inlay art

Last Updated 21 January 2011, 15:40 IST

Raja Ravi Varma, the name itself has the power to bring a sparkle in the eyes of the art lovers. Most people would love to be proud owners of the original paintings of the artist, flaunting it on the walls of their home or office.

Such is the beauty of the art, which is mostly appreciated for its artistic value across the globe.

There is a long relationship between Raja Ravi Varma and Mysore and in fact, Mysore is home to the third largest collection of Ravi Varma’s paintings after Thiruvananthapuram and Baroda.

A Tribute

As a tribute to the great artist, Ramsons Kala Pratishtana is holding an art expo of Inlay works based on Varma’s paintings by R Puttaraju, a graduate of Chamarajendra Technical Institute.

The inlay art of a portrait of Chamarajendra Wodeyar is perfect replica complete with the landscape; while recreating the Yashoda Krishna, the shadows have been remarkably done with the perfect selection of the wood giving it more realistic appearance.

The Mysore stable where the horses with different colours tethered, comes across with the perfect blend of woods in various shades; and the serene effect of the sky is strikingly contrast.

When you see Mohini Rukmangada and Sri Krishna Sandhana which have been given ‘dimensional’ effect, are completely spell-binding with their perfection. So is the milk maid, who stands rather hesitantly, displaying a lot of emotions on her half covered face. Each work is more eye-catching than the other, presenting a rare visual treat to the eyes.

The Pratishtana, which has been encouraging the art and the artisans and has been giving a new lease of life is holding regular exhibitions throughout the year.  Speaking to City Herald, R G Singh, Secretary of Pratishtana said  Puttaraju, along with his assistants S Venkatesh, Manju and C Venkatesh has been successful in finishing the 33 inlay and marquetry panels that are being displayed at the expo. The work has taken two years to be completed.

Various artefacts in wood collage reach out to the eyes of beholder.


Explaining about the process, he said that the painting chosen for the inlay is first enlarged to the required size with the help of advanced technology, which is coming to the help of these artisans.

The selection of the wood plays an important role in bringing out the different aspects of the painting like lighting levels, backdrop, jewellery, colours and even emotions.

Next comes the cutting, which is done to the desired shape, scooping the rosewood plank, embedding the cut wooden pieces into those shallow pits, detailing by engraving and finally scraping and polishing. The inlay art requires the master craftsman, master cutter, pasting and framing to complement the art.

The most interesting element of Puttaraju’s work here is the background, which has pulled everything together aesthetically, when compared to the photograph of the painting of Raja Ravi Varma, which has a rather different background. Ravi Varma’s paintings like Kadambari, Sri Krishna Sandhana, Shantanu Matsyagandha, Mohini, Sairandhri, Tara Varini, Mahashweta, Yashoda Krishna, Manini Radha, Mohini Rukmangada, Arjuna Subhadra and others have been enlivened in the marquestry panels of Puttaraju.

(Published 21 January 2011, 15:40 IST)

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