Alluring painter Raja Ravi Varma
Hamsa Damayanthi - Princess Damayanthi talking with Royal Swan about Nalan. Oil painting on canva
Raja Ravi Varma Koil Thampuran (29 April 1848 to 2 October 1906) an Indian painter and artist of great repute is an household name, particularly, in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Raja Ravi Varma was closely related to the royal family of Travancore, Kerala  and two of his grand daughters were adopted into that royal family.  
 Raja Ravi Varma  born at Kilimanoor palace in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore (present-day Kerala) into an aristocratic  Nair family. The Nair caste follows a peculiar system  called the matrilineal Marumakkathayam system, by which inter-caste marriages are allowed  and the lineage and succession are defined by the mother's family. In the case of  Ravi Varma, he  belonged to the family of his mother (not his father), and his children belonged to the family of their mother (not his own).
Viswamithirar and Meenaka
woman on a swing.
Ravi Varma 's parents are  Ezhumavil Neelakanthan Bhattatiripad, a Brahmin  and his  wife Umayamba Thampurratti, Nair by caste. His mother, Uma Ambabayi Thampuratty (or Umayamba Bayi Thampuratty), belonged to the aristocratic family which ruled the Kilimanoor feudal estate within the kingdom of Travancore.
You will be surprised to know that Ravi Varma, aged 18 married (in 1866) a  12-year-old Bhageerthi Bayi (known formally as Pooruruttati Nal Bhageerathi Bayi Thampuratty) a relative of the of the royal house of Mavelikkara, close to  the Royal House of Travancore.

Encouraged by Ayilyam Thirunal, the then Maharajah of Travancore, Ravi Verma learned the basics of paintings from a few well-known workers,  at an early age. He learned  oil painting from  Dutch portraitist Theodor Jenson. The colonial administrator gave him admirable support and  Ravi Verma  won awards  and medals for his works at exhibitions in Vienna in 1873 and  in Chicago in 1893.
Raja Ravi Varma Shrimad Guru Adi Shankaracharya of Kaladi.
He was an highly established painter. In the Pooja room of many Hindu families, not to mention Brahmin  families, you will find impressive life - like painting of gods and goddesses drawn by Verma. Once you look at them you will become so engrossed  that you will hesitate to take your eyes off them. Such was the effect of his paintings with mythological themes had on the people.  In the  history of Indian art, none can excel him for his superb imagination and minute details of his painting, emphasizing the  aesthetic and  social consideration. Using the Indian and European techniques, he amazingly brings out the nicety of classical depiction of Indian mythological themes in modern context without deviating from the original ones. Such depictions are easily accessed for making affordable lithographs of his painting for the people. Because of wide reach and publicity, as an established painter he had a strong hold  on the psyche of the of people. Hence,  his depictions of Hindu deities and episodes from the epics and Puranas have won the appreciation of the people  across India  and the deities drawn by him have become objects of worship and veneration. In the area of Indian creative arts and painting, he has made a niche for himself and even to day his paintings are proud possessions in a family. His most famous and copied works are  'Dhamayanthi and the Swan' and Saraswathi with Veena in her hand.

reclaining woman
 In 1904, Viceroy Lord Curzon, on behalf of the British King Emperor, bestowed upon Varma the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal. A college of fine arts was also constituted in his honor at Mavelikara, Kerala.
Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906)
When Hindus think about various mythological episodes or scenes, without their knowledge, they tend to visualize the  idealized paintings of  Ravi Varma. His amazing paintings bear testimony to Ravi Varma's innate talents in the area of Indian arts and paintings.  His name and beautiful paintings will last for eternity. His painting of gods and goddesses adore the pooja room of millions of Hindus across India.