Mahananda, A Lithograph By Ravi Varma, c1920s
Apart from the gods, Ravi Varma also painted women from across India, and often seen with musical instruments. This print is of Mahananda, a Malayalee lady wearing the traditional mundu (a type of saree drape common in Kerala) and is seen playing the veena. At her feet is a copper spittoon and a spouted brass water pot.
This print is elaborately decorated and includes the initials of the original owner. It was common practice for lithographic prints to be enhanced with textiles, beads, sequins, glitter and gems.
Ravi Varma was probably the most popular and widely known artist and manufacturer of lithographic prints. Working closely with his brother, C Raja Raja, Ravi Varma opened his first lithographic printing press in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1894. Ravi Varma’s use of a single perspective in his artwork, was influenced by photography and oil portraiture.