BENGALURU: Rukmini Varma recently released a book Hidden Truth on her great-great grandfather Raja Ravi Varma. Known for her brilliant portrayals as a 'realism artist', Rukmini swaps her brush for pen, for her debut book.
Rukmini says, "The personal aspect of Ravi Varma in the book is based upon what I have learned about him from my grandmother — the last Maharani of Travancore — Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, who knew a lot about his personal experiences than others did. Her mother Mahaprabha Thampuratty, who was Ravi Varma’s favourite daughter, knew even more about him and was privy to his thoughts which he revealed to her on many off-guard moments, talking about his inner agonies — both personal and physical."
She adds that instances of his life recounted to her by her grandmother, Raja Ravi Varma's eldest granddaughter, and other pieces of information regarding his character and persona gleaned from uncles and members of his family who were alive at that time, made for a fascinating study of his journey.
In the late 1960s, Rukmini had access to some of Ravi Varma’s notes penned by him within the pages of the book “The Best Works of the Royal Academy Masters” that he constantly referred to, in his studies on composition and placement. "When I read what he had written, everything seemed to fall into place and the missing links in his life appeared to join, weaving together the loose ends," she says.
About the Author
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.