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Gujarat: Ravi Varma's painting made for Baroda Maharaja sold for Rs 21 crore

The painting owned by a private collector was auctioned through a prominent auction house on April 6 under the title of Modern Indian Art

Gujarat: Ravi Varmas painting made for Baroda Maharaja sold for Rs 21 crore
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Over 130 years after it was made, one of the iconic paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, often called Father of Modern Indian Art, was sold for Rs 21.16 crore in an auction.

The painting owned by a private collector was auctioned through a prominent auction house on April 6 under the title of Modern Indian Art.

Titled 'Draupadi Vastraharan', the exquisite painting depicts Dushasan attempting to disrobe Draupadi surrounded by Kauravas and Pandavas in the palace in Mahabharata. The bid for the painting was estimated between Rs 15 crore and Rs 20 crore.

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad had commissioned 14 paintings made by Varma between 1888 and 1890 and Draupadi Vastraharan was one of them.

The king had commissioned the paintings for Laxmi Vilas Palace that was being built in the erstwhile Baroda state. Varma chose the painting themes from Mahabharata and Ramayana.

These works were first exhibited in Trivandrum and then in Baroda state. They later adorned the walls of the imposing Durbar Hall in the palace.

The auction house's website states that the painting was commissioned directly from the artist by the Baroda commission and was acquired by a shareholder of The Ravi Varma Fine Arts Lithographic Press. It later made its way to a private collector.

Varma, who created colourful depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses, came to the erstwhile Baroda state and spent four months in 1881-82. Maharaja Sayajirao got a studio built for him near Motibaug ground where Varma stayed and worked in the 1880s.

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