About Foundation

kilimanoor palace

The Foundation

The family of Raja Ravi Varma has established the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, in 2015, the 158th year since his birth. There’s always been considerable interest from several quarters in starting a foundation like this. However, for reasons of propriety and transparency, the family had chosen to launch it then after the infrastructure and processes were in place.

The Foundation works to sustain Varma’s heritage and engage with relevant stakeholders and the public, as do the Foundations established in Europe and elsewhere for masters such as Rembrandt and Picasso.

The credo that guides the Foundation is: Knowledge. Appreciation. Preservation.

Our Objectives

Briefly, these are to:

1. Collect and preserve, catalogue, authenticate and document his paintings, drawings and lithographs;

2. Create a library pertaining to art in general and his legacy in particular;

3. Grant scholarships and foster research into his work and life as well those of his artistic contemporaries and later artists;

4. Promote his legacy and exponents of his style, approach and sensibility;

5. Scientifically authenticate his original and lithographic works.

Who we are

The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation has been founded by a board of trustees.

Rukmini Varma

Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Varma

Chairperson, The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation

This foundation aims to uphold all the values and traditional expressions which Raja Ravi Varma sought to promote and delineate through his works, a rich cultural heritage that is not confined within geographical borders of not merely our own country but also the world in general. Creativity, he has proved, has no bounds or barriers. In the realization of an all-persuasive connection and resonance of idealism Raja Ravi Varma has painted a variety of subjects, which included portraits of all individuals, irrespective of caste, creed, nationality or religious leanings. He effectively used his brush as a medium to unite and integrate all of humanity, leaping over prejudice and partiality.

The fact that he is the only artist in the world whose influence has changed the face of every walk of life – art and culture, theatre, education, religion, personal beliefs, attire, films, products and items of necessary requirements – stands irrefutable testimony to his greatness.

It is this aspect of all – encompassing universalism which he achieved through his art, that this foundation aims to spread, uphold and establish, keeping the spirit of Ravi Varma alive.

Gitanjali Maini

Gitanjali Maini


It was becoming clear to me, as someone who’s been a gallerist for over a decade, that a foundation established with a mission such as this could significantly contribute to the arts community and help advance its ideals.

I’m privileged to be a part of the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation and so to be able to promote his legacy as India’s foremost artist. I believe the arts in our country are on the threshold of a dynamic new phase.

Ganesh V Shivaswamy

Ganesh V Shivaswamy

Honorary Secretary

Creativity, innovation and expression comes but naturally to the divine. However it takes a great effort for humanity to be creative. While environmentalists preserve the former, it is even more important for us, as a human race to recognize and preserve the latter. The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation has been created to preserve the artistic legacy of an artist which is one of the most unique Indian art forms. As a collector, I find the activities of the foundation the need for the hour. We, as human beings need to recognize and appreciate the achievement of our exemplary artists.

Jay Varma

Jay Varma


It is my ardent desire that this foundation perpetuate the accomplishments, both artistic and cultural, of one of India’s icons of art, while maintaining the highest standards of excellence and integrity. I look forward to assiduously participating in activities concerning the arts and charitable undertakings.

About Raja Ravi Varma

The life and works of one of India's most prolific artists.

Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was an Indian artist hailing from Kilimanoor in the present state of Kerala. In a brief lifespan, Varma’s output was prolific and richly textured. His realistically-detailed portrayals of contemporary figures and interpretations of religious and mythological figures enlightened and fascinated an international audience as much as they did his countrymen.

His work also helped focus attention on his talented peers and paved the way for many well-thought-of successors.

He was visionary in other ways as well: he made art more accessible, by printing his paintings in serial lithographs and his technique and approaches built a bridge of mutual respect and understanding between India and the West.

His Influence

Many of us have forgotten how Raja Ravi Varma has influenced our lives in subtle yet true ways. These are also clearly relatable to the visual form coigned by Raja Ravi Varma. His influence with the Indian comic books, ceramics, the common postcard, temple architecture, textiles, jewelry, the craft form of embellishment are all going to be explored through informed lectures and exhibitions conducted by the foundation.

View lithos


Raja Ravi Varma's works are catalogued as Paintings, Lithographs and Drawings. His vision helped forged a new identity and stature for Indian art by fusing Indian tradition and classical European technique. The list is exhaustive and hence we showcase a few of his significant works.

Yashoda Krishna
Ganga Vatran
Shakuntala Sakhi
Hamsa Damayanthi
Dushyanta Shakuntala
Kansa Vadh
Seetha Swayamvar
Kichak Sairandhri
Rama in exile
Madhalsathruth Dhwaj
Tara Devi

Like Our Works?

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


Ram Sagar darp haran - A S Desai

A brief calendar of events & exhibitions scheduled for the near future.

We begun with a carefully planned calendar of exhibitions of Raja Ravi Varma’s and others’ work. We have scheduled talks and panel discussions on related topics by leading experts in their fields who include:

  • Rupika Chawla, author of the definitive work on Varma;
  • Olaf Van Cleef, scion of the jewelry house, whose craft of embellishment promises to extrapolate the Varma vision in a new way.
  • Karline McLain on Varma’s influence on Amar Chitra Katha, India’s premier graphic novel imprint.

These apart, other events will shed light on his impact on sculpture and ceramics, jewelry, textiles and investment. Raja Ravi Varma as an Investment will feature a panel of investors, collectors and auctioneers.

This comprehensive calendar has been drawn up by Foundation Honorary Secretary Ganesh Shivaswamy and more events are scheduled for the years ahead. The catalogue raisonné is scheduled for 2020.

View Proposed Calendar   View Foundation Events


Highlighted news of The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation. For all the news, click here.

Reliving the glory of Raja Ravi Varma

Panaroma, Navhind Times

The Bengaluru-based Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation recently conducted an illustrative lecture on Raja Ravi Varma (RRV) in Goa

The Bengaluru-based Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation recently conducted an illustrative lecture on Raja Ravi Varma (RRV) in Goa. This Foundation is working relentlessly to promote and preserve works of the artist, so also that of his contemporaries. NT NETWORK speaks to the chairperson of the Foundation, Bharani Thirunal [...]

Resurrecting the Rajah of High Kitsch

The New Indian Express

Ganesh V Shivaswamy and Gitanjali Maini of Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation in Bengaluru | Pushkar V

When 13-year-old Ganesh V Shivaswamy, already an art lover, collector and amateur painter by then, walked into the house of the great great granddaughter of artist Raja Ravi Varma to authenticate a painting attributed to the eminent painter, little did he know that this new acquaintance would eventually lead him to the mission of a lifetime—the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation. [...]

The Master comes alive

The Bangalore Mirror

Sudhanya Prabhavati

A trust to preserve the legacy of Raja Ravi Varma will hold exhibitions of the prolific artists' works. The reclusive artist, Rukmini Varma (75) is finally getting to see her dream materialise. As the great great granddaughter of the eminent artist and royalty, Raja Ravi Varma, she had wanted to create a foundation that would preserve his extraordinary legacy. [...]

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Patrons & Friends

Our Patrons

Maharaja of Mysore - Ravi Varma

Be a Patron

We look to you to partner with us in this exciting mission. We offer a tiered sponsorship structure, in keeping with Raja Ravi Varma’s inclusive spirit, designed so that you can participate according to your own cultural objectives and budget. We have applied for exemption under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act 1961 and will get it within the year, so all contributions this year will be tax-exempt.

Sponsorship Categories

These are:

  • Friends of the Foundation.
  • Patrons:
    • Silver
    • Gold
    • Platinum
  • Event Sponsor.

We will ensure effective exposure for your branding collaterals.

Select Synergies

We welcome, also, your contributions and referrals of other artworks, other mediums of expression in line with our mission. We are in discussion with select global brands in this regard and seek other potential synergies.

Given his stature, it can be expected that the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation will generate much attention and participation. With your support, we will establish the Foundation as one of India’s most dynamic cultural entities that will promote, mentor and support allied creative endeavours so that Raja Ravi Varma’s heritage will flourish.

Would you like to be a Patron?

Please contact us for more information.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Get in touch


Gitanjali Maini, CEO

Ganesh Shivaswamy, Hon. Secretary

General Enquiry

Events Registration

Authentic dealers of Ravi Varma's Works and Merchandise


+91 80 2224 0102