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Showing posts from May, 2015

Three muses…

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Raja Ravi Varma’s twilight years 1890-1904, at Bombay
Everybody has a favorite Ravi Varma painting or water color. My favorite is the ‘Milkmaid’ watercolor, and I had written about it earlier. Every time I see it, I think of the girl behind the painting, and many a time, I had stopped to wonder who it was and what her story was. So I started out on a literary search for her, and was initially under the impression that this was one Suguna or Sugandha bai as others had alluded. But as I checked deeper and harder I felt that Sugandha was perhaps a fictional character and then again, the Milkmaid, in comparison was not one of the well rounded buxom girls as was common in other Ravi Varma pictures.
As I studied Varma’s life over a period of time, I read that he did meet a number of girls as he travelled around India, always trying to find the right face for his paintings, some from high society and some from the lowest of societies. And thus the face of a girl bathing at a bathing ghat bec…