Glow of hope

I saw a full size print of this painting at my cousin’s house & it has fascinated me since then. My aunt explained that the original is at the Mysore palace and I am now planning to get hold of a print copy myself. I checked around on the net and found that it was also attributed to Ravi Varma and people had, wrongly, written articles around the painting considering Varma as the painter. I will hopefully go and see it the next time I get a chance to go to Mysore.

The display at Jaychamrajendra gallery at Jaganmohan palace highlights the famous "Lady with the lamp" painted by artist SL Haldenkar usually mistaken to be a work of Raja Ravi Varma

The painting is currently on display on the second floor of the museum, in an enclave with a curtained window. The enclave is normally darkened, which highlights the subtlety of the glowing candle in the piece. When the light is turned on, the painting reveals remarkably subtle shades of pink and lavender in the woman's sari. Opening the enclave's curtain leads to yet another distinct view of the painting, the natural light exposing even more subtle gradations and details in this magnificent work.

One of the reasons why it is attributed to Varma is because there are other originals by Varma in the palace. It's even listed as one of his paintings in some places and the subject is supposed to be a lady from the royal family - ammankovil thampuratti. But it is not Varma’s work.

About the painter

Savlaram Laxman Haldankar (1882-1968), born in Savantwadi, Maharashtra, showed early talent in the arts and enrolled at the Sir J.J. School of Art. A student of Dhurandhar and Cecil Burns, he soon distinguished himself by winning prizes and exhibiting in Mumbai, Madras, Simla and the Royal Society of Artists, London. He also started the Haldankar Art Institute in 1908 in Mumbai. Later, with other friends, he found the Art Society of India in 1918 and became its president. He was highly accomplished in water color and oils, with a special mastery over portraits. His works were acquired by Prince of Wales Museum and the National Art Gallery, Mumbai.

His collections can be found at at varied places like Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Jagmohan Palace, Mysore, Nagpur Museum, Nagpur, Academy of Art, Moscow, USSR & Delhi Art Gallery.

During his years at the J.J. School of Art, he had a brilliant career and listed himself at the top and winning almost all the prizes. He won two commendation certificates from the Royal British Society of Art. In the years 1910, 1927 and 1932 S.L. Haldankar won the Governors Prize. 1964. Called to New Delhi for the felicitation by the Rashtrapati, Dr Rajendra Prasad. Fecilitated as a fellow, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.

Haldankar taught at the J.J. School of Art, Bombay. Taught at the Haldandkar`s Fine Art Institute. His son GS Haldankar is also a famous painter (water colors). Babanrao Haldankar, another son, is an acclaimed singer. Many a famous painter of today was trained by Haldankar. His family refers to an Italian encyclopedia stored in a library in Wai in Satara district, wherein the master was ranked as one of the three finest water colorists in the world.

If any of you want prints of Varma or other famous Indian painters (including ‘Glow of Hope’), try Samrudhi at Double road - Bangalore. Hindu has done an article on them.

pics - Kamath's potpourri & other linked sites



Nanditha Prabhu said...

yes ! this painting is really impressive! its so life like .....
you have done justice by this write by in honor of the artiste!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

I have a surprise awaiting you at my travel blog! check out!

harimohan said...

paintings which are realistic and natural attract me more than abstract modern ones probably because i understand them lesser but it may also be a question of emperor with no clothes syndrome or if one goes back to a fable in malayalam where a king orders a painting competition where an elephant is to be drawn and one man just dips a broom in a bucket of wet cowdung and presses it on the wall ,the round smudge drips and he explains it as an elephants rear with its tail hanging down
( sounds like our modern painters )
thanks for letting us know of this excusite piece of art .

Nanditha Prabhu said...

Maddy sir saw your comment on my post! but i think you have not realized that you have been conferred an award... you will find that at the right hand side of the post! I have added it as a page element.

Unknown said...

That is a great revelation. I was planing do a sequel to my post on Raja Ravi Varma following up your lead on Sugunabhai and include this painting as his. Good thing I delayed it.
I really must congratulate you on your research and the information you bring us.

Pradeep Nair said...

It's a simple but such an attractive painting.

diyadear said...

nice painting. it did have a ravi varma touch too it.. may be thats another reason y ppl get mistaken :)

Nanditha Prabhu said...

wow! you keep doing make overs for your template ! like the header picture!

mathew said...

i have seen this painting in mysore is quite impressive!!

Maddy said...

nanditha - thanks for the award.
yes, the painting is impressive expecially if placed in a dark corner. the lamp effect is beautifully accentuated!

Hari - i do not have the faintest clue about modern or abstract art. in fact there is one famous painting with a big frame, white background and one dot which has great value!!!

Abraham, mathew, diya, Pradeep - thanks i am also looking forward to seeing the original!!!

nanditha - my second son was not very happy with the old templates, so he did one for me and I think it looks good!! even though we still have arguments about some colors..

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for a print of this-do you have any idea where i can find it-Thanks

Maddy said...

check the last para of the blog....

Pallavi said...


The same painting is also there in Sree chitra thirunal art gallery trivandrum ! And attributed to Raja Ravi Varma..

Can you explain how it is so ?

Maddy said...

thanks pallavi.
i have not been to chitra tirunal for some years now, I do not recollect seeing it there..
but if it is so, it is neither original nor done by Ravi varma..
the signature on the right bottom is haldankars. I have another copy of it..

Kalpa Fine art said...

Hi!, i own Samrudhi Gallery in Bangalore. Its nice to see you mention us in your piece. Thanks

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Maddy,for specially mentioning about the painting being mistaken for one of Raja Ravi Verma's.
I been clarifying that with many people.
Also, there are a couple of imitations attempted of this portrait , circulating on wats app... claiming they are the original artists of "Glow of Hope",though they were never convincing.
It would take a lot more for such people to make a close likeness of the portrait.
Yes , and the copies are available in Bangalore. I have bought one myself and also order them by the dozen , as gifts for any and every occasion. What better a gift can I give than a copy of this Masterpiece?
I am proud to be the blessed grand daughter of the renowned artist S.L.Haldankar.
Thank you again for the information about my Grandfather.
Mayuri Haldankar

Unknown said...

The Glow of Hope, is a watercolour masterpiece, now housed in the Jaychama Rajendra Art Gallery at the Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore and is one of the most prized possessions as well as a major attractions at the Gallery. It was painted in 1945-46, almost seven decades ago but yet holds the same amount of fascination for art lovers all over the country. Though the painting is by S.L. Haldankar, it has been wrongly attributed to Raja Ravi Verma.
This painting is of Haldankar’s third daughter, Gita Haldankar who is now ,97 years old.
When the painting was being done, Gita had to hold her pose for three or more hours continuously. There is a very interesting story about how the idea for this painting was conceived. During Diwali, Haldankar saw his daughter in a beautiful saree with a candle and her hand woven around the flame of the candle to prevent the wind from blowing it out. The rays of the candle radiated from the gap within her fingers and it also illuminated her face. A captivated Haldankar decided to model a painting on the same lines. The medium used was watercolours on painted handmade paper as Haldankar wanted to prove that he can paint without a single mistake as mistakes made with oil paints can be corrected.
Each of the water colours used signifies and symbolizes different things -the lavender in her saree stands for grace and the gold showcases the royal touch. The woman in a saree, stands for grace, feminity and natural beauty.

Maddy said...

thanks mayuri..
i have been clarifying this error ever since. last month i was at the jaipur palace and while wandering through the art sale emporium there, found large copies of glow of hope for sale. the painter had won a few prizes and recognition as i could make out. I asked him who the original painter of the masterpiece was and as i thought he replied me that it was Ravi Varma. I admonished him for his lack of knowledge and told him it was Haldankar. he had no clue who the great man was..

what a pity..I think I have to write a more detailed article on SL Haldankar one of these days

Unknown said...

News in Times of India on 4th October 2019.

MUMBAI: The girl holding the lamp in the celebrated painting `Glow of Hope', also known as the Woman With the Lamp, has died at 102.

Gita Uplekar died at her daughter's house in Kolhapur in western Maharashtra Tuesday evening after a brief illness, family sources said.
The painting, a watercolour masterpiece byS L Haldankar, is now housed in the Jaychama Rajendra Art Gallery at the Jaganmohan Palace in Mysuru, Karnataka.
It is one of the most prized possessions as well as a major attraction at the gallery.
It was painted in 1945-46, almost seven decades ago, but yet holds the same amount of fascination for art lovers all over the country as then.
Though the masterpiece is Haldankar's creation, it has been wrongly attributed to legendary painter Raja Ravi Verma.
The girl in the painting was Gita Uplekar, Haldankar's third daughter.
She was staying at Kolhapur since the 1940s after her marriage to jeweller Krishnakant Uplekar.
The last rites were performed at 11 pm Tuesday,Raja Uplekar, Gita's nephew, told PTI.
She is survived by two daughters and a son and was staying in the house of the daughter who lives in the US, he said.
"I was 12 and lighting the Diwali diya when Bhau (her father Haldankar) saw me and asked me to pose for the sketch," Gita had said at an event in Kolhapur to mark her turning 100.
The painting was completed in three days, she had said.
Raja Uplekar had said some years ago, a buyer from Francewas ready to buy the painting for Rs 8 crore, but the Mysuru gallery did not part with the portrait, which was bought from Haldankar for Rs 300.
When the painting was being done, she had to hold her pose for over three hours continuously, Gita Uplekar had said.
There is an interesting story about how the idea for this iconic painting was conceived.
During one Diwali, Haldankar saw his daughter in a beautiful saree with a candle and her hand woven around the flame to prevent the wind from blowing it out.
The rays of the candle radiated from the gap within her fingers and it also illuminated her face.