Decoding "Contemporary Ode to Raja Ravi Varma"

By IIPian Shubham Chakraborty

Art & Aesthetics

This portrait by Shubham Chakraborty is a modern tribute to the iconic style of Raja Ravi Varma, renowned for his fusion of Indian aesthetics with European techniques. Chakraborty captures the spirit of Varma's artistry through the subject's stylized pose, traditional attire, and the intricate attention to detail that mirrors the classic compositions of Varma's paintings. The resulting aesthetic is a seamless blend of the rich heritage of Indian art and the nuanced sensibilities of contemporary portraiture.

Deconstruction and Reconstruction

In deconstructing Varma's approach, Chakraborty dissects the quintessential elements of his portraits - the interplay of light and shadow, the richness of Indian attire, and the poise of the figures. Reconstructing these in a modern photography context, Chakraborty stays true to the original ethos while infusing his own creative vision, thereby creating a piece that is as much a reverent nod to the past as it is a standalone modern work.


The editing process likely involved careful consideration to emulate the luminous quality of Varma's oil paintings. The skin tones are rendered to look natural yet radiant, the fabric of the saree is highlighted to showcase its delicate weave, and the jewelry is accentuated to give just the right amount of sparkle. The textured background serves as a contemporary canvas, reminiscent of the rich backdrops in Varma's portraits.


From a technical standpoint, Chakraborty's portrait is meticulously crafted. The directional lighting is reminiscent of Varma's work, giving the subject a sculptural quality. The sharpness of the photograph brings out the finest details in the subject's features, attire, and accessories, against the intentionally softened background which ensures the subject’s prominence.

IIPian Shubham Chakraborty

IIPian Shubham Chakraborty | Bachelors of Fine Arts Student

Context to Journalism and Documentation

As a piece of journalistic and documentary photography, this image serves as a testament to the timeless influence of Raja Ravi Varma's work. It documents the seamless integration of traditional Indian iconography with modern photographic techniques, presenting a narrative that is both historical and immediate.

In summary, Shubham Chakraborty’s portrait is not just a photographic representation but a dialogue with history, bringing the aesthetic sensibilities of Raja Ravi Varma into the contemporary era. It’s a technical, artistic, and conceptual homage that speaks to Chakraborty's understanding of Indian art's past and its resonance with the present.