Raja Ravi Varma (1848 – 1906) was the main architect of the Indian renaissance in the field of art, in the middle of the 19th Century. By focusing on themes of Indian mythology and literature, he transformed the sensibility and history of painting in India. He did this by resurrecting classical Indian sources from the Mahabharata and Kalidasa’s plays, and by combining this with European techniques of realism in colours, composition and perspective. In his day, he remained unrivaled for his mastery of these contemporary skills, where the sheen of silk sarees and lustre of pearl necklaces brought a ‘real-life’ quality to his portraits.