35.8 x 25.0cm
This image portrays the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, standing on a lotus with an elephant holding a garland of flowers for her in the waters behind the goddess. Elephants purify Lakshmi when she is depicted as the goddess of wealth during the Diwali festival. How goddesses were imagined and visualised in British India and into Independence was heavily affected by the artistic vision of the artist Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906). Influenced by European visual art practices, he established a printing press in western India, producing coloured versions of his oil paintings. Such prints were used in homes and for worship. Such prints were part of the trend that used Western art forms to explore Indian themes. Chromolithography and oleography were most popular. Three inscriptions along the base, probably in Hindi, plus two in English that state Ravi Varma and RU. and V. Press Ghatkopar.
This piece is an important addition to the collection because the image is the one imitated by Pushpamala, a major contemporary artist, in her series 'Native women of South India' that the gallery owns [acc.no. 81.2010.a-j].
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, February 2011.