Damayanti and the Swan
Artist: Raja Ravi Verma
Publisher: Ravi-Vijaya Press, Ghatkopar
Date: ca. 1900
19"x 13 1/16"
H Daniel Smith Poster Archive, Department of Special Collections, Syracuse University Libary, no. 0061
"This Print is the work of the Kerala artist Ravi Varma (d.1906), a founding figure in the tradition of prints and colored lithographs. This poster portrays an episode from the epic Mahabarata, in which a swan tells Damayanti about the excellent qualities of Nala, King of Nishadha. The poster is reminiscent of Western representations of the well-known theme of Leda and the Swan."6
Note the mimesis of Classical form. This is the style which lead O.P Joshi to claim that they were stylistically "European," or, it could be argued, in a colonialist mentality. However, I suggest that eventhough the method was adopted from European thechnology, (although printing and lithography began to appear almost simultaneously in many parts of the world) the aestehtic form has developed into a characteristically Indian style. Individual and particular to Indian Artists, the prints - "god posters" as Daniel Smith has suggested, or as I prefer goddess prints or Darshan images - have many varieties and include innovations in particular to the different areas of India for which they are produced.