Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family of Traditional Artists

Tirupalli Raju

K. Venkataraman
student of Tirupallayya

K.V. Seetaraman
son of K. Venkataraman

Sri K.S. Shreehari
son of K.V. Seetaraman

This four generation of artists are custodians of the traditional Mysore style painting; they hail from T. Narasipura, Mysore district in Karnataka, a town at the confluence of the rivers Kaveri (Cauvery), Kapila (Kabini) and an unseen legendary Sphatika Sarovara.

Sri K.S. Shreehari

Tirupalli Raju was a master artist who decorated the temple of Nanjangud with murals during the late 19th century.  Possibly, he could be the descendent of Tirupalayya, one of the painters who worked under Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar's patronage.  One among his apprentice trainees was K. Venkataraman of Tirumakudlu Narasipur on the banks of Kapila-Kaveri about 30 kms from Mysore City.  His father Kullaiyya Raju was also a painter.  After serving under the master for several years and acquiring sufficient expertise, Venkataraman returned to T. Narasipur and started his avocation.  But from what we learn, his talents did not get due recognition and patronage. His son K.V. Seetharaman though inherited this art was not much of a success because of the loss of interest in these traditional paintings in the public and the family went into bad times. It was his son Shreehari who tried to revive and establish the family heritage in a more concrete manner.

K.S. Shreehari was born on 12.01.1968 at T. Narasipur.  Being a graduate from the University of Mysore, he had his own dreams and ambitions but could not achieve any of them due to adverse economic factors.  Meanwhile people started evincing greater interest and even pride in this noble heritage, thus creating a demand and also a market for these paintings.  This enabled Shreehari to come into the focus of art lovers.  Commissions for these paintings started coming in.

Apart from the subjects like Raja Rajeshwari, Sri Rama-pattabhisheka, Kodandarama, Tripuraasura Samhaara, 32 forms of Ganesha and familiar themes of traditional painters of Mysore, Shreehari proved his expertise in the paintings of such exotic themes like a zigzag puzzle like 'Panchanaari-Turaga', i.e., figure of horse comprising five female figures and 'Navanaari-Kunjara' i.e., figure of elephant comprising nine female figures.  Another work given below entitled 'Virata Vishwaroopa' testifies to his eye for minutest details and a fecund imagination, it represents a form of Vishnu embodying the entire universe with all its animate and inanimate objects.

In recognition of his service to traditional painting, Shreehari received the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya Vishwakarma award of the craft council of Karnataka in 1994 and Rotary Ramsons Kala Pratishtana award for the best craftsperson in 1996.

He is a recipient of Mysore Dasara Art Exhibiton's first prize in Traditional art for years 1986, 89, 90, and 93. Apart from his participation in various traditional painting workshops held at Honnavara, Nagpur, Mysore, and Gwalior, he has held one man exhibitions at ANZ Grindlays Bank Art Gallery and Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery, Bombay. His artistic masterpieces adorn the Karnataka Lalithakala Academy, Bangalore, South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur, Ravindra Niketana, Tumkur, Taj Hotels at Bombay and Madras and Museum of Sacred Art, Belgium. Ramsons Kala Pratishtana of Mysore has a major collection of Shreehari's paintings.

His private patrons are Dr. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala (D.K.), Dr. Saryu Doshi, Bombay, Dr. Norman Sjoman, Canada.  Rajasaheb of Nabha, New Delhi, His Highness Maharaja Virabhadrasinhji of Bhavanagar, Maharajkumar Vishnudevji of Dharmapur, Maharaj Kumar Girirajsinhji of Gondal and Mr. Alain Grandlcolas, France. Thus his works have become collectors' items in both India and abroad and thus he has created for himself a good number of admiring lovers of art.
 -BVK Sastry 


  1. These are some of the most famous artists of India.

  2. I admire their talent and dedication when it comes to painting.

  3. I remember Tirupalli Raju when we studied South Asian art in college. Cool post. I had very little idea about his impact in Indian society.