Contributed by Mythreyi
Damerla Ramarao was a well known painter whose paintings made every Indian proud during pre independence. Born in 1897 in Rajahmundry, he was inclined to painting and sketching from a very early time. By the time he reached his 20’s he was already a known painter and started exhibiting his art in different places of the world. In 1923 he came back to his birth place and started a painting school on his own and many famous painters were the alumni of this school.
He was famous for revolutionising painting by breaking the orthodox stereotypes. He was the first painter to portray nudity in an art form. The nude paintings he did caused quite a whirl wind at that time. A woman named ‘Nakula’ volunteered to be as a model for his paintings. Ramarao played a crucial part in the development of painting during the time of revival of art.
Probably placed after Raja Ravivarma in painting, he mostly depicted the freedom of women, mythology, serenity and artistic glory in India. His work was noticed and he was even taken to Ajanta and Ellora caves for sketching sculptures. After travelling through many places and he finally settled in Rajahmundry and stayed there till his death. Though he died at the early age of 28, his paintings are highly praised and dearly treasured.
An art gallery was established in Rajahmundry later in the remembrance of this progressive artist. It houses more than 100 of his paintings in which some of them are easily worth a couple of crores as they date back to more than a century. Poor maintenance and natural factors have taken a toll on them and many are diminishing. Some are depleting given to the canvas which was used a century back.
Though it was taken into government’s consideration, proper measures are still to be taken. Art is the reflection of our culture and representative of our society. It’s a pity to lose the treasure which dates back to at least a century. But sadly that’s what is happening to this once renowned art gallery in Rajahmundry. Immediate restoration of these paintings has to be done before they are lost forever.
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