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Popular Paintings of Goddess Lakshmi Hindus Pray To Was Painted By Raja Ravi Varma in the 18th Century

His paintings are everywhere; in majority of Hindu homes. Millions of Hindus bow before his paintings daily. The popular images of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati as we see today were first painted by Raja Ravi Varma in the 18th Century.

Majority of the paintings of Goddess Lakshmi today we have are inspired by the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma (29 April 1848 – 2 October 1906) from the princely state of Kilimanoor (presently in Kerala). 
The Hindu reports 
Many of us have seen the oleograph of Lakshmi and Saraswati. Many of these had fabric, beads and sequins to embellish them and many were worshipped across the country. As Chawla says, these were done at a time of intense nationalist fervour. 
“The two goddesses, Lakshmi and Saraswati, painted much later, in 1896, are iconic in their visualization. The religious texts and the oral tradition that formed the basis for these paintings do not belong to any particular region of India as the entire country has always absorbed these goddesses into their midst. 
Despite such identification, Ravi Varma could not have realised the extent to which his two images, given a new meaning through the medium of oil paint, were to endear themselves to the people of India. Similar to other artists and writers, Ravi Varma presented his goddesses in his own manner and with a specific intention in mind. He was seeking to convey their pan-national identity at a time when foreign rule was being questioned and dreams of a free nation were being voiced. The image they conveyed was of great importance and, therefore, he wished to project them in clothes appropriate for that image. Given the choice of making Lakshmi either seated or standing, he preferred to portray her standing on her lotus pedestal, poised on it, rising above the elephants. It was an inspired stroke on his part for, thus erect, she clearly displayed the sari worn in a style rarely seen before. Such a manner of draping the sari did not belong to any particular region; nor was it associated forcefully with any special group of people. This was the style to go beyond regional borders within the country, subsuming cultural differences. At a time that India was seeking its national identity, this was a very powerful message to send forth, replete with patriotic significance.”