Here are two portraits. One is by Raja Ravi Verma, which perhaps, you have never seen. Another is by Leonardo da Vinci which you must have seen million times. Now think about how marketing and propaganda lobbies bias our minds. *All your choices are based on what lobbies promote
An image of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece Mona Lisa painting is compared with another image with the claim that it is a portrait by Raja Ravi Varma. These images are compared to state the greatness of Ravi Varma’s works. The viral posts mention that marketing and propaganda lobbies bias our minds. The posts with this set of images are viral since 2021 and can be seen here and here.
What is the truth?
When searching with relevant keywords we also found a tweet dated July 2021 with the same caption as that of the viral post but with a different image in place of Ravi Varma’s portrait. The caption reads “Choose btwn two portraits. One is by Raja Ravi Verma, which perhaps, you have never seen. Another is by Leonardo da Vinci which you must have seen million times. Now think about how marketing & propaganda lobbies bias our minds. All choices are based on what lobbies promote”.
We first reverse-searched the image from the above tweet mentioned as Ravi Varma’s portrait. We found Google Arts & Culture page featuring the image with the title ‘Radha in the Moonlight – Raja Ravi Varma 1890’. The description part reads “This painting of Radha is conceivably one of the most beautiful of Raja Ravi Varma’s uttama nayikas, the high minded women of many virtues and qualities that are intrinsic to goddesses and women in classical Indian literature.
Radha radiates the soft beauty, intelligence and sensitivity of the uttama nayika, and being Radha of unparalleled beauty, Raja Ravi Varma has painted her with extra care and refinement. Aware of Krishna’s godly qualities Radha has the pooja thali, the platter of flowers and sweetmeats near her, the ritual of worship and adulation to be completed before the love play starts. Human and godly loves are combined in this relationship. She sits at ease on the rocks near the glimmering water and perhaps she has just espied him emerging through the trees”.
The viral image claimed as Raja Ravi Varma’s portrait has a watermark ‘Sruvam Studios’ in it. When reverse searching this image, we found a Facebook post of an actress Swathi Reddy carrying the viral photo with the caption “Radha in the Moonlight | Raja Ravi Varma Recreation series”, crediting to Sruvam photography. This proves that the actress’s recreated photo is shared as an original portrait.
It is found that Ravi Varma’s portrait was recreated and the recreated photo is shared thinking it as his original portrait. But the image is a real photo of an actress and not a portrait.