Rai Pannalal Mehta by Ravi Varma

Rai Pannalal Mehta (1843-1919)
Diwan of Udaipur

by Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906)
circa 1900

Oil on canvas
40 x 30.2 in. (101.5 x 76.5 cm.)

A look at Ravi Varma’s style evokes images of Rembrandt’s paintings. The dark background, the subdued light playing on the subject’s face, intense expression on the face all are quiet similar to Rembrandt.

Pannalal Mehta, was born in August 1843 and the title of Rai was conferred on 1st January 1877. The title was given to him as a personal distinction, on the occasion of proclamation of her Majesty as the Empress of India. He was also the Diwan of Udaipur between 1878 and 1894.

He was a very important diplomatic and political figure during those times, almost icon like. A bust portrait of him, based on the theme – a member of the Rajput clan at Udaipur, is one of Ravi Varma’s very known and widely acclaimed work.