Oleography

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Oleography

 

a method of producing pictures that imitate oil paintings. Oleography was widely used in the late 19th century. It involves the process of chromolithography, using as many as 15 to 20 colors. The prints are varnished so that they more closely resemble oil paintings. A stamping process is used to imitate a canvas surface and the thick strokes of oil paint. Most oleographs are crude and distorted reproductions.

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In fact, both these pictures are what is known as oleographs, a type of print that was especially popular at the end of the 19th century.
Oleographs are chromolithographs embossed with a pattern that imitates canvas and/or brush strokes to give the appearance of an oil painting.
Oleographs are usually sold in ornate gilded frames to complete the oil painting look.
Known as oleographs, and almost synonymous with the name of Raja Ravi Varma, such prints are among the earlier examples of popular 'calendar art'.
In the swiftly evolving, post-1992 India-where what was junk yesterday has become a valuable tradable commodity-his oleographs fetch a premium.
The tactile and illusionist potential of Ravi Varma's paintings now began to be transported into the glossy and garish prints of the cheap oleographs and chromolithographs.
With the increasing popularity of Ravi Varma, we find that the subsequent circulation of his paintings in the form of cheap, mass-produced coloured oleographs ultimately displaced the garishly coloured prints sold by presses like the Calcutta Art Studio.
The halls of Lalit Kala Akademi display many frames on its walls that may strike you with their resemblance to the famous oleographs of Varma.
Varma's oleographs have in the past stimulated the imagery of a few contemporary Indian artists and Ela Menon was the first among them.
Ravi Varma, the 19th-century artist-publisher from Kerala, had already set the standard of "realistic representation" of Indian women through his oleographs of model-oriented Hindu deities, which actually became the basis for this blending of religion and commerce.
The last section apprises us of recent expressions of the theme in calendars, oleographs, patas and so on.