Oleography

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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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.
They derided Varma's and the Calcutta Art Studio's oleographs as kitsch reproductions, in part owing to the loss of the images' cult status.
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.