C Kondiah Raju (1898-1976) was born to a family os traditional artisans. He spent his initial years painting theatrical dackdrops in Tamil Nadu and Ceylon. His early artistic career is not well documented but he rose in fame for his shastraic representations of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
He painted for most of the printers in Sivakasi and Madurai including the Kalaimagal Industries, Madurai; Coronation Litho Works, Sivakasi; Premier Litho Works; Sivakasi. His paintings were also printed in many of the Tamil magazines and Deepavali malars.
His latter years were spent in Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu where he establisted the "Devi Art Studio". He had a number of pupils who assisted him. His most popular students were M. Ramalingam and T. S. Subbaiah.
His depictions were mostly influenced by Ravi Varma's compositions of the Gods and Goddesses. His Lakshmi and Saraswathi bear a resemblance with Ravi Varma's paintings- however his novel representations of Bala Murugan and Meenakshi Kalyanam were well accepted by the South Indian community.
(L-R: Sri Maha Ganapathi AND Sri Dhanalakshmi; Prints measuring 20x28inches; Printed by the Kalaimagal Press, Madurai)
(L-R: Sri Kanyakaparameshwari AND Sri Vaira Vinayagar, Sri Vaira Lakshmi and Sri Vaira Saraswathi; Prints measuring 20x28 inches; Printed by the Kalaimagal Press, Madurai)
(L-R: Gouache on Board paintings of Ganapathi and Kanyaka Parameshwari)
A painting and print compared
This is a painting (Gouache on board) of Goddess Meenakshi painted by C Kondiah Raju:
Notice how it is used to make the framing picture below by adding the smaller deities of Subramanya and Ganapathi: