Nandikolla Gopala Rao

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Gopal Rao. N
Nandikolla Gopala Rao (Painter).jpg
Born 1894
Kakinada, East Godavari, Madras Presidency
Died 1943
Injaram, East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, Madras Presidency
Nationality Indian

N.Gopala Rao is also known as the "Father of Modern Art" of Andhra Pradesh was an Indian painter. He was a renowned painter during the early 20th century during British Raj in South India, who achieved recognition for his paintings on Hindu epics, landscapes, portraits of maharajahs and maharanis of his days. His innovations in the field of painting influenced the course of Indian art for many more years to come after his death.

Early life[edit]

N.Gopala Rao was born at Injaram near Cocanada (presently Kakinada) East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh .his father N.Venkateswarao was a wealthy landlord.Gopala Rao was the munsiff for injaram during the british raj,Gopala Rao married N.Surnarayanama ,he was the eldest of the two sons ,his younger brother N.V.Reddi Naidu was a portrait and landscape painter who learned the artistic skills from his elder brother Gopala Rao.But unlike others he did not learn art formally.he was a great devotee of Krishna ,that in his later career he painted number of krishna paintings.


N. Gopala Rao was the most honoured artist by the Rajas of Vizianagaram, Bobbili, Pithapuram, Parlakimidi and Tuni, where he was invited to their courts to paint the portraits of the Kings. The art was not well recognized due to colonial rule where Indian artists lacked opportunities. N.Gopala Rao was an artist in the style of Raja Ravi Varma. Gopala Rao gave new life to Hindu epics through his paintings. From 1920-1930 he was at the peak of his career. His paintings were forwarded through a merchant Mr B. L. Narayana Rao, an exporter and importer and forwarding agent Kakinada. Some of the many paintings he painted are Murali krishna ,Shree Krishna, Uluchi Arjuna, Sriman Narayana, Chitrangi, Vilasini,Radha Krishna, Chamaraja Wodeyar, Uthra Abimanya one with Uthra's eye open and another with eyes closed, Kalinga mardini,gopi krishna surrounded by gopikas.A Single painting Murali krishna which fetched him a proud sum of sixty thousand rupees in 1927, set a record during his life. This feat was not achieved by any other indian artist during his period

Contribution to the Society[edit]

N.Gopala Rao contributed his money to the temple god of injaram "pardesamma" every year. He inaugurated the first "pendal" cinema theatre in kakinada. He wanted his paintings to reach to all the masses in India, so being a rich and wealthy man his painting prints can be found in house holds and temples in India. The masses and artists regarded him as a indubitable genius for portraits and Hindu epics.

Later life[edit]

Raja K. J. V. Naidu of Kuppam

N.Gopala Rao had love for horses and was a good horse rider himself ,in some of his paintings he depicts the horses so beautifully .Being in a remote place ,that he frequently travelled on horse back from kakinada to injaram. N.Gopala Rao used to gaze for long hours watching the beautiful sky that he mesmerizes in his paintings, and that all depended on the mood of his father ,where some times a painting was left for months to finish the work.The canvas,Brushes, the oil paints were all imported from Germany. The above portrait of N.Gopala Rao was painted by his younger brother Venkata Reddi Naidu in 1945.Sri Gopala rao’s eldest daughter ,was married to the Raja of kuppam, Sri Raja K.J.V Naidu .Naidu ,was an industrialist and owner of the indian gold mining & prospecting co.

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