Born in a small village near Hyderabad, Reddappa Naidu went on to acquire his formal education in Kakinada and later studied at the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Madras. On the one hand, the artist was deeply impressed by the ideas of two decades of American painting introduced in India by critics like Clement Greenberg, and on the other, by the traditional imagery of deities that he then abbreviated in form and colour. The dilemma of the South Indian tradition vis-à-vis the impact of Western Modernism haunted most southern artists who were thinking of the ‘modern’ in the Indian context. Interestingly, somewhere in the Sixties, Naidu claimed that his paintings, at some level, ran against his grain. The academic training of the school he studied in and the challenge of the search for his own made him transform images to match both his urban and artistic sensibilities.
The paintings of Reddappa Naidu show a dramatic and intense effect of self-expression. He also portrayed Hindu gods and goddesses in varied aspects and perspectives, rendered in free lines drawn with dry brush strokes. During the Sixties, Naidu’s overall source of artistic expression was Hindu mythology and religious iconography. In the mid-Seventies, he did the Mahabharatha series followed by Ramayana and Musicians. He has also done works culled from the Adiparva episode of the Mahabharata where Sakuntala is given special attention. He received National Award of Lalit Kala Akademi in 1967, and travelled widely.