Last time sculptor Niranjan Pradhan worked with a model offering live sitting was 50 years ago in 1966-67, when he was a student at art college and professional models posed for students to sketch and sculpt human figures.
The sessions helped the artist create some of his best bronze figures, including that of Raja Rammohan Roy in Bristol, Vivekananda, Tagore and Jagadish Chandra Bose at Burdwan University , Satyajit Ray at Roop Kala Kendra and Uttam Kumar at Tollygunge. “One gets to sculpt only famous personalities or gods and goddesses. Artists usually don’t get to sculpt a live person,” said Pradhan. Little did he know he would get the rare opportunity , and the model would be none other than President Pranab Mukherjee.
Over five sessions last year, Mukherjee sat without as much as twitching a facial muscle as Pradhan gave the finishing touches to his statue, now at Rashtrapati Bhavan. “Rashtrapati Bhavan wanted to commission a work for the collection of President’s busts. I readily agreed,” Pradhan said.
Mukherjee had to first go in for a shoot, in which he was photographed from various angles.Based on the photos, Pradhan did the initial clay modelling and then a fibre glass mould, which he carried to Delhi for a live session with Mukherjee for finishing touches. “I was excited about checking out how my sculpture had fared compared to the person,” the artist said.But Pradhan was in for disappointment as Mukherjee got busy with meetings and then left for China.
The next time Pradhan visited Rasthrapati Bhavan was a couple of months later.But this time, he was pleasantly surprise. Not only did Mukherjee give him a day’s sitting, he also sat through for an hour, daily for five days in a row. “He was the perfect model.He was very cooperative and even spent time after the sitting to see how the work progressed,” Pradhan said.
The artist created a plaster cast of the final sculpture and returned to his Salt Lake studio for a bronze casting.
The bust was delivered to Rashtrapati Bhavan in time to be installed next to APJ Abdul Kalam’s bust on December 11, Mukherjee’s birthday .
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Kolkata News / by Subhro Niyogi / TNN / February 27th, 2017