Vertical mountains on the right side direct the spectator through several creative interventions in this landscape. From the distant background, a long aqueduct on an arched bridge connects with a towering round tower atop a hill on the other side. According to the 1931 catalogue written by Sir Evan Cotton, the tower resembles an Italian castle.
The foreground interweaves three interesting characters. On one side, a woman is seen mounted on a horse with a man
accompanying her on foot. Her head is turned in three quarter profile which furthermore directs the viewer’s eye towards
an Indian man on the other side. Dressed in an ochre jaina and crimson pagdi, he is portrayed lying on one of the rocks
while fishing from the water stream in his front.
The water is painted in a forceful manner, gushing downwards from the spring and turning calm as it flows into the sea.
A boat draws attention to the vast expanse of the sea waters, stretching till the background. With undulating hues of
green and brown, this landscape reveals an impeccable play of refined brushstrokes. Amidst the calmness, two dogs in the
foreground provide movement to this visual.
The rich collection of Rashtrapati Bhavan has treasures dating from 3rd century B.C.E to contemporary times. The earliest attempt at cataloguing these works of art was undertaken in 1931 by Sir Evan Cotton on the directions of Lord Irwin, then Viceroy. Subsequently a systematic effort to research and compile information on the art collection was initiated only during the tenure of President Pranab Mukherjee who assumed office on July 25, 2012.
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A serene sky in hues of blue forms the background. A bridge with arched passageways divides the composition. Distant mountains behind, seem to be sloping towards the left. A round tower rises along with a tree in distant view.
Following a rhythmic appeal, craggy mountains towards the right form a path for the group of women and a child who are engaged in their everyday activities. Towards the left, a sea breeze appears calm with a group of men, engaged in fishing amidst lush green environs. Sir George Scharf, an English art critic and illustrator attributes this style of painting to Francesco Zuccarelli, an Italian painter of the late Baroque period.
Winter scene with snow, Artist Unknown, Probably Late 18th century, Oil on Canvas,
Print on Art Paper
Print size: 34 x 44 cm / 13.5 x 17.5 inch
The Rashtrapati Bhavan contains a collection of four Chinese paintings which used to adorn the India Office Council Room corridors and were presented to Viceroy’s House in 1930 by Secretary of State for India. The paintings are believed to represent the socio-cultural fabric of China during the Qing dynasty, according to the 1931 catalogue authored by Sir Evan Cotton.
This painting titled, “Winter scene with snow” depicts a village ceremony, perhaps the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Swirling clouds and small snowy mountains can be seen in background. A circular procession of dancing villagers appears to be moving towards the central plane. Deep tones reflect European influences. People can be seen paying reverence to a temple with a characteristic Chinese roof. According to the 1931 catalogue, the empty blue sedan chairs on the left show that the priests are inside the temple. A performance is being staged towards the right of the temple pavilion and an ox stands atop the temple portico, reached through a flight of long horizontal steps. In the midst of this vast procession, a judge is being carried in a blue carriage. A circular banner in motion precedes this carriage. The temple ceremony seems to be followed by a military parade.