December 10, 2014 3:28:25 am
President Pranab Mukherjee is all set to ring in his 80th birthday later this week with a celebration of art.
On December 11, Mukherjee’s birthday, Rashtrapati Bhavan will unveil an e-catalogue of the art work it possesses — including the oldest Bull sculpture dating back to 3rd century BC, the exquisite Persian art on the ceiling and walls of the Ashoka Hall and some rare reproductions of Ajanta murals.
Incidentally, his autobiography, “The Dramatic decade: The Indira Years”, is set to be released on that date though Rashtrapati Bhavan holds that the President will not be a part of any launch event.
A day later is the inauguration of the ceremonial hall and an official banquet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet and other leaders preceded by a musical performance by Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra. The banquet was scheduled a day later as Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in India on December 10 and 11.
The e-catalogue is one of the many initiatives Rashtrapati Bhavan undertook since Mukherjee assumed office, to bring the institution of the President closer to the people. The e-catalogue, titled “Art Heritage of Rashtrapati Bhavan: A Selection”, contains 113 high quality photographs of paintings and select art objects in the Rashtrapati Bhavan collection. The e-catalogue will allow people to zoom in and view the paintings in far greater detail.
However, the photographs cannot be downloaded although Rashtrapati Bhavan may make prints available through its souvenir shop at a later date.
“There was an earlier catalogue of art pieces in the Estate that dated back to 1931. We found it in the library and that is when the President said that we should undertake a similar exercise now and in a format that is accessible to all. We took professional help over the past one year to put together this catalogue. These are just the highlights of a collection of a large collection,” said Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the President.
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