Portrait of Rahul Gandhi 2.0, Indian Politics, and 2019 Elections.

Rahul Gandhi, the rather Caucasian-looking scion of India’s first political family – so Caucasian-looking that my American friend often thinks that he’s blond; is that young Indian politician who has recently begun to bloom. He’s about fifty and dynamic in spurts, and possibly the most eligible bachelor in India.

I did his portrait a few months ago – a sketch that I scanned into the computer and then I sketched upon it some more, mostly to add color. This is done from one of his official portraits. I like it for its subtle, innocent smile. If he were a woman, I’d call it a Monalisa smile – a smile that hides more than it reveals, and which stretches upon a pain that cannot be understood by others.

I’m sure that most of my blog-visitors must be wondering who this guy is and why the caricaturist is so gung-ho about his visit to her blog. So keeping in line with the longstanding tradition of this blog, I’d like to present Rahul Gandhi’s shortest biography on the web.

portrait-rahul-gandhi-indian-congress-president-sketch

Rahul Gandhi’s Extremely Brief Biography:

Rahul was born on June 19th 1970. His political lineage is studded with three important stars of India’s political firmament. His  father Mr. Rajeev Gandhi,  his grandmother Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and his maternal great-grandfather, were all Prime Ministers of India in their time. However, his grandmother and his father were both assassinated – his grandmother when he was fourteen and father when he was twenty-one. Rahul studied in St. Columba’s, the Doon School, then joined St. Stephen’s but moved to Harvard, then to Rollins College (known to have the most beautiful college campus in the US) in Florida, finally finishing at Cambridge.

As it happens often on this blog, one thing led to another, and today Rahul Gandhi is the President of the Indian National Congress. INC is the largest and the only national political party that’s currently in opposition, thanks to its dismal performance in the previous elections. Today it faces the mighty BJP headed by Narendra Modi, whose humble roots, desi appeal, and charismatic rhetoric had brought the BJP into power.

Rahul 2.0

A weak opposition is possibly what cripples a democracy the most. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to the Gandhi family, in past, Rahul has always appeared to be a chance-politician. But since the recent Gujarat elections in which INC and BJP ran almost neck and neck, things seem to be changing.

Recently, we’ve been seeing a new avatar of Rahul. A Rahul who is more confident, who’s done his homework, who speaks Hindi more fluently, who doesn’t roll up his sleeve every two minutes, and who “bhayya-fies” his audience less often. He’s begun to assert himself as a Hindu Brahmin (not that most of us care…or believe,) and the media too is softening toward him.

I wish him luck in the 2019 elections.

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Michelangelo’s Bacchus and the 4 Types of Artists.

It’s odd how we often we look at things without seeing them, quite like I’ve looked at Bacchus and David and the Creation of Adam that’s painted upon the ceiling of Sistine chapel. We look at them and move on to the next creation by the artist…and then the next.

But among all the creations of Michelangelo, Bacchus left me moved.

This sculpture of the Roman god of wine and festivities is possibly the only one that does justice to him and his fine duties along with the Satyr that nibbles at the bunch of grapes that hang at the god’s side, and yet, it’s the sculpture for which Michelangelo wasn’t paid.

Why?

  • Because Bacchus looked drunk and slightly out of control.
  • Because Michelangelo had gone beyond what was required of him.
  • Because in his depiction of Bacchus Michelangelo had broken the moral boundaries of his time.

But mostly because with Bacchus, Michelangelo had stretched limits of the ability expected from an artist at the time. He had given his figures an exalted form. That, or his lack of training in painting led him to paint somewhat elongated figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the artists that came after him thought that elongation of bodies might be secret to his his success. Whatever the reason might have been, Michelangelo inadvertently started the Mannerist school of art, which El Greco took to perfection.

The wikipedia entry on Bacchus tells us…

“Commissioned by Raffaele Riario, a high-ranking Cardinal and collector of antique sculpture, it was rejected by him and was bought instead by Jacopo Galli, Riario’s banker and a friend to Michelangelo.”

I am not surprised that the gentleman who commissioned the sculpture decided not to put it in his courtyard. We don’t know whether it was because the god appeared drunken or because he wasn’t clothed. I’d say it must’ve been a bit of both. We know that after Michelangelo had finished “The Last Judgment” his work was denigrated by Cesna (the Papal Master of Ceremonies) and at a later date  another artist Volterra was commissioned to cover the nakedness that disgraced the chapel. Volterra might not have envisioned how this particular commission would earn him a place in history, and a rather cute nickname that translates to knickers-maker.

Raffaele Riario who was a cardinal himself would obviously be averse to decorating his courtyard with a sculpture of a butt-naked god who looked, “drunken, brutal, and narrow-minded, and has an expression of dissoluteness the most revolting,” according to P.B. Shelley.

And yet, I believe that Bacchus is a master-piece – for it’s a manifestation of Michelangelo’s courage and imagination. Perhaps the first sculpture of its kind – the first to cast a god in the mold of a man both in body and spirit, and yet, it was rejected by the man who commissioned it. In the sixteenth century, an artist was more an illustrator of an idea who worked for a price and delivered per the requirement of the client. The artistic license that Michelangelo took with Bacchus must’ve caused him considerable inconvenience too.

It’s said that history has lessons for us.

One of the lessons to be learned here is that artists must sometimes rein-in their imagination, especially if they want to eat well. They must decide what kind of artist they want to be – Starving, Dying, Dead, or Rich.

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

 

 

My three renderings of Morgan Freeman – A Caricature, a Quick Digital Painting, and a Pen Portrait.

Artists thrive on the emotions that swing from one extreme to another – and more often than not find themselves holding the short end of the stick. I can’t say for sure if that was the case with Morgan Freeman, when he got embroiled in the #Metoo controversy, but there’s a distinct possibility that he allowed the actor in him to get the better of him.

Honestly, I’m a fan of Morgan Freeman. I love his expressive face, his deep bass voice, and most of all, his ability to remain himself while becoming his character. I don’t know how he does it all.

Anyway, to cut a long story short…

Let me share the three drawings/paintings of Freeman I did.

As the caricature of Alex Cross (2009)

Morgan Freeman as Detective Alex Cross of James Patterson Novels doesn't see the dueling mosquitoes.

Will he spot them?

 

As a quick less-than-an-hour painting by a distraught artist

Quick Portrait of Morgan Freeman - Hollywood-Actor

Morgan Freeman – 8″x11″

As a more detailed pen and ink drawing done from a photograph

Portrait Morgan Freeman Hollywood actor accused #metoo

As you can see, the first drawing is a caricature that exaggerates his nose, which is his most characteristic feature, and it also plays with the deviations. (For a detailed study of how you can make caricatures, please check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Make Caricatures.”)

The second artwork is painted digitally and my focus was on capturing the lights and the shadows. My aim was to paint it within an hour, and so I began with laying blobs of digital paint to define the form and then just painted in the main features.

The third drawing was done more meticulously. First, I made a pen sketch. Then I scanned it and did the light color sketching in Photoshop.

For the philosophically inclined, I wrote a post yesterday 🙂 Morgan Freeman – In the Eye of the #MeToo storm.

I also want to thank everyone who responded to my previous post despite my inordinately long absence from the virtual world. You guys are swell. THANK YOU!