Prabhupadadesh ceiling and wall murals (Album with photos)
Rudradeva das: “I enjoyed painting this ceiling mural very much, as it was a constant meditation on my spiritual master, and afforded me ample opportunity to concentrate on illustrating and producing his many transcendental qualities, through the medium of my oil paints. Along with the temple president, Guru-caran das, we decided to feature Srila Prabhupada in 8 separate activities, divided by an ornamental cornice (frame). The outside of the frame is in the form of an oval, with the temple room’s chandelier in the middle. In each of these 8 portraits, Prabhupada is seen predominantly displaying one of the qualities mentioned and sung every morning by devotees, in the Sri-Gurvastakam verses, the mangala arotik prayer. The frames are not placed in order, 1 thru 8, due to the shape of the panels comprising the oval, and of course, the different orientations of the photos they were taken from. So the order is random, but I think we chose well suitable representations, matching what we thought was Prabhupada’s dominant quality in these various activities, to match the corresponding Gurvastakam verse.
I used oil paint applied over stained-gesso-treated 3/8 inch-thick 5-ply cross-laminated wooden panels, the top layer being knot-free, of course. Instead of the usual method of applying the underpainting in acrylic colors, in this case I decided to create the underpainting in fast-drying oils, same as the over-layer(top layer). As you can see, 4 of the panels are tall (about 7 ft), and 4 panels are more squat, comparatively. I worked on all 8 panels simultaneously, first bringing all 8 to the completed underpainting stage, then working on 2 or 3 at a time, applying the final layers and details of the over-painting. The panels were not worked on “in-place” on the ceiling “Michaelangelo-style”, but rather, I painted them in a small room off the temple room proper. The ceiling of this makeshift studio was barely high enough to accommodate the larger pieces, which were also quite heavy to move around.
Upon completion of my work on all 8 panels, they were moved from my studio into the temple room and affixed to their place on the ceiling by a construction crew of about 4 men. After they were glued and riveted in place, I climbed the scaffolding to carefully caulk over the small screw holes made during the mounting process, and subsequently, touched-up and painted over the screw holes, to hide them.“
Upon completion of my work on all 8 panels, they were moved from my studio into the temple room and affixed to their place on the ceiling by a construction crew of about 4 men. After they were glued and riveted in place, I climbed the scaffolding to carefully caulk over the small screw holes made during the mounting process, and subsequently, touched-up and painted over the screw holes, to hide them.”
Sometime later, two wall murals were commissioned for the temple room, within 2 large circular spaces on one side of the temple room, flanking the main interior entrance to the temple. One was a copy of Murlidhara’s popular Krsna-lila pastime, and the other was copied from Ramanath das’ Gaura-lila, featuring ecstatic harinam sankirtan thru the streets of Orissa, with Lord Jagannath’s Ratha-Yatra cart in the background. The finished murals were well-received among ISKCON devotees and visitors. Madhusevita Prabhu, upon seeing it, was inspired to ask Rudradeva to come to Milan to do a similar project there (see Villaggio Hare Krsna ceiling mural). Radhanath Swami said, “This is the most beautiful temple room”.
Find them here: https://goo.gl/PL1rtb