Jawaharlal Nehru together with his daughter Indira Gandhi visited the Roerichs’ house in Kullu in May 1942. The great Indian first met and talked with the great Russian artist and thinker Nikolai Roerich, his wife Helena Roerich, and all the members of this great family who made a huge contribution to the friendship and cooperation between Russia and India. On the visit of Nehru and Indira to Kulu, Nikolai Konstantinovich wrote in his diary an essay entitled “Panditji”: “They talked about the Indo-Russian Cultural Association. It’s time to think about cooperation useful, conscious.”
The meeting was prepared by Svyatoslav Nikolaevich, who at that time had very good relations with a number of outstanding representatives of the Indian intelligentsia. With Javakharlal Nehru Svyatoslav Nikolaevich throughout personal life, personal friendship was connected, as well as with Ms. Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv.
During the week-long stay of Jawaharlal
Nehru in Kulu, Svyatoslav Nikolaevich began work on his first portraits. On the best of them the artist told the Hermitage staff when in 1960, at the invitation of NS Khrushchev, he came to the Soviet Union with a personal exhibition:
“When I write a portrait, I’m mostly interested in the character of a person, and I try to paint portraits from people I know.” Sometimes it’s quite easy to read the character of a person, but it’s better to learn it, to study it. “Here at the exhibition I have a portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru, whom I know well. When I wrote this portrait, Nehru lived with us, and I had a lot of time to communicate with him, and I wrote a series of etudes and portraits from him, as you know, an absolutely amazing man, a deep beautiful heart, large, exceptional wide he is already thinking in universal categories, for him the whole world is a common continent and being a highly cultured person he is an excellent driver of India. This portrait was written in 1942. Since then I have made several others, but this one remained characteristic.. . This portrait was
technically written by me the way I thought it necessary to display this complex face. It only seems simple. Many artists painted portraits from him and told me how difficult it was. “
In the great saga of the struggle for India’s independence, Jawaharlal Nehru takes a place next to Mahatma Gandhi. In this difficult work, a unique union of two personalities, original but coalesced, divergent in views, but able to come to an agreement, was formed – an alliance that influenced virtually all aspects of the national liberation movement and led India to independence.