Bose's life as an artist developed many facets. He made no distinction between the big and
the small. The goat of this earth and the horse of heaven were of equal interest to him.
When he sketched the 'Goat', which was dear to Gandhiji, 'Rabindranath Tagore wrote a poem
about it. He said in the poem, "0 Shepherd, this is not a goat which you tend, this
is a new creation."
Art for the people's sake - which was his principle. He wanted the common people to
have paintings in their homes. Once when he went to Banupur he drew a number of pictures
and sold them at four annas (25 paise) a picture. When Abanindranath heard of this
eccentricity he went to Banupur and bought the whole lot.
Rabindranath Tagore was very fond of Nandalal Bose. He used to ask again and again,
"Nanda, when are you coming?" When Nandalal Bose took charge of the Art
Department at Santiniketan, Rabindranath Tagore was extremely happy. Tagore honored
Nandalal Bose with a welcome song.
Bose's students always addressed him as 'Master Maashay'. Bose treated them with great
affection. He encouraged his students to follow their imagination and taste. His pure
life, his devotion to art, his gentle speech, his tenderness and delightful humor made him
dear to his students.
When Abanindranath saw Nandalal Bose's 'Swayamvara of Damayanthi' he said, "I can
smell the sweet scent wafted from the marriage mantapa." (A mantapa is a special
structure for an auspicious occasion.) The Japanese artist Okakura commented on Bose's
painting 'Agni' (Fire): "It has every thing, but the only thing it lacked was
Nandalal Bose painted tirelessly. Once he spent a month in winter in Rabindranath
Tagore's estate. The river Padma was frozen. Bose went on painting the beautiful scenery.
Finally he had no material left.
Sister Nivedita persuaded him to make copies of the Ajantha Frescoes. (Ajantha is a
village in Maharashtra. In the caves near this village there are great paintings on the
walls and ceilings.) Venkatappa, Halder and Samarendra Gupta went with him to assist him.
Then he made copies of the frescoes of the Bagh caves in Gwalior. The frescoes in Saranath
were very dear to him. Since he was not a Buddhist, he was not given permission to make
copies. This made him sad.
In the Basu Vijnana Mandira and Cheena Bhavana Nandalal Bose painted murals. The
Maharaja of Baroda invited him to do the fresco work.