Sunday, January 22, 2006

Picture this: Nicholas Roerich

Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich (1874-1947) belonged to the most prominent of the artists who remade the art scene in stagnating tsarist Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. He was, however, not a radical. When revolution struck in 1917 he was already in Finland with his family, and didn’t return because he thought that it would be to dangerous. Instead he travelled to the USA, and then on to India where he lived for many years until his death.

Together with his wife Helena he founded a theosofical society in New York, and through the years it became apparant that it was within mysticism and symbolism that his art belonged. He was a passionate adversary to “academics, sentimentalists and realists”.

Mount of Five Treasures (Two Worlds), painted in 1933, is a typical example of Roerich’s later work. The physical place is probably located in the Himalayas, but the important thing for Roerich was the inner mountains that every person must climb. The painting is part of several suites of mysterious mountain pictures.

On a sidenote: the works of Nicholas Roerich inspired horror fiction writer HP Lovecraft to one of his most important shorts tories, At the Mountains of Madness.

Picture this is a standing feature in the weekly journal Flamman.


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