Roerich N. Overseas Guests. 1902 Overseas Guests
Oil on canvas. 79 x 100
Nicholas Roerich’s Overseas Guests casts the viewer back to the romantic world of strong and brave Varangians, who, as the artist himself affirmed, introduced “a new impetus” into Russian history. The poetical structure of the canvas and its fairytale elegance contribute to the unusual nature of the history theme. The master employs several devices of Russian folk art — terse drawing and intense decorative tones. This inherent link to folk art was indicated in the catalogue of Roerich’s one-man show (1903), which lists this work as Overseas Guests. Folk Picture. The canvas was painted at Fernand Cormon’s studio in Paris, where Roerich was a student. The artist later repeated the picture for collectors.
Roerich N. Celestial Battle. 1912 Celestial Battle
Tempera on cardboard. 66 x 95
Nicholas Roerich was interested in mysticism and a passionate believer in the ideas of “all-unity” and “Russocosmism”. One of his favourite motifs was the ancient north — a bleak and uninhabited land of mighty hills and cold, clear lakes. Roerich’s paintings were regarded as insights into the archaic period of Indo-European civilisation.
One of his finest works is Celestial Battle. Permeated with the divine light and “programmed” with the future history of the earth, the cumuli swirl above the distant figures of demons, messengers, knights on horseback, seafarers, sages and the silhouettes of the “prophecy stones”. Roerich portrays a hypostasis of a former golden age, when man lived in harmony with himself and the cosmos.