Painter, writer & peace activist (1874-1947)
“Culture is the accumulation of highest bliss, highest beauty & highest knowledge.”
Artistically, Nicholas Roerich made a mark as his generation’s most talented painter of Russia’s ancient past, a subject that meshed well with his lifelong interest in archaeology.
The word “treasure” figures prominently in the titles of many of Roerich’s paintings, for instance, ‘The Treasure of the Mountain’ and ‘Hidden Treasure’. It is clearly not material wealth that he refers to, but rather the spiritual treasures that lie buried, yet available to those with the will to unearth them.
It is in his Himalayan paintings that one most easily finds evidence of the loftiness of spirit and sense of mission that led Roerich to attempt the tasks he set for himself. In them can be seen — the sense of drama, the urgency of a message to send or receive, a traveller to greet, a mission to perform and a path to travel. The towering mountains stand for the spiritual goals that humanity must set for itself. Roerich urges people on to their spiritual destiny and reminds them of their duty to prepare for the New Era.
The influence of Theosophy, Vedanta, Buddhism, and other mystical strains of thought can be seen not only in many of his paintings, but in the many short stories and poems Roerich wrote before and after the 1917 revolution.
The pursuit of refinement & beauty was sacred to Roerich. He believed that although earthly temples and artefacts may perish, the thought that brings them into existence does not die but is part of an eternal stream of consciousness — man’s aspirations nourished by his directed will and by the energy of thought. Finally, he believed that peace on Earth was a prerequisite to planetary survival and the continuing process of spiritual evolution, and he exhorted his fellow man to help achieve that peace by uniting in the common language of beauty and knowledge.
Nicholas Roerich died in Kullu, India on December 13, 1947. His body was cremated and its ashes buried on a slope facing the mountains he loved and portrayed in many of his nearly seven thousand works.
At Cosmic Heart Gallery, we house a unique collection of Nicholas Roerich fine art prints by Agniart, Russia.