Millennium Post

Most of this Russian painter's works have been inspired by the Himalayas

Kolkata: Indian Museum will host a unique month-long exhibition of paintings by famous Russian painter Nicholas Roerich in June.

Roerich, who was an archaeologist, theosophist and philosopher, has spent a reasonable time of his life in India and the beautiful Himalayan landscape has been the canvas for his numerous paintings.

Nineteen of his paintings that will be showcased will be brought from Allahabad Museum.

"Among the Russian painters, the work of Nicholas Roerich is not only unique in the context of Russian art but also a different kind of expression of the intuitive mind. His paintings are the manifestation of his internal experience while he was moving from Europe to America to Asia absorbing the auras of diverse peoples and making pilgrimage to remote places gaining wisdom. Central Asia, Mongolia and the Himalayan belt have been portrayed in many of his paintings," said Rajesh Purohit, the director of Indian Museum.

Roerich travelled to India and met many Indian scientists, artists and writers in the twenties and thirties.

Following his first visit to India in 1923 he undertook an expenditure to the unknown tracts of Chinese Turkestan, Altai, Mongolia and Tibet where he studied the religion, the customs and the language of the people and also delved into the lifestyle of the inhabitants.

In 1942, Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi visited his home in Kullu. They discussed the fate of the new world. Gandhi would later recall about several days spent together with Roerich's family. Roerich breathed his last on December 13, 1947 at Naggar in Himachal Pradesh.

He was highly inspired by the Eastern religions specially Buddha Maitreya.

He was also influenced by Krishna, which is evident from his portrayal of the Slavic folk hero Lel holding a flute amidst sheep in place of Lord Krishna's cows.

The exhibition titled "In Search of the Mystic World: Revisiting the Roerich's collection from Allahabad Museum," signifies his quest for both the inner and the outer world as well as the mysticism that is entwined in the tangible and intangible world.

"While analysing his works it invoked in me a kind of mysticism. The metaphor and vivid symbolism in his works suggest that his mystical or spiritual experiences are directly inspired by the path followed by Jesus Christ who too had such deep experiences. So, he spent months painting church interiors in his native Russia," Purohit said.

Apart from Allahabad Museum, his collections are found only at the Bengaluru High Court in India. The highest collection of his work is in Boston Museum.

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