Today is 144th Birth Anniversary of Nicholas Roerich. A brilliant Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, a philosopher who gave the world some of the best forms of canvas paintings themed on the Himalayas.
Roerich landed in Bombay in December 1923, and began a tour of cultural centers and historic sites, meeting Indian scientists, scholars, artists, and writers along the way. By the end of December, he was already in Sikkim on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, and it is clear by the speed with which he reached the mountains that the Himalayas were where his interest lay.
What ensued were the five hundred or so paintings that resulted from his extensive trekking In Kanchenjunga, Sikkim Pass, His paintings capture the Great Spirit of the Himalayas. In his paintings, we can see philosophical concepts and ideas giving birth to visual images and the splendor of the Himalayas.
The trek he did at those time were arduous. Roerich tells us that thirty-five mountain passes from fourteen to twenty-one thousand feet in elevation were crossed. But these were the challenges he felt born for, believing that the rigor of the mountains helped a man to find the courage and develop strength of true spirit. And in spite of obstacles, wherever he went his belief in the essential goodness of life and the spirituality of man was reinforced.
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 traveler to greet, a mission to perform, a path to travel. The towering mountains stand for the spiritual goals that humanity must set for itself.
Canvas Painting: 1924, Location: Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York City, NY, US. Copyright: Wikiart