Wizard of Eastern Landscapes

Nicholas Roerich landscapes were an articulation of his philosophical beliefs.

By Suchismita Ukil Updated: Oct 11, 2018 16:39:03 IST
Wizard of Eastern Landscapes Himalayas, by Nicholas Roerich. Tempera on canvas, 18.25 × 30.75 inches, 1940. Image courtesy: Saffronart.

"Wizard of eastern landscapes, who sublimates realistic scenes to the dizzy heights of divine dreamlands," noted art scholar O. C. Gangoly in The Pioneer, and "a master of the mountains", Russian-born painter Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) found a home in India in the second half of his life in 1928, in the Kullu valley in the western Himalayas. His cottage estate in the sleepy town of Naggar, now converted into an art gallery, houses a huge portion of his paintings and should be open for a visit.

Drawn to spirituality since an early age, his art, captivating landscapes of the Himalayan magnificence in the last two decades, many say, was the articulation of his philosophical beliefs. The striking mountain peaks, the icy tips glistening in the sun, masterfully painted in different hues of blue, speak of the subtle, yet unshakeable might of the Himalayas.

In the artist's own words (Shambala, p 41), "Where can one have such joy as when the sun is upon the Himalayas; when the blue is more intense than sapphires; when from the far distance, the glaciers glitter as incomparable gems. All religions, all teachings, are synthesized in the Himalayas … All great symbols, all heroes, seem to be brought close to the Himalayas as if to the highest altar, where the human spirit comes closest to divinity."

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