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Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947)


Russian painter and archaeologist, writer and philosopher, traveler, and public figure of Nicholas Roerich was one of the most prominent figures of Russian Symbolism and Art Nouveau, a living legend. He was born on October 9, 1874 in St. Petersburg, the son of a notary. His ancestors from his father, Konstantin Fedorovich, were representatives of the ancient Swedish family, settled in the Baltic lands of Catherine II. The artist's mother, Maria (nee Kalashnikov), came from a merchant family of Pskov.

The very atmosphere in the family home, which was visited by the chemist Mendeleev, orientalist KF Golstunsky, historian Kostomarov, a famous painter and graphic MO Mikshein, was riddled with artistic and scientific interests, which certainly has had a huge impact on the development of the young person.

Finally decided to become a painter Roerich while still in high school KI May. His first art teacher was Mikshein MO.

After graduating from high school Roerich studied law at St. Petersburg University, he attended lectures at the Faculty of History and Philology, and despite the displeasure of his father, attended classes at the Academy of Fine Arts (1893 - 97). Nicholas Roerich's teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts was A. Kuindzhi , who played a huge role in the life of Lev. "Powerful Kuindzhi was not only a great artist, but was also a great teacher of life" - recalled Roerich. He considered the artistic content of the image must be subordinated and composition of the painting and technique.

Roerich and his childhood interest in archeology. As a student, he became a member of the Russian Archaeological Society and annually performed in his meetings with reports on the excavations conducted by them. In 1899 - 1904 years. he studied Slavic and Finno-Ugric antiquities. The artist already at that time wanted to revive the monumental painting - he wanted to write "Beginning of Russia," detail speaks of this era. Topics of ancient life in his paintings appear in the form of colorful characters-generalizations: "Ukushuynik", "Pskov", "Prince Ivan runs into squalid hut" (1894), "The Messenger. The recovery Against Tribe "(1897). "Build a City" (1902), and other sources of artistic method Roerich - in close connection with nature. Combining archeology to art, Roerich wrote a series of architectural and historical landscapes of Pskov, Rostov the Great, Izborsk and other ancient Russian cities.

In 1895, Roerich acquainted with music and art critic, an expert in the ancient culture of the East VV Stasov, whose identity has had a huge impact on the work of Lev. Familiarity with Stasov strengthened the growing interest of the young artist to the East. We Stasova Roerich acquainted with teen idol of the time, the philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, a world which was permeated with the idea of ​​moral self-improvement, proclaimed by Leo Tolstoy, and the artist was close.

In 1898, Roerich graduated and joined the Society for the Encouragement of Arts assistant director of the museum and the assistant editor of the new magazine "Art Industry", in which he published his article on the problems of creativity.

In 1900 - 1901 years. Roerich was improved in painting in the studio of the academic painter of historical direction of Fernand Cormon in Paris. Cormon loved Russian Roerich's sketches and he supported the young artist in his aspirations in the arts.

Roerich considered his spiritual master of the famous French muralist Puvis de Chavannes, who had a great influence on the stylistic manner of the artist. One of the first works started Roerich in Paris, was a picture of "Idols" in 1901, the work on which reveal new features of his work: the desire for decorative color relationships and generalized forms. His painting "The foreign guests" and "Overseas visitors", written in the early 1900s., This pastiche of Slavic antiquity. Roerich - a brilliant representative of the Art Nouveau style, which is characterized by decorative, fine scenic effects, the prevalence of plant ornaments.

In 1901, Roerich returned to Russia and married on October 28 EI Shaposhnikov. In the same year he became Secretary of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts. During this time he wrote such films as "The City. Morning "," Town "," The town in winter ", etc., which uses the tradition of folk art. The works carried out in 1900 - 1902 years. were shown on the academic spring exhibition in St. Petersburg and the exhibition "World of Art" in Moscow, and in 1903 - the exhibition "World of Art" "Modern Art" in St. Petersburg.

In 1904, Roerich became interested in arts and crafts and interior design. At the end of XIX century, this form of art was especially popular. For the Church in Talashkino Smolensk province, the estate of the artist and patron Tenisheva, Roerich developed three panels for the interior of the room, made in the spirit of the art of the peoples of the north, "Hunting," "Dance" and "Deer". Further work of the artist in Talashkino continued in the style of Art Nouveau.

After the exhibition "World of Art" in 1902, which was attended by four of his paintings, Roerich approaches the Benois and Sergei Diaghilev, aesthetic position that appealed to him. Begins his collaboration with "World of Art."

In 1903, Roerich becomes a party to the newly formed "Union of Russian Artists."

In 1903 - 1904 years. Roerich traveled through the ancient Russian cities, which resulted in a series of "landscape architecture": the picture "of Smolensk. Porch of the convent "(1903), Studies" Rostov "and" Ascension Monastery in Uglich, "and so on. In 1904, he was working on a sketch for a mosaic "Alexander Nevsky hits Birger Jarl," which is different range of colors and decorative beauty.

Roerich loss similar educational goals of the Symbolists. He was convinced of the high destiny of the artist and of art. In 1904, the artist works with Bryusovsky magazine "Balance" for which wrote two articles on the problems of art. Roerich fully designed the August issue of "Libra" for 1905, creating the cover of "King," screensaver "After the Storm" and vignettes. In the same issue - his illustrations for "Princess Malen" M. Metterlinka, story and pictures on Indian theme "Devassari Abuntu with birds" and "Devassari Abuntu turns to stone."

In 1905, the artist participated in the design of a house facade Society "Russia" on Bolshaya Morskaya St. Petersburg. In the same year, the artist once again addresses the development of principles of monumental art ("The Slavs on the Dnieper River") is working on a sketch mural "Treasure of the Angels," a special place in the artist. This picture, which was the first work of Roerich on Indian legends, was presented at the exhibition "World of Art" in 1911, and was accompanied by a catalog author's words: "For the trees of Genesis lays stone in it good and evil, all the terra firma on the stone rests . "

In the spring of 1905, in Prague, the first exhibition of Roerich abroad. Subsequently, the exhibition was exhibited in Vienna, Venice, Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, on the "Salon d'Automne" in Paris and was a great success.

The artist's works

See also: - site of the artist Nikolai Roerich.

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