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New Delhi, March 12, 2010
The Ministry of Culture and the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Delhi have jointly organised a month-long exhibition of 75 works of the great and prolific Russian painter Nicholas Roerich in the capital.
The exhibition, which will be open to the public from tomorrow until April 11 at the NGMA, coincides with the visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to India today.
The show, "Nicholas Roerich: An Eternal Quest" showcases works from The International Centre of Roerichs, Moscow and leading museums in India.
Roerich had made India his home in the latter part of his life and is today counted amongst the great Indian masters such as Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.
"Nicholas Roerich was an extraordinary personality, a unique individual, having an immense thirst for knowledge, and a deep appreciation of beauty in all forms. A trained painter and lawyer, also archaeologist, ethnographer, geographer, poet, historian, philosopher, scientist, traveller, fighter for peace, defender of cultural values of all nations, Roerich throughout his life, devoted himself to the ideal of the common good of mankind.
"Roerich’s outlook of the world was unique, based upon the knowledge of the fundamental laws of Existence. He was convinced that by increasing the level of masses’ spiritual culture, one could transform life on earth and defeat ignorance, vulgarity, exploitation and wars. In his own words 'Where there is culture, there is peace'. Being convinced of the transforming power of culture, Nicholas Roerich devoted himself not only to artistic, but also to educational activities," an official press release said.
According to it, Roerich’s lifetime work comprises around 7000 paintings and sketches, which can be found in famous museums and private collections all around the world.
"His early works bear strong influences of his Russian heritage. Based on Russian themes and legends, the panoramic Russian landscapes, history and folk art, he travelled extensively, first in Russia, later in Europe and America, before realizing his long cherished dream to come to India. Drawn inexplicably to the vast mountain ranges of the Himalayas, like no other painter, Roerich was able to grasp and depict the subtle-most shades, hues and tones of the mountains, and their ethereal transparency. He was proclaimed the ‘Master of the Mountains’. He sensed the subtle spirit and harmony of the mountains, their solemn, mighty essence and significance for humanity as the symbol of the purest, highest aspiration towards beauty and knowledge. ‘Treasure-house of the Spirit’ – thus Roerich used to call his beloved Himalayas," it said.
Lenders to the exhibition include The International Roerich Trust, Naggar, Allahabad Museum, Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery, and Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi.
The NGMA has also created a wide variety of prints, portfolios and memorabilia for the exhibition. Special films on the life and work of Nicholas Roerich will be screened daily.
Photo courtesy National Gallery of Modern Art website.