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In search of mysticism

Visitors at Salar Jung Museum, viewing the 'In search of the mystic world' exhibition that features paintings of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich. Photo: Nagara Gopal   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

It is a mystic world out there. Every frame has a kind of mysticism about it. The metaphors and vivid symbolisms in his works are manifestation of his quest for the sublime. Russian artist, Nicholas Roerich’s paintings defy definition. One can gaze at them for hours and get transported from the temporal to the spiritual plane.

Hyderabadis have the rare opportunity of viewing the rich legacy of this celebrated painter who sought to bring Oriental and Occidental civilisations together. The ongoing exhibition of his works titled ‘In search of the mystic world’ at Salar Jung Museum here takes one on a spiritual journey. The exhibits displayed are drawn from the Allahabad Museum’s collection — each varied in nature and composition.

Experience the quest for inner and outer self. Explore the mysticism entwined with the tangible and intangible world. Appreciate the innate tendency of human spirit towards complete harmony. The paintings of the celebrated artist offer all this and more. They give a new expression of the intuitive mind.

India was close to Roerich’s heart ever since his first visit to the country in 1923. He has done series of Himalayan paintings which seek to capture the Indian mysticism. The snow-capped Himalayan peaks and their changing colour shades as the sun rays fall on them are simply mesmerising. Was Roerich trying to unravel mysticism through abstract or realistic art forms?

Born at St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1874, Roerich has painted more than 7000 canvasses and of them 19 exclusive ones are in the Allahabad Museum. There are 10 Roerich Halls all over the world, including the ones at Banaras and Allahabad. “The ideas and ideals of Roerich works reflect intense humanity and passion for culture and quest for mystic knowledge,” says Rajesh Purohit, Director, Allahabad Museum.

The painting titled ‘The Holy Shepherd’ depicts the flute playing figure of Lel, a folk hero of the ancient Slavonic tradition. The scene is also reminiscent of the flute playing Krishna of Vrindavan. The idyllic sunset with the sheep grazing peacefully add to its beauty. Roerich captures the beauty of the Himalayan peaks in hues of blue and white. The depiction of rays of rising sun emanating from beyond the crags and spreading into the sky is simply fascinating. One painting shows an ascetic seated on the pinnacle of a high peak performing penance while another frame depicts the figure of Buddha in a meditating posture in the Himalayas.

Roerich paintings, many think, are more relevant today as they try to bridge the gap between political powers by reducing hostility among nations. Drop into the Salar Jung Museum before August 3 for an encounter with mysticism.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 1:07:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nicholas-roerichs-works-on-display-at-salar-jung-museum/article7477467.ece

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