LIFE

The life and times of Nikolai Roerich

TO COMMEMORATE the 128th birth anniversary of the great Russian artist Nikolai Roerich, the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and the Indo-Russian Academy of Fine Arts and Sports are organising a painting exhibition by contemporary Indian artists in New Delhi this coming Tuesday.

The exhibition would reflect on the life and times of the legendary Nikolai Roerich who incidentally went on to become the father-in-law of the popular movie artiste Devika Rani who was married to his younger son Svyatoslav Roerich, also a distinguished painter and art critic.

Born in St. Petersburg, Nikolai Roerich graduated from the Academy of Arts and from the Law Faculty the following year. He was also one of the founders and most active members of the Society of Renascence of the Art Russia and the Society of Protection and Preservation of the Monuments of Art and Past in Russia.

A member of the Russian Archaeological Society since his student years, he also became the Secretary of the Society of Arts Encouragement and director of an art school. His proximity to all forms of art led him to becoming an Academician of the Russian Academy of Arts and the head of the art union "Mir Iskusstva''.

Roerich also established the Institute of the United Arts in New York, where the first museum of a Russian artist abroad, Museum of Roerich, was opened in 1923. And after undertaking a scientific and art expedition through the Himalayas, Tibet and Mangolia, Roerich established the International Institute of the Himalayan Studies "Urusvati'' at Kulu in 1928 and settled there with his family.

The fascination for India in Roerich -- who breathed his last in 1947 -- continued to reflect in the works of his two sons, Yuri and Svyatoslav, who followed in their illustrious father's footsteps.

By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

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