Oil on cardboard
79 x 100
State Russian Museum
Nicholas Roerich’s Overseas Guests casts the viewer back to the romantic world of strong and brave Varangians, who, as the artist himself affirmed, introduced “a new impetus” into Russian history. The poetical structure of the canvas and its fairytale elegance contribute to the unusual nature of the history theme. The master employs several devices of Russian folk art — terse drawing and intense decorative tones. This inherent link to folk art was indicated in the catalogue of Roerich’s one-man show (1903), which lists this work as Overseas Guests. Folk Picture. The canvas was painted at Fernand Cormon’s studio in Paris, where Roerich was a student. The artist later repeated the picture for collectors.
Roerich, Nicholas (Nikolai Konstantinovich)
1874, St Petersburg -7, Kullu (India)
Painter, theatrical designer, writer. Studied under Arkhip Kuindzhi at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1893-97), Faculty of Law, St Petersburg University (1893-98) and Fernand Cormon''s studio in Paris (1900-01). Academician of painting (1909). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1895). Contributed to the exhibitions of the World of Art (1902, 1903, 191 1-17; founding member 1910; chairman 1910-13), Union of Russian Artists ( 1903-10; member from 1903), Salon d''Automne (1906, 1907; member from 1906), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900), World Exhibition in St Louis (1904), International Exhibitions in Munich (1909), Rome (1911, 1914) and Malmo (1914) and the Exhibitions of Russian Art in Paris (1906-08), Berlin (1906) and Vienna (1908). Director of the School of Drawing, Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (1906-16). Designed for theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg and Sergei Diaghilev''s Saisons Russes (from 1907). Emigrated (1918). Settled in Kullu in India (1928).