Russian Museum
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Serpent Princess. 1906

Roerich Nicholas,
Tempera on cardboard
50 х 39

State Russian Museum

Пост. в 1910, дар М. К. Тенишевой, Петербург


One of the demonic motifs that fascinated artists in the middle of the 1900s. He was inspired by the little-known and evidently very ancient subject of half-men/half-serpents, which resembles a tortuous dream about the irresistible power of love. The phosphorescent paints, clouds racing across the sky and the flapping cape of the hero here are contrasted with hardened, lubok-esque "primitive" figures that convey the meaning of the scene, a scene full of "terrible charms and the murmurings of quiet horror".

Author's Biography

Roerich Nicholas

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).

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