Friday, March 26, 2010

Nicholas Roerich @ NGMA

New Delhi: The Ministry of Culture, Government of India & National Gallery of Modern Art celebrate Indo-Russian Cultural Relations by mounting a special exhibition titled “Nicholas Roerich: An Eternal Quest” at Jaipur House, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, that will be on view till April 11, 2010.

The exhibition showcases 75 works taken from The International Centre of Roerichs, Moscow, and other leading museums in India. The prolific Russian artist Nicholas Roerich 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.

Says Prof Rajeev Lochan, Director, NGMA: “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.”

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.

The legacy of Roerich is a joint Russian-India cultural heritage. The National Gallery of Modern Art thanks the lenders to this exhibition, The International Centre of the Roerichs, (ICR) Moscow, Russia, The International Roerich Trust, Naggar; Allahabad Museum; Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery; Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh; Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi; for their generous loans of paintings. These, along with the collection of NGMA aim to recreate the magic of the spirit of Nicholas Roerich: An Eternal Quest.

A wide variety of prints, portfolios and memorabilia have been specially created towards the exhibition. Special films on the life and work of Nicholas Roerich will be screened daily. The exhibition would be on view till April 11, Tuesdays to Sunday, 10-5 pm at the Jaipur House wing of the National Gallery of Modern Art, India Gate Circle, New Delhi. A definite must see!
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