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Svyatoslav
Nikolaevich Roerich
Russia 
1904−1993
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Roerich Svyatoslav Nikolaevich was born in Petersburg on October 10 (23 in the old style) 1904, died January 30, 1993 in the Indian city of Bangalore. This is the greatest painter of Russian origin, from the 30s of the twentieth century, lived and worked in India. The son of Helen and Nicholas Roerich — the renowned creative family of public figures.

Features of the artist Svyatoslav Roerich: the canvases of the hand of this master are distinguished by the deep symbolism inherent in them on a par with the realism depicted. By his works, the author demonstrates loyalty to humanistic ideals, he devotes them to the struggle for the peaceful coexistence of peoples of different faiths and nationalities. For this purpose, they use seemingly difficult to combine and even in some sense opposing artistic concepts. The realism of the Russian school of painting Svetoslav Roerich manages to intertwine with the traditions of Western art in its best periods. In this bizarre pattern of styles, Indian motives find a place for themselves, which literally permeates the work of the artist, who for a long time lived in this country with inexhaustible treasures of art.

Famous paintings by Svetoslav Roerich: "Buddha’s cup"," Jawaharlal Nehru ","Red earth","Immortal life","Spring", "Fire Dragon", "Sacred flute", "My house".

Being the son of parents such as Nicholas and Elena Roerich, the future artist from childhood had the opportunity to develop his versatile abilities in art, inherited from his father, the great painter.

Both mother and father in every way encouraged his son’s desire to draw, developed his natural inclination towards the natural sciences. Thanks to this, the talent of Svetoslav Roerich was revealed to the full extent, in which every person who has paid attention to any of his paintings can be convinced.

The role of the father in the development of the creative personality of the artist

The first creative attempt of this painter can be considered a portrait created by him as a teenager, on which the author captured his father. By the one whom Roerich chose Svyatoslav Nikolaevich as his first model, one can judge about the significance of the figure of the parent in its formation. From the earliest years, Svyatoslav participated in every way in the diverse activities of the family — he helped his father with canvases and paints, sometimes accompanied in traveling around Russian cities, which Nicholas Roerich often visited as part of his archeology hobby. Their close connection was maintained even later: in many works of Svetoslav Roerich Roerich there is a resemblance to the later works of his father.

The Roerich family moved to Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century, where the learning and development of the gifted youth continued. Studying architecture at the London Academy of Arts, Svetoslav Roerich did not quit painting. And again his aspirations found support and approval from his father. Together they created the scenery for the productions of the great Russian operas in London theaters. Nicholas Roerich spoke about the work of his son as a model of a not indifferent, passionate attitude to painting, thanks to which he succeeds in achieving such an impressive result. He notes the intensity of all elements of the paintings of Svyatoslav Roerich, despite this being in surprising harmony, calls his son’s talent "high gift", bringing joy and to everyone around him.

American period of life of Svyatoslav Roerich

A tribute to respect for the personality of the father can be considered the fact that Svetoslav Roerich assumed the post of vice-president of the museum Corona Mundi, dedicated to his father. Then he came to India for the first time, from which the painter began to get acquainted with the peculiarities of Indian culture, which later completely conquered his heart.

Roerich came to America to continue his architectural education, which he did at first at Columbia University, and then at Harvard. For the development of his many-sided inclinations of this, he considered not sufficient, therefore he visited the department of sculpture in parallel, worked on illustrations for books, wrote pictures, including in the graphic direction.

His future Indian life is woven into this period. The purpose of the first trip to this country for Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich was to help the family during the Central Asian expedition.

After the trip, he returned to America, where his artistic activity was not left unattended by critics. Talent Roerich was first recognized by them after the exhibition of his work in New York, which caused a certain stir in the media. In 1925 he received the highest award at the exhibition, timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Philadelphia, about a hundred of his works were presented at the exhibition.

India — its value for the artist’s work


As soon as the training came to an end, the artist moved to India, where at that time his family was already living. There, with the same zeal as in the USA, he was actively involved in social and cultural life, grasping its features and paying tribute to its charm in his paintings. Roerich was so in love with India that he considered her second, spiritual, homeland. The anthem of love for this country with centuries-old refined traditions can be considered many of the author’s paintings, remarkable in their inner strength.

Here Svetoslav Roerich painted several dozen paintings already with the color inherent in Indian culture. So, in 1933, he finished "Portrait of Nicholas Roerich in Tibetan attire." This canvas is considered to be one of his most significant works. The recognition still accompanies Roerich, and his canvases, which depict full-length Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru — Indian prime ministers — still serve as a decoration for the Central Hall, where the Indian Parliament is located.

Here, in the spiritual atmosphere of harmony with the whole world, the artist found his life companion, which was the famous Indian film actress Devika Rani. Roerich Svetoslav Nikolaevich met her on the set of the film for which he created the scenery. Devika Rani became a source of inspiration for the artist and his faithful friend and companion in all his endeavors.

Pictures of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich: spiritual portraiture


Portraitism is what this master began to form. Thanks to his perseverance and active unceasing self-development, he managed to reach the top in this genre. His portraits amaze not with a superficial, external similarity, but with a deep correspondence of the personality of that person who appears before the viewer. In the paintings of Svetoslav Nikolaevich Roerich, his approach to creating a portrait is clearly visible, consisting in creating not just a similarity, but an internal, spiritual similarity.

Among his works are also landscapes, epic, deeply symbolic canvases. All of them testify to the skill and virtuosity of Svyatoslav Roerich, his penchant for non-standard solutions in implementing his ideas.

Pictures of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich are distinguished by their exceptional elegance and laconic presentation. They most accurately convey the spiritual image of a person, his deep essence and character.

Especially among the paintings of Roerich Svetoslav Nikolaevich portraits of his family. However, despite the unconditional influence of the personality of Nicholas Roerich on his work, this great painter is an original author, whose style and technique, in common with his father, represent a completely different manner of performance.

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To miss the chance of visiting the unique exhibitions of the capital hosting the World Cup 2018, is like to score an own goal. Football will not forgive this to you! The mystical Vermeer, demonic Vrubel, uncompromising Malevich, philosophical Roerich, succulent Konchalovsky, appetizing Deineka, romantic Zverev, admirable Picasso - they all make up just a part of the artistic team that is…
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Artworks by the artist
125 artworks total
1952, 92×153 cm
1942, 75.9×60.7 cm
1971, 30.3×60.7 cm
1942, 140×122 cm
1939, 42×40 cm
1974, 61.5×107.5 cm
XX century, 60.3×44.2 cm
1932, 42×58 cm
View 125 artworks by the artist