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Nicholas Roerich
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    (October 9, 1874-December 12, 1947)
    Born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
    Birth name was Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh
    Russian artist famed for his inexplicably eerie and deep paintings of religious and spiritual themes and critically acclaimed as a highly original set designer for plays, ballets, and operas
    Graduate of Saint Petersburg University and the Imperial Academy of Arts
    Wrote book of poetry titled 'Flowers of Moya' (in Russian); English title, 'Flame in Chalice'
    Other interests included literature, philosophy, and archaeology
    Created almost 7,000 paintings
    Among his famous paintings are 'Himalayas,' 'Battle in the Heavens,' and 'The Treasures of the Angels'
    He was a lawyer.
    Although revolted by the their violence, he otherwise had little problem with communism (although he wouldn't live under it) and cooperated with communist intelligence agencies when living outside of Russia/the Soviet Union.
    Many of his paintings, even of everyday items or of orthodox religious/spiritual themes, strike many people as somehow creepy.
    H.P. Lovecraft described his work as 'strange and disturbing.'
    He was into Eastern religions and the occult, including Theosophy, Vendata, and Buddhism, but tended towards their Western homogenized versions versus their original Eastern forms.
    He and a group of friends spent five years traveling through Asia trying to spread their western version of Buddhism (which is kind of like going to the Vatican to spread Catholicism); during this they were arrested in Tibet (for reasons never fully explicated) and spent almost a year in prison in tents during which five members of their party died.
    He was not a very good businessman.
    United States Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice-President Henry Wallace was fan and friend, a fact which probably cost him election to the Presidency when some of his letters detailing his interest in Roerich's more far out ideas surfaced in 1947.
    He only went to law school because his father, an attorney, wanted him to and he never actually practiced as an lawyer.
    Throughout his entire adult life, he tirelessly worked to preserve and promote the best in the various cultures he came across in his extensive travels, believing that the arts are necessary for the betterment of all mankind.
    His work led to the Roerich Pact, a treaty between some twenty nations including the United States dedicated to protecting works of art during wartime.
    He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929, 1932 and 1935.
    The Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York is dedicated to his works.
    Indira Gandhi said about him, 'He was a man with extreme knowledge and experience, a man with a big heart, deeply influenced by all he observed.'
    Nina Selimnova, his biographer wrote, 'The original force of Roerich's work consists in a masterly and marked symmetry and a definite rhythm, like the melody of an epic song.'
    One critic wrote about his work, 'He populated his world not with participants in transitory dramas and comedies, but with spokesman for the most steadfast ideas about the truth of life, the millennial struggles of good and evil, the triumphal procession of a bright future for all.'
    He had a wonderful marriage to his wife, Helena, who he considered his inspiration and to whom he dedicated all of his books.
    Despite his interests in Eastern religions, he remained a member of the Orthodox Church and throughout his career created paintings reflecting themes of Orthodox Christianity.
    He established several institutions including Pax Cultura to teach and spread the arts.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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