Opening on Friday, 12 May, 6 p.m.
Nicholas Roerich (1874–1947) is widely known not only as an artist, but also as a writer, archaeologist, scientist, public figure, philosopher and enlightener. He spent decades of his life touring and exploring the Himalayas, which also became his home. In the 1930s and 1940s, the artist studied these mountains in a series of landscapes and, investing his spiritual insights, reflected the beauty and mysticism of the region, capturing the picturesque scenery in the changing seasons and at different times of the day.
The National Gallery owns some 250 works by the painter, which were donated to the Bulgarian state in the late 1970s by his son, Svetoslav Roerich. The present exhibition includes 30 landscapes that take us to places whose mystique and mysteriousness are visible to the spiritually enlightened.
Among Nicholas Roerich’s indisputable merits was the initiation of Pax Cultura—the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments (The Roerich Pact). This Treaty for the protection of cultural monuments was signed in Washington, in the presence of US President Franklin Roosevelt, on 15 April 1935, by all the member-state plenipotentiaries of the Pan American Union. It envisaged that all sites over which the Banner of Peace was flown—museums, universities, architectural monuments, among others—should be considered as neutral, international territory, and with the protection of cultural heritage both in time of war and in time of peace to be regulated.