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Nicholas Roerich Monhigan

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Starting from $149

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Oil on a premium cotton canvas. This Nicholas Roerich painting combines a few layers which are painted over with thin and thick brushes.

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Starting from $149

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Nicholas Roerich, Monhegan

There is hardly a figure among Russian landscapists of the early 20th century more prominent than Nicholas Roerich. An influential public persona, avid traveller and archeologist, artist, writer and spiritual searcher, he injected a good deal of innovative ideas into Russian culture of the time. We are most interested in his experiments with a brush rather than esoteric concepts, though. What differs Roerich’s landscapes from the works of his colleagues is that they are rather contemplative than spectacular. Instead of achieving photographic realism and painting ‘things only a blind won’t see,’ he believed that it’s more important to be capable of ‘noticing a mood in nature and capturing it.’ And we definitely can’t deny him this rare talent.

Fateful trip

In the summer of 1922, the Roerich family was spending a vacation on Monhegan. Here the artist created a whole series of landscapes striving to embody the severe and noble beauty of the rocky island. The series went down in history under the name  ‘The Ocean.’ Roerich worked at different times of the day aiming to portray the unique nature of Monhegan in various lighting. But there is one thing his canvases have in common: they are all soaked with the aura of peace, and a peculiar, meditative mood that seizes you when you look at these ancient rocks and even more ancient waves. This is just one of the many scenes so vividly captured by the artist.

A look inside and beyond

-    The palette is obviously distorted and the shapes are flattened. We clearly understand that this panorama looks different in real life. But, again, making a copy of the actual view wasn’t Roerich’s top priority. Instead, he singled out the most vital aspects of the landscape and accentuated them bringing out its character.

-    The canvas coats the eye in lukewarm hues. The setting sun softly illuminates the shore casting enigmatic violet shadows on distant rocks. The sky is full-weight orange gradually scaling down into hazy pink. The colors are rather vibrant, but muted. There is an ethereal pinkish glow lying on everything, like a seal of some unspoken existential flutter that, for an instant, reconnects you with eternity.

-    The composition is intentionally simplified. There are no details, except for lonely tufts of vegetation sticking out here and there. Otherwise it’s an assembly of monobloc planes glued into one perspective by careful shading: the undulating sandy coastline in the foreground, the solid mass of the rock further away and the flat mountain range on the horizon. The sky and water, too, are completely flat, without any clouds or waves. The artist wants us to stay into the scene, without getting distracted by any irrelevancies.


Can you feel a stir inside when you look at this picture? Then you’ll be glad to find out that you can buy its professionally painted replica on DocoArt! ‘Monhegan’ by Nicholas Roerich, reproduced by one of our artists inch by inch, will make a decent decoration for any house, and the painting cost is rather affordable even for budget-conscious customers. See if you can tell it from the original!