Description of the picture:
Drops of life – Nicholas Roerich. 1924. Tempera on canvas. 74.0 x 117.5 cm
Like all other works of Roerich, this picture is deeply metaphorical. It carries an underlying meaning and has a deep philosophical interpretation. Behind a seemingly simple everyday scene hides the artist’s feelings that he experienced in relation to all living things. The canvas reflects his philosophy, understanding of the mystery of life, the desire to know which led him to India, to the Himalayas.
The main area of the painting is the image of mountains. It is presented in such a way that the viewer looks at them from a considerable height. This gives the canvas a perspective and fills it with vast space, air. The mountains are snowy, covered with ice. In cold light, they shimmer with all shades of blue, blue and lavender. The image of the mountains makes the picture large-scale, even monumental.
Meanwhile, that part, which is the main plot of the canvas, occupies the very edge, the lower corner of the picture. Despite the simplicity of the artistic method, this fragment is filled with the deepest meaning.
In contrast to the main part of the canvas, made in cold colors, in this fragment the master used more saturated, “dense” and expressive shades. The image is dominated by black and yellow (gold) color, which gives rich reflexes and turns “deaf” and “flat” black into a warmer and more vibrant color. If you look closely at the picture, you can see a very modest addition of a dark green, emerald shade, which diversifies the color scheme and enhances the contrast with the main image of the mountains.
This expressive element of the picture is a steep ledge of a mountain with a source of life on it. The artist makes it clear that people are familiar with the miraculous power of water, because it flows down a man-made wooden groove. On the ledge sits a young woman dressed in bright yellow clothes. Behind her is a large clay jug into which magical moisture flows. The woman thought deeply, while the drops of wisdom, knowledge and life itself gradually fill the vessel of being.
You can interpret the meaning of the picture in different ways, but most researchers agree that the water here symbolizes the most valuable thing for human life, and the vessel in all religions served as a symbol of man: what you can fill it with, you will get such a person. The purest, unclouded mountain source is the opportunity to obtain the most intimate and important knowledge that can fundamentally change human existence."