“Mother of the World”, Roerich – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Mother of the World – Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. Tempera on canvas. 117.1 x 88.6 cm.
For Nicholas Roerich and his wife Elena Ivanovna, the 20s of the 20th century became a period of Central Asian pilgrimages. The artist continued to combine the culture of Hinduism, shamanism and Buddhism with traditional Orthodox motifs in his philosophical works and fine arts. The theme of the eastern sages and the cosmic importance of female energy prompted him in 1924 to create the work “Mother of the World” from the cycle “Banners of the East”.

It will be incorrect to name the picture in the singular, because there are two versions of “Mother”. Both options are very similar to each other – they have one motive and a single color scheme. Both versions were originally located in New York, but the first option was later purchased for the Roerich Moscow Museum. Among the visual differences, we can say that the first is more restrained, while the second contains more decorative elements. Also, the master applied more artistic techniques in him, which allowed him to depict the play of light.

“Mother of the World”, Roerich“Mother of the World”, Roerich
The master used his favorite palette: purple, aquamarine and gold. The female figure is made in an interesting style. In it you can catch something from the Virgin from Orthodox icons, Madonna from the Renaissance and Asian goddesses. Probably, this Roerich wanted to pay tribute to our ancestors that for thousands of years they have been honoring the cult of the mother goddess. This superwoman is seated on a throne that is located on an island surrounded by a river of life, which seems to glow from the life-giving force. In the foreground of the canvas, a barely noticeable element is depicted, either a cross, or the Vedic symbol of Ak-Dorje. Around the diamond halo you can see small figures of “teachers of the east.” The attractiveness of the image of the mistress complements the fact that her face is hidden, allowing you to fantasize over her divine appearance."

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