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“Procopius the Righteous prays for the unknown floating”, Nicholas Roerich – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Procopius the Righteous prays for the unknown floating – Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. 1914. 70 x 105 cm
Nicholas Roerich – was an amazing phenomenon in Russian history. An artist, philosopher, thinker, writer, ethnographer, orientalist, archaeologist, he was able to do so many important things, starting from the highest human values. Each of his paintings is a whole story expressed in color, texture and symbolic tips. To convey all the important points of his works, from a certain moment, Roerich began to accompany his paintings with literary essays.

The presented work depicts one of the acts of Procopius Ustyuzhsky, namely prayer for travelers who sail on river vessels. Moreover, the author emphasizes that the prayer takes place for those unknown to him floating. Blessed Procopius, the miracle worker from the vast breadth of his soul and heart asks God for the safety and security of strangers. On the territory of Veliky Ustyug legends have been preserved, according to which Prokopiy saved people more than once, foreseeing or taking away trouble from the city. Nicholas Roerich dedicated two paintings to the Saint.

The human figure is inscribed in the composition very harmoniously – the hero of the canvas seems to be part of nature, its natural component. But the most striking thing about this work is her mood. She literally breathes peace and tranquility: from the praying gesture of the Saint to the unhurried flow of the river and the movement of ships.

In an amazing way, the master uses a color palette. Colors delight with brightness, freshness, purity. The Roerich’s river seems to be made of gold, the mountains are surprisingly blue, and the sky is completely represented by a separate universe with living clouds that look like wonderful ships. Roerich operates with large generalized color masses that are inscribed in simple and concise forms.

The composition of the picture is the quintessence of Russian beauty. There is also a full-flowing curving ribbon of the river, endless green forests, meadows with fresh grass, picturesque hills and immense expanse. But above all this rises a man with a rich soul, who is not aware of selfishness and pettiness, but on the contrary, this hero is a fan of others, values ​​and loves his land, is closely connected with the outside world, with the universe.

Roerich is not in vain called one of the most amazing seers – he foresaw the difficult historical period of his homeland: the First World War, the revolution, the domestic war. In captivity of his prophetic thoughts, the artist turns to Russian antiquity, epics, heroes, finding harmony and beauty there."

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