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“Victorious Buddha”, Roerich – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

The victorious Buddha is Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. 1925. Tempera on canvas. 118 x 74 cm
Although the picture seems to be written in only two colors – yellow and blue, it literally blazes with light and color. On it, the Buddha is imprinted in a state of deep immersion in himself, in a cave where he indulged in meditation, leaving the world.

The whole cave seems to be filled with warm, golden light coming from the figure of the Buddha and literally filling the whole huge room. This radiance as if charges numerous stalactites and stalagmites, and they shimmer with all shades of yellow. And the numerous blue tones of the shadows make the canvas voluminous and very expressive.

Buddha sits in a lotus position and is surrounded by a golden radiance on all sides. Thanks to this, it seems that he is floating in the air. Before him is a deep blue underground lake. In its dark waters are reflected golden sparks of light emanating from Buddha. The waters are still, but the image in them does not seem mirrored, it blurred, as if reflecting not reality, but what the Buddha at that moment sees with his inner eye.

When the artist uses only two primary colors, the picture looks very voluminous, and with an absolutely static image on the canvas there is dynamics. This is caused by the use of the circular arrangement of stalactites and stalagmites. They give the necessary dynamics, make the image much more expressive and effective.

The effect of circular motion is emphasized by the addition of stalagmites of various sizes hanging from the ceiling of the cave. They not only add volume to the canvas, but also visually close the space, create a sense of chamberness, emphasize that the Buddha is in a cave – an underground closed cavity.

The very name of the picture indicates the true essence of its image. Buddha is the winner, who managed to achieve nirvana and get rid of the endless wheel of Samsara – a chain of reincarnations. Buddha set the goal of his sermon to achieve this very goal, to get rid of the suffering that only accumulates with each person’s reincarnation. Religious sources claimed that for his sins in a previous life, a person can transform into an animal, an insect, and even become a stone. It only intensifies suffering. And the achievement of nirvana eliminates the mortality of existence and turns a person into a highly spiritual ethereal being. It is this moment that is captured in the picture. Its golden radiance inspires unearthly calm and unwavering confidence in the possibility of achieving nirvana."

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