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“Confucius the Fair”, Nicholas Roerich – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Confucius the Just – Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. 1925. Tempera on canvas. 73.8 x 116.9
The East of Nicholas Roerich captivated. Here he was looking for harmony, culture, which, in the understanding of the artist, appeared as a certain combination of the most valuable knowledge and achievements of mankind. A trip to the East for a long time was an unattainable dream, and only while living in the USA, Roerich could find like-minded people to implement an unprecedented company. Roerich’s route passed through India, the Himalayas, China, Mongolia, the Tibetan Plateau, and was recognized as a human and scientific feat. Later this enterprise was included in the Golden Fund of geographical discoveries of the planet.

In the East, Roerich got acquainted with the amazing history of these parts, as well as with their great characters, whose images complemented his cycle under the conditional name "Heroes of the spirit". Confucius was just such a hero. Picture "Confucius the Fair" entered a series of works "Banners of the East". It should be noted that Roerich cannot be blamed for not patriotism – a great many of his paintings are dedicated to Russian epic heroes. However, in his attitude to personalities, the author did not tolerate any state or natural limits – he sincerely admired those who deserved admiration.

Confucius in the picture is not a wise Teacher, in whose eyes a secret is hidden, but a person suffering persecution. He travels in his small arba, humbly accepting his fate, however difficult it was. In the morning fog, a chariot slowly rolls along a mountain road. The noble husband looks at the world calmly – neither fears nor cares are known to him. Once he wanted to convey the Command of Heaven to the rulers so that his people would become happy, but no one understood the high aspirations of the Master. On the wagon itself, you can see two hieroglyphs that indicate the wishes of the Good.

The master’s technique speaks of the desire for simplicity – clear lines, simple shapes, intense, clear colors. Mystery is brought only by the image of fog in the middle plane, from which an uneven rocky rock peeps out. The sky, as usual, the artist has a lively, dynamic, written in dense color.

Roerich himself can also be compared with Confucius, as a wanderer in exile. Being a traveler and an ethnographer, curious about everything, Nicholas Roerich wholeheartedly strove for his homeland, where after the revolution he could not find a place. When dying, the artist bequeathed to his son that he would transfer all the accumulated materials to Russia, and this was a real feat for the descendant – the Motherland did not want to hear about her outstanding husband. Today, Roerich is recognized throughout the world as an amazing person who has left his mark on the fine arts, geography, philosophy, religious studies, archeology, oriental studies and many other sciences."

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