The Artist who loved India's Soul
April 29, 2012 2:09 AM   Subscribe

Svetoslav Roerich (work down the galleries on the left) was described in a tribute on his 100th birthday as The Artist who loved India's Soul.
Like his father Nicholas (previously); he was a painter and philosopher. The family foundation page has more on this extraordinary family. In 1954 Svetoslav married the widow Devika Rani who with her first husband Himansu Rai had made India's first English language talking movie which became a cause célèbre for India's first (and longest) onscreen kiss.
posted by adamvasco (8 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Oh my, thanks adamvasco - the Roerich farm was near Bangalore and occasionally would show up in the papers.

Devika Rani deserves an FPP in her own right.
posted by infini at 3:08 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

A wonderful post adamvasco and a topic after my own heart. Incredible to see a bit of the first English language talking movie and first on screen kiss! And such a lovely kiss it was! Just wow, the things one sees and learns here.

Personal anecdote: In 1978 I'd lived for 2 years in Himachal Pradesh, India and knew nothing about any of the Roerichs, except that I'd studied the Tibetan language, using the Textbook of Colloquial Tibetan by G. N. Roerich and Lobsang Lhalungpa (a great scholar tragically killed recently by a drunk hit and run driver leaving a K Mart parking lot).

A friend suggested going up to the Roerich house, just a few miles from where I was then living in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. So, on a lovely Spring day, I went up to Naggar, a tiny Medieval village, where Nicholas Roerich had built a house in the local Kathkuni architecture style.

I was not in any way prepared for the wonders inside the Roerich place, his extraordinary painting, the story of his unusual life and his tremendously accomplished family and from that moment on, basically fell in love with Nicholas Roerich's paintings.

Until your post I knew very little about Svetoslav Roerich or Devika Rani. Oh! Am just soaking up the beauty of his paintings! A wonderful way to spend this peaceful Sunday. Apple trees around Naggar actually do look like this in April. Svetoslav seems to combine a number of styles in his art, something of the local Himachali painting style with romantic Russian style of the 30's and his own, more reds than his father's love of blue. Just love his paintings! One of my favorites: Nagar, Kulu.

*sighs of joy. Thank you.
posted by nickyskye at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

This man is one of my cousins!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

This man is one of my cousins!

Go on!
posted by vidur at 1:22 PM on April 29, 2012

adamvasco, thanks to your post and a result of writing the comment above, I found a long lost friend (widow of Lobsang Lhalungpa) and called her up. We just a great hour long conversation.
posted by nickyskye at 1:50 PM on April 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

No seriously, he is. I will MeMail you!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2012

Thanks for the post, adamvasco. I've long been a casual fan of Nicholas Roerich's life & work, but apparently not enough of a fan to realise he had such an accomplished son.

On the topic of Roerich Snr, Altai-Himalaya is a great 4 year travel diary about traipsing around remote parts of the Himalaya on yak & camel in the 1920s, and I see there's another one: Heart of Asia: Memoirs from the Himalayas.

For a little more on Nicholas & Svetoslav, here's PAINTINGS OF NICHOLAS AND SVETOSLAV ROERICH IN LATVIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART which is fully deserving of its all caps title, courtesy of the Latvian Roerich Society (nice family photo in a typical Kullu landscape there).
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:30 PM on April 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

No seriously, he is. I will MeMail you!

We'd all like to hear please?
posted by infini at 11:16 PM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

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