“Zamorsky guests”, Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerich – overview of the painting

“Zamorsky guests”, Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerich – overview of the painting
"Zamorsky guests", Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerich - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Nikolay Konstantinovich Rerich
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1901

Overview of the painting :

Overseas guests – Nikolay Konstantinovich Rerich. 1901. Oil on canvas. 85 x 112.5 cm

   Two years before the creation of this picture, the artist made a journey along the waterway, which ancient Rusich called “from Varangians to Greeks.”. A visit to Veliky Novgorod and its environs amazed the imagination of Rerich and was reflected in a series of paintings dedicated to the legendary stories of this northern region. As a result, a picture was born that displayed semi-fairy, semi-fantastic ideas about the past of Russia.

   The canvas captures a water landscape with a caravan of ladasily decorated. “overseas guests” swim on them – merchants from distant countries carrying various wonders for sale. These are the Viking ships, which were called Varangians in Russia. They were not only fearless and dangerous warriors, but also talented, entrepreneurial merchants. Thanks to the waterways of ancient Novgorod and other cities, they were supported not only with the countries of Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, but also with such distant and exotic states as India and China.

   The picture of Rerich reflected a folk, fabulous idea of how the merchant ships of the rich “guests” – overseas merchants looked. Their rooks are decorated with carved figures, richly and brightly painted, go under beautiful colored sails. But they are not defenseless – their sides are hung with large drop-shaped shields, and inside the rooks there are people, stabbed to the head in strong metal armor.

   The smooth sliding of ships in the water surface is emphasized by the waves scattering from them and the juicy color spots reflected in it from colorful patterns in the rooks. The sea is calm, dark blue, over it there are friendly flocks of large white gulls with spectacular black tips of wings.

   In the long run, a small island is visible, whose outlines are very reminiscent of two volcanoes that are not in the Russian north. Two more rooks are visible on the horizon itself, and it becomes clear that a very large and rich caravan of merchants from distant countries is moving towards the shores. And on the side a mountainous land spread, maybe a large island. At one of the peaks, you can consider a typical city of the early Middle Ages – a landing, several houses fenced with a protective wall.

   In the whole picture, the spirit of fabulous antiquity is felt, as in the illustration of the pastures, a little bulky, very positive and cheerful. This is a poetized and very lyrical image of antiquity, creating the effect of a very stylish and fashionable wall paintings.