An acquisition of Nicolas and Svetoslav Roerichs' paintings
«Lower than the Depths» is one of the twelve paintings that make up a fascinating series «His Country» created by Nicholas Roerich in 1924. The series comprises the following canvases: «White and Heavenly», «She Who Leads», «Higher than the Mountains», «Fire Blossom», «Pearl of Searching», «Star of the Mother of the World», «Book of Wisdom», «Lower than the Depths», «Remember!», «Burning of Darkness», «Treasure of the World - Chintamani», «He Who Hastens».
Drawn in the Himalayan princedomof Sikkim, the paintings portray an unusual and mysterious world that looks more like a fairy tale or a legend than the reality. They reflect the legendary and real life of the Mahatmas - the Great Souls, whose abode used to be in the snowy mountains of Sikkim, in His Country. The artist wrote: «In the very Sikkim was one of the ashrams of the Mahatmas. The Mahatmas rode through Sikkim on mountain horses. Their physical presence confers solemn significance to this place. Of course, the ashram has been moved away from Sikkim. Of course, now the Mahatmas have left Sikkim. But they were here. And the silver tops of the mountain range shine still more beautifully.»
«His Country» dwells on the philosophical ideas of the Mahatmas, one of whom was the Teacher of the Roerichs. It dwells on the labor of the Great Souls for the wellness of the humanity, on the secret paths that lead to them.
…A man is standing at the entrance to a cave lit by a mysterious and bewitching light. Where does the stone pass of the cave lead? To the foot of the sacred range or, perhaps, to Everest, or to the secret canyon, where in the blue light of the night the steep slopes of cliffs rise? Nicholas Roerich wrote: «On the top of Sikkim <…> Lama who looked like a middle age stature, pointed again at the five summits of Kanchenjunga and said: 'The entrance to the sacred land of Shambhala is there. Not many of the chosen even in this life reached that sacred place through the amazing ice caves. All the wisdom, all the glory, all the radiance is collected there…»
The painting «Lower than the Depths» along with many other works of Nicholas Roerich was kept on permanent display in the New York Museum of N. Roerich. In 1935, when Louis Horsch, the closest colleague of Nicholas Roerich, misappropriated the building of the Museum with everything that was inside of it, many of the most valuable paintings were put up for sale by auction. As is known, Helena Roerich asked two of the most well-to-do colleagues to buy in those works that were to make up the core of a reestablished Roerich museum. Catherine Campbell and Baltazar Bolling fulfilled Helena Roerich's request. Catherine Campbell donated the bought in paintings for the future museum. Helena Roerich stopped Mr. Bolling from returning the purchased paintings having explained that in due time they will settle in another place.
After Mr. Bolling's decease, his collection was divided between his relatives and descendants. With assistance of patrons of arts and the community, the most valuable part of the collection got to the Museum of Nicholas Roerich in Moscow. Among the canvases handed over to the museum is «Lower than the Depths», donated this year to the Museum by the Charitable Foundation by name of Helena Roerich.