Overseas guests - Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. 85 x 112.5 cm
Two years before the creation of this picture, the artist traveled along the waterway, which the ancient Rusich called "from the Vikings to the Greeks." A visit to Veliky Novgorod and its environs struck Roerich’s imagination and was reflected in a series of paintings devoted to the legendary stories of this northern region. As a result, a picture was born in which half-handed, semi-fantastic ideas about the past of Russia were displayed.
The canvas depicts a water landscape with a caravan of lavishly decorated rooks. They are floating "overseas guests" - merchants from distant countries, bringing for sale various wonders. These are Viking ships, which in Russia were called Vikings. They were not only fearless and dangerous warriors, but also talented, enterprising merchants. Thanks to the waterways, the connections of ancient Novgorod and other cities were maintained not only with the countries of Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, but also with such distant and exotic states as India and China.
Roerich’s painting reflected a folk, fabulous view of how merchant ships of wealthy “guests” - overseas merchants - looked. Their boats 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 teardrop-shaped shields, and inside the rooks are people sitting, head to toe in strong metal armor.
The smooth gliding of the ships along the water surface is emphasized by the waves scattering from them and the juicy color spots reflected in it from the colorful patterns on the boats. The sea is calm, dark blue, swarms of large white seagulls with spectacular black tips of wings are welcomingly circling above it.
In the background, a small island is visible, whose outlines strongly resemble two volcanoes that are not in the Russian north. Two more rooks can be seen on the horizon, and it becomes clear that a very large and rich caravan of merchants from distant countries is moving to the shores. And on the side stretched mountainous land, maybe a large island. At one of the peaks you can see a typical city of the early Middle Ages - Posad, several houses fenced by a protective wall.
Throughout the picture, the spirit of fairy-tale antiquity is felt, as in the illustration to the epics, a little popular, very positive and cheerful. This is a poetic and very lyrical depiction of antiquity, creating the effect of a very stylish and fashionable wall painting.