Nicholas Roerich – known also as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh – was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, perceived by some in Russia as an enlightener, philosopher, and public figure, who in his youth was influenced by a movement in Russian society around the spiritual. He was interested in hypnosis and other spiritual practices and his paintings are said to have hypnotic expression.
Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a well-to-do notary public father of Baltic German ancestry and a Russian mother, he lived in various places around the world until his death in Naggar, Himachal Pradesh, India. Trained as an artist and a lawyer, his main interests were literature, philosophy, archaeology, and especially art. Roerich was a dedicated activist for the cause of preserving art and architecture during times of war. He earned several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize long list. The so-called Roerich Pact was signed into law by the United States and most nations of the Pan-American Union in April 1935.