Nicholas Roerich – known also as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh – was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, 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, to a well-to-do notary public Baltic German father and a Russian mother, Roerich 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 was nominated several times to the longlist for the Nobel Peace Prize. The so-called Roerich Pact was signed into law by the United States and most nations of the Pan-American Union in April 1935.