Many of the early works of Nicholas Roerich were devoted to the theme “Ancient Russia. Slavs”. In these paintings, the artist managed to lift the veil of time, moving the viewer many centuries ago – to the land of distant ancestors.
Often the plots were drawn from legends, legends and apocrypha. Roerich was always interested in the essence of the eternal questions of the universe. Symbolic and cosmogonic beginning was expressed in the work of the artist very early. Already in the works of the early 1900s, he created a spiritually tense, multi-valued image of the ideally beautiful Slavic
The Pigeon Book deals with the origin of the world. The meaning of the legend is philosophical, with later versions of Christian mythology. There are preserved echoes of the deepest times, reaching the source of the common for both the Indian Vedas and Russian folklore. It is not for nothing that the treasured book about which the narrators sang is called “pigeon”, that is, “deep”, which means both “ancient” and “wise”. According to legend, the Holy Book fell to the ground from a thundercloud. She was “neither small nor great: the valleys of the magpie book sazhen, the cross-pieces of twenty sazhen”. Hundreds of Christians from kings and princes to the common people came to look at the book, but no one dares to touch it.
Only the wisest King David Yevseyevich, approached her. She opened, revealing to him the word of God. Then Prince Volodymyr Volodymyrovich approached the book and asked King David to read and explain the acts of God in order to understand how he created the earth, the beautiful sun, the moon, the stars, and so on. But the wise king replied that he could not read the Holy Book, because it is too large. He cannot hold it in his hands or put it on a lectern, but he can recite the word of God by heart: “The earth began to be according to God’s will; The beautiful sun is the face of our Lord Jesus Christ; the moon is His chest, and the numerous stars are His Divine attire. . ” The episode in the picture is presented as the legend tells about him.
A dark thundercloud hung over the medieval Russian city, in front of the cathedral lies a huge open book. Near it stands the gray-bearded king, and conveys the wisdom of her “Orthodox people”, gathered around the great Book. “And the pigeon’s book fell from the sky. And the treasure came from above. And they didn’t immediately find the wise man to read the book. And various nations remember these brought evances…”