A.A. Merritt and H.P. Lovecraft were frequent visitors of Roerich’s while he was in New York. Although Lovecraft never went to Asia himself, he seems to have traveled vicariously through Roerich.

“Better than the surrealists, though, is good old Nick Roerich, whose joint at Riverside Drive and 103rd Street is one of my shrines in the pest zone. There is something in his handling of perspective and atmosphere which to me suggests other dimensions and alien orders of being—or at least, the gateways leading to such. Those fantastic carven stones in lonely upland deserts—those ominous, almost sentient, lines of jagged pinnacles—and above all, those curious cubical edifices clinging to precipitous slopes and edging upward to forbidden needle-like peaks!”—H.P. Lovecraft in a letter to James F. Morton

It would seem that Roerich’s work directly influenced the writing of H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”:

“...Through the desolate summits swept ranging, intermittent gusts of the terrible antarctic wind; whose cadences sometimes held vague suggestions of a wild and half-sentient musical piping, with notes extending over a wide range, and which for some subconscious mnemonic reason seemed to me disquieting and even dimly terrible. Something about the scene reminded me of the strange and disturbing Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich, and of the still stranger and more disturbing descriptions of the evilly fabled plateau of Leng which occur in the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred...”

“...It was young Danforth who drew our notice to the curious regularities of the higher mountain skyline - regularities like clinging fragments of perfect cubes, which Lake had mentioned in his messages, and which indeed justified his comparison with the dreamlike suggestions of primordial temple ruins, on cloudy Asian mountaintops so subtly and strangely painted by Roerich. There was indeed something hauntingly Roerich-like about this whole unearthly continent of mountainous mystery...”


Nicholas Roerich was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia to the family of a well-to-do notary public, he lived around the world until his death in Punjab. Trained as an artist and a lawyer, his interests lay in literature, philosophy, archaeology and especially art. In 1929 Nicholas Roerich was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the University of Paris. He received two more nominations in 1932 and 1935. Today, the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City is a major center for Roerich’s artistic work. Numerous Roerich societies continue to promote his theosophical teachings worldwide.

Other works by Nicholas Roerich