Nicholas Roerich painted this picture in 1901. The inspiration for the painting was a sea voyage, which the artist took two years earlier to Novgorod. During the trip, the weather was surprisingly good, and the artist thought for a moment that once our ancestors, the Rusichs, also sailed in the same way.
The draft picture was for a long time in the idea and only in 1901 he presented it to the public. Emperor Nicholas II liked this picture so much that the emperor expressed a desire to purchase this painting.
As the main material, the artist used paints for folk painting. With their help, Nicholas Roerich painted a boat, a river and a red sail, symbolizing belonging to the Rus. While a new movement - modernism - was just beginning to spread, the artist skillfully reunited the traditions of modernity and the aesthetics of the past better.
Roerich managed to achieve the maximum simplicity of the image, thereby conveying the entire depth of his plan - to show contemporaries in what conditions our ancestors sailed along the rivers and which ships were used for this. The artist demonstrated a subtle combination of all the details in the picture “Overseas Guests”, without missing even the most inconspicuous elements - clasps for cloaks.
Historians noted that the picture dates back to the heyday of Kievan Rus, when not only Russians, but also Normans and Polovtsians, sailed along the route “from the Vikings from the Greeks”. It is noticeable in the picture that the Russians used the dragons of the northern peoples (they are easily distinguished in front with a stylized mythical dragon).
Thus, the plot of the picture refers to the X-XI century. It depicts two ships sailing in good weather towards Novgorod. The picture is drawn in a very simple style and it seems that the time in that era was quiet and beautiful, like the weather on a dark blue river.
Pavel Andreevich Fedotov Fresh Cavalier