‘Alle montagne della follia’

Testi di H.P.Lovecraft
“At the mountains of madness”
(www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/mm)

Dipinti di Nikolaj Roerich
(www.roerich.org)

– – –

Roerich Snowy Ascent

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 dream-like suggestions of primordial temple-ruins on cloudy Asian mountain-tops so subtly and strangely painted by Roerich. There was indeed something hauntingly Roerich-like about this whole unearthly continent of mountainous mystery.

Roerich Everest Range

Roerich Lake of the Nagas. Kashmir

The sky above was a churning and opalescent mass of tenuous ice-vapours, and the cold clutched at our vitals. Wearily resting the outfit-bags to which we had instinctively clung throughout our desperate flight, we rebuttoned our heavy garments for the stumbling climb down the mound and the walk through the aeon-old stone maze to the foothills where our aëroplane waited. Of what had set us fleeing from the darkness of earth’s secret and archaic gulfs we said nothing at all.

Roerich Mountain Pass. Storm

Roerich Suget Pass

Something about the scene reminded me of the strange and disturbing Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich…

Roerich Three Glaives. Images on Rock. Lahul

Roerich Tibet. Himalayas

Great low square blocks with exactly vertical sides, and rectangular lines of low vertical ramparts, like the old Asian castles clinging to steep mountains in Roerich’s paintings.

Roerich tibetan fortress

Roerich western himalayas

Alcuni bozzetti e disegni:

Roerich Sketch of island

Roerich Sketch of landscape

As we drew near the forbidding peaks, dark and sinister above the line of crevasse-riven snow and interstitial glaciers, we noticed more and more the curiously regular formations clinging to the slopes; and thought again of the strange Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich.

Roerich Composition sketch for “The Dead City” (1918)

Roerich Sketch for “White Stone”

On some of the peaks, though, the regular cube and rampart formations were bolder and plainer; having doubly fantastic similitudes to Roerich-painted Asian hill ruins. The distribution of cryptical cave-mouths on the black snow-denuded summits seemed roughly even as far as the range could be traced.

Roerich Composition sketch for “The Most Sacred”

Yet long before we had passed the great star-shaped ruin and reached our plane our fears had become transferred to the lesser but vast enough range whose re-crossing lay ahead of us. From these foothills the black, ruin-crusted slopes reared up starkly and hideously against the east, again reminding us of those strange Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich; and when we thought of the damnable honeycombs inside them, and of the frightful amorphous entities that might have pushed their foetidly squirming way even to the topmost hollow pinnacles, we could not face without panic the prospect of again sailing by those suggestive skyward cave-mouths where the wind made sounds like an evil musical piping over a wide range.

Roerich Composition sketch for “Ecstasy” (1933)

For we had, of course, decided to keep straight on toward the dead city; since the consequences of loss in those unknown foothill honeycombings would be unthinkable.

Roerich “The Dead City”

The Dead City
1918
Oil on panel

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