Nicholas Roerich was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, perceived by some in Russia as an enlightener, philosopher, and public figure, who in his youth was influenced by a movement in Russian society around the occult. He was interested in hypnosis and other spiritual practices as well as his paintings are said to have hypnotic expression.
Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia to the family of a well-to-do notary public, he 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 earned several nominations 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 during April 1935.