In 1924, Nicholas Roerich set out on a five-year expedition loaded with all his painting supplies, travelling to Tibet, Sikkim, Kashmir, parts of China, Mongolia, and the Gobi desert. Roerich had embarked on an artistic and spiritual journey in search of the essential meaning of life. He had to face raging storms and adverse terrains coupled with hostile local authorities. At one point, the expedition was thought to be lost, and all communication with them ceased for a year. This was because they had been attacked and were engaged in gunfights with Tibetan authorities. They were captured and forced to live in tents for five months in sub-zero weather. Five of them died before the rest were finally released. Roerich actually made two expeditions into the Himalayas (1924-28, 1930-31) and even established a research institute there. When he finally died, he left behind over 7000 paintings.
Nicholas Roerich received three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he founded Pax Cultura, an organization that promotes the international preservation of art and culture. The Nicholas Roerich Musuem in New York City is a major center for Roerich’s artistic work, and many of his paintings can be found in museums around the world.