Nicholas Roerich was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, philosopher, and public figure. In his youth he was influenced by Russian Symbolism, a movement in Russian society centered on the spiritual. He was interested in hypnosis and other spiritual practices and his paintings are said to have hypnotic expression. 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 was nominated several times to the longlist for the Nobel Peace Prize. The so-called Roerich Pact (for the protection of cultural objects) was signed into law by the United States and most other nations of the Pan-American Union in April 1935.