Nicholas Roerich (1940–1947)
|Born||October 9, 1874
Saint Petersburg, Russia
|Died||December 13, 1947 (aged 73)
|Alma mater||Imperial Academy of Arts,
Saint Petersburg State University
|Occupation||Painter, philosopher, archaeologist, writer, traveler, public figure|
|Children||George de Roerich,
|Parents||K. F. Roerich,
M. V. Kalashnikova
|Awards||Russian orders of Saint Stanislaw, Saint Anne and Saint Vladimir,
Yugoslavian Order of Saint Sabas,
International Centre of the Roerichs
Nicholas Roerich, (October 9, 1874 – December 13, 1947) also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh (alternative transliteration) (Russian: Николай Константинович Рерих), was a Russian painter, philosopher, scientist, writer, traveler, and public figure. He created about 7,000 paintings (many of them are exhibited in well-known museums of the world) and about 30 literary works. Roerich was an author and initiator of an international pact for the protection of artistic and academic institutions and historical sites (Roerich’s Pact) and a founder of an international movement for the defence of culture. Roerich earned several nominations for the Nobel Prize.
Roerich in translation from ancient Scandinavian means “rich of fame” (Rö Rich). Members of Roerich’s family occupied prominent military and administrative posts in Russia since the Peter I times . Nicholas Roerich’s father Konstantin Fedorovich was well-known notary who was born in Courland. N. Roerich’s mother Maria Vasil’evna Kalashnikova was descended from merchant family. Among friends of the Roerich’s family were such famous personalities as D Mendeleyev, N. Kostomarov, M. Mikeshin, L. Ivanovsky et al.
From the childhood Nicholas Roerich was attracted by painting, archaeology, history and abundant cultural heritage of the East.
After finishing the Karl May Gymnasium in 1893, Nicholas Roerich simultaneously entered the Saint-Petersburg University Faculty of Law (he graduated from it in 1898) and the Emperor’s Academy of Arts. From 1895, he studied in the studio of famous Arkhip Kuindgi. At that time, he closely communicated with well-known in those days workers of culture – V. Stassov, I. Repin, N. Rimsky-Korsakov, D. Grigorovich, S. Diaghilev. At the student years Roerich already became a member of Russian archeological society. Ye had conducted numerous excavations in St. Petersburg, Pskov, Novgorod, Tver, Yaroslavl and Smolensk provinces. From 1904, together with prince Putyatin, he recovered several Neolithic sites at Valdai (near Pyros lake). Roerich’s Neolithic findings excited real sensation in Russia and West Europe.
In 1897, Roerich graduated Petersburg Academy of Arts. His graduation painting “The messenger” was purchased by famous collector of Russian art P. M. Tretyakov. V. V. Stassov, well-known critic of that time, highly appreciated this painting: “You certainly must visit Tolstoy … let the great writer of Russian land himself promoted you in painters” . Meeting with Leo Tolstoy determined the way of young Roerich. Leo Tolstoy said him: “Have you an occasion to pass the fast river on boat? It is necessary always to drive upstream of that place where you need or river carries away you. Then in the field of moral requirements one must to drive always higher so the life all the same carries away. Let your messenger keeps the rudder very high then he sailed!”.
Roerich worked much in genre of historical painting. In early period he created the following canvases: “Elders coming together” (1898), “Lamentations of Yaroslav’s daughter” (1893), “Beginning of the Russia. The Slavs” (1896), “Idols” (1901), “Building of boats” et al. N. Roerich’s original talent and pioneer search in the art were manifested in these paintings. “Distinctive Roerich’s style became already clear in the earliest paintings. It consists in Roerich’s broad approach to composition, clarity of lines, laconism, color purity, musicality, great simplicity of expression and truthfulness. His paintings were built on deep knowledge of historical material; they reproduce the feeling of spirit of the times and were rich for philosophical content.
At the age of 24, Nicholas Roerich became an assistant of Director of the Emperor’s Art Encouragement Society Museum and, at the same time, editor assistant of the art magazine “Isskustvo i khudozhestvennaya promishlennost” (“The Art and Art Industry”). Three years later he occupied a position of secretary of Emperor’s Art Encouragement Society.
In 1899, he met Helena Ivanovna Shaposhnikova. On October, 1901 their wedding took place. Helena Ivanovna became true partner in life and inspirer for Nicholas Roerich. They would pass hand in hand throughout their whole lives, supplementing each other creatively and spiritually. In 1902, their son George was born, future scientist-orientalist, and in 1904 – Svetoslav, future painter and public figure.
In 1903 – 1904, N. Roerich together with his wife made a trip around old cities of Russia. They visited more than 40 cities famous for their ancient monuments. The aim of this “trip over the ancient times” was study of the roots of the Russian culture. The trip result was not only a large series of the artist’s paintings (near 90 sketches), but also N. Roerich’s articles, in which he was one of the first to raise the issue of a great artistic value of old Russian icon painting and architecture.
N. Roerich as painter worked in the field of easel, monumental painting (frescoes, mosaics) and also theatrical-decorative one. In 1906, he created 12 sketches for the church in Golubev’s estate Parkhomovka near Kiev, sketches for Pochaev lavra mosaic (1910), 4 sketches for wall paintings of a chapel in Pskov (1913), 12 pictures for Livshiz’s villa in Nice (1914). In 1914, he designed a Holy Spirit church in Talashkino (composition “Heavenly Queen” et al.).
Nicholas Roerich’s multi-faceted talent brightly showed itself in his works for theatre productions: “Snow Maiden”, “Per Gynt”, “Princess Malen”, “Valkyrie” and others. During Sergey Diaghilev’s famous “Russian Seasons”, N. Roerich did the designs for “Polovets Dances” from Borodin’s “Prince Igor”, “Pskovityanka” by Rimsky-Korsakov, and the ballet “Sacred Spring”, better known as Rite of Spring, to Stravinsky’s music.
Epoch of Silver Age where N. Roerich began his creative development was the epoch of spiritual rise and that undoubtedly affects on formation of artist’s person. Galaxy of outstanding thinkers such as V. S. Solovyev, E. N. Trubetskoi, V.V. Rozanov, P. A. Florensky, S. N.Bulgakov, N. A. Berdyayev et al brought in Russian culture a deep philosophical thought and saturated it with intensive search of purport of life and morale ideals. East culture was of special interest for Russian intellectuals. In search of universal values N. Roerich besides of Russian philosophy studied also Eastern philosophy, works of outstanding Indian thinkers Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, works of R. Tagore.
Acquaintance with the Oriental philosophic thought got reflection in N. Roerich’s creative work. While the core subjects of the artist’s earlier paintings were ancient pagan Russia, colorful images of the folk epos (“They Build a City”, “Ominous”, “Guests from overseas”, etc.), starting already from the middle of the 1905, many of his canvases and literary pieces were devoted to India (“Lakshmi”, “Indian path”, “Krishna”, Indian dreams” etc.). Roerich as painter and scientist was interested in ancient cultures of Russia and India and their common origin. A correlation between temporal categories of past, present and future was of great importance for his historical concept. Roerich measured the past and the present by the future: “… when we call for study of the past, then will do it only for the sake of future”. “Let’s put the steps of future from ancient wonderful stones”.
From 1906 to 1918, N. Roerich was a Director of the School of Emperor’s Art Encouragement Society and at the same time he was busy with teaching. From this time the artist was a permanent participant of foreign exhibitions. Paris, Venice, Berlin, Roma, Brussels, Vienna saw his paintings. They were purchased by Roman National Museum, Louvre and other European museums.
From 1906, in Roerich’s creativity begun new more mature period. N. Roerich changed an approach to historical theme. History, mythology, folklore were turned into sources, from which the artist got the material for metaphoric graphic language. Realism and symbolism were combined in his art. In this period, N. Roerich intensified a search in the field of color. He almost abandoned the oil and passed to temper method. He experimented many with paints composition, used a method of superposition of one color on another. Originality of Roerich’s art was mentioned by artistic critique. From 1907 to 1918, nine monographs and several tens of artistic magazines devoted to N. Roerich’s art were published in Russia and Europe. Leonid Andreyev figuratively named a world, created by the artist, as “Roerich’s Empire”.
In 1909, N. Roerich was elected as Academician of Russian Academy of Arts and a member of Rheims Academy in France.
From 1910, he became the head of artistic association “World of Art”, in which were A. Benois, L. Bakst, I. Grabar, V. Serov, K. Petrov-Vodkin, B. Kustodiev, A. Ostroumova-Lebedeva, Z. Serebryakova et al.
“Greatest intuitionist of the century”, according to expression of A.M. Gorky, N. Roerich expressed his forebodings on the eve of the First World War in symbolic images: “Fairest City is the enemies’ vexation”, “The Last Angel”, “Glow”, “Human works” et al. These paintings demonstrate both a theme of struggle between two sides – Light and Darkness, which runs through the whole Roerich’s art, and human’s responsibility for its own destiny and the whole of world. N. Roerich not only created the paintings of anti-war orientation, but also written the articles devoted to protection of peace and culture.
In 1915, N. Roerich made a report to Emperor Nikolai II and Grand Prince Nikolai Nikolayevich (Younger) containing a call to take serious measures for national protection of cultural treasures. In 1916, because of serious illness of lungs, following the doctor’s insistence N. Roerich together with his family moved to the Finland (Serdobol), on the shore of Lake Ladoga. Proximity to St. Petersburg allowed him to take part in the work of School of Emperor’s Art Encouragement Society.
On March 4, 1917, after a month of the February revolution, M. Gorky called in his apartment a group of painters, writers and actors, including N. Roerich, A. Benois, Bilibin, Dobuzhinskii, Petrov-Vodkin, Schuko, Shalyapin. On the meeting they elected a Committee for arts affairs. M. Gorky was elected as a head of this Committee and A. Benois and N. Roerich were elected as assistants of the head. The Committee examined the questions of art development in Russia and protection of old relics and monuments.
After revolution events in 1917 Finland had closed a border with Russia and Roerich with his family turned out isolated from Motherland.
In 1919, having received an invitation from Sweden, N.Roerich traveled with exhibitions around Scandinavian countries, and in autumn of the same year, on Diaghilev’s invitation, he designed Russian operas to the music of M. Mussorgsky and A. Borodin in London.
In 1920, N. Roerich got an invitation from the Director of the Chicago Institute of Arts to organize a big exhibition tour around 30 cities of the USA. Among 115 his paintings the following were exhibited: “Angel’s treasure” (1905), “The last angel” (1912), “Viking’s daughter” (1917), “Call of the sun” (1918), “Ecstasy” (1917), series “Heroism” and “Dreams of the East” et al. The exhibitions were a great success. In America, N. Roerich created the following series: “Sancta”, “New Mexico”, Ocean’s suite”, “Dreams of wisdom” et al.
In America he had found the cultural and enlightener organizations, which became a great cultural centers and consolidated around them many prominent art figures. On November, 1921, the Master Institute of United Arts was opened in New York. It’s main purpose was to bring peoples together through culture and art.
Almost at the same time, artists association “Cor Ardens” (“Blazing Hearts”) was established in Chicago, and in 1922, the International Cultural Center “Corona Mundi” (“Crown of the World”) appeared. On November, 1923, Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York was opened. It contained a rich collection of the artist’s paintings.
Sale of the paintings, fees for theatric performances, publication of numerous articles, gain from activity of American cultural and enlightener organizations gave N. Roerich a possibility to accomplish a scientific expedition in Central Asia. In December 2, 1923, N. Roerich and his family arrived in India, which attracted the attention of N. Roerich not only as a painter, but as a scientist interested in a number of problems related to ancient peoples’ world migrations, and search for a common source of Slavic and Indian cultures. From here a path of the expedition in hard-to-reach areas of Central Asia was began. Later N. Roerich written: “Besides artistic tasks of our expedition we have intended to clarify a situation with relics of the past of Central Asia, to observe modern state of religion, customs, and to register the traces of great migration of peoples. This last task was always close to me”. The expedition’s extremely difficult itinerary ran through Sikkim, Kashmir, Ladakh, China (Sintzian), Russia (including Moscow), Siberia, Altai, Mongolia, Tibet, unstudied areas of Trans Himalayas. The expedition was continued from 1924 to 1928. Having realized Przewalski and Kozlov’s dream, Nicholas Roerich’s expedition became a triumph of Russian studies in Central Asia. In terms of its itinerary uniqueness and collected materials, it can justly claim for a special place among major expeditions of the 20th century.
Archeological and ethnographical investigations in unexplored Asian areas were conducted. For the first time, dozens of new mountain peaks and passes were marked on maps, rarest manuscripts were found, richest linguistic materials and folkloric works were collected, descriptions of local customs were made. Also during the expedition the books “Heart of Asia” and “Altai-Himalayas” were written, about five hundred paintings were created, on which the artist portrayed a beauty panorama of the expedition itinerary, a famous painting series “Himalayas” was began, the series “Maytreya”, “Sikkim’s Path”, “His country”, “The Teaches of the East” et al.
Extensive scientific material, collected by Roerichs during the expedition, required systematization and treatment. After the expedition ended in July 1928, in the Western Himalayas, Kullu Valley, N. Roerich founded the Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati” what means in translation from Sanskrit “Light of the Morning Star”. In this place, Kullu valley, N. Roerich lived the last period of his life. Director of the Institute became George Roerich, elder son of N. Roerich, world-known orientalist. He directed ethnological and linguistic researches and also reconnaissance of archeological monuments. In the institute there were medical, zoological, botanical, biochemical and many other laboratories. Large work was conducted in the field of linguistics and Eastern philology. Rarest written sources of centuries-old remoteness were collected and translated in European languages; half-forgotten dialects were studied. Visiting specialists and acting workers collected botanical and zoological collections.
Tens scientific institutions from Asia, Europe and America collaborated with the Institute “Urusvati”. Scientific materials from Kullu came in University of Michigan, New York’s Botanical Garden, University of Punjab, Paris Museum of natural history, Harvard University in Cambridge, Botanical garden of USSR Academy of Sciences. Famous Soviet botanist and geneticist academician N.I. Vavilov appealed to institute “Urusvati” for scientific information and received from there the seeds for his unique botanical collection. Such famous scientists, as A. Einstein, L. de Broil, R. Milliken, Sven Guedin et al also collaborated with the institute.
In 1934–1935, Nicholas Roerich conducted an expedition in Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and China, organized by US Department of Agriculture. The expedition's purpose was to collect seeds of the plants preventing the destruction of benign layers of soil. In foresight of the threat of ecological disaster, N. Roerich in that year wrote: “Owing to ignorant and uncontrolled felling of forests and vegetation on the whole the deserts are extended up to ominous size. It is terrible to see as deprivation of landscape gardening more and more wipes protective and useful ground surface”. The expedition consisted of two parts. First itinerary included Khingan mountain ridge and Bargin plateau (1934), the second one –Gobi Desert, Ordos and Alashan (1935). These itineraries passed through a territory of Inner Mongolia located in northern and east-northern parts of modern China. As a result of the expedition, nearly 300 species of xerophytes were found, herbs were collected, archeological studies were conducted, and antique manuscripts of great scientific importance were found.
In his philosophic and artistic essays, Roerich created an absolutely new concept of culture based on the ideas of the Living Ethics. Culture, in N. Roerich’s opinion, is closely related to the problems of cosmic evolution of mankind and is “a greatest foundation” for this process. He wrote: “Culture is based on Beauty and Knowledge”. And he repeated well-known Dostoevsky’s phrase with a little remark: “Awareness of Beauty saves the world”. The beauty becomes known to people through Culture only, and its integral part is creation. Books of Living Ethics created at closest participation of Roerichs, also say about this. Helena Ivanovna wrote and Nikolas Konstantinovich represented the ideas of Living Ethics in artistic images.
N. Roerich included in the broad notion of Culture a synthesis of the best achievements of human spirit in the sphere of religious experience, science, art, education. Nicholas Roerich formulated the principal difference between Culture and civilization. While Culture relates to the spiritual world of man in his creative self-expression, civilization is just external arrangement of human life in all its material, civil aspects. Identification of civilization and Culture, Nicholas Roerich argued, leads to confusion between these two notions, to underestimation of the spiritual factor in the development of humanity. “Wealth in itself does not generate Culture. But broadened and subtler thinking and the sense of Beauty produce that subtlety, that nobility of spirit which are distinctive for a cultured person. It is this kind of person that can build the future of light for its country”. Proceeding from this, the mankind must not only develop Culture, but is also obliged to protect it.
In 1929, N. Roerich in collaboration with doctor of international law from Paris University G.G. Chklaver prepared a draft of an agreement dedicated to protection of cultural values (Roerich’s Pact). Coupled with the Pact Roerich proposed a distinctive sign for identification of protected objects – Banner of Peace which was a white cloth containing a red ring and three red circles inscribed in it. The sign symbolized a unity of the past, present and future into the ring of eternity. In 1929, N. Roerich was nominated for Nobel price for his international cultural activity and Pact initiation. Let us cite a following quotation from appeal of committee for nomination of Nobel price candidates:
|“||From 1890, N. Roerich in his books, lectures, studies, paints and many fields, in which his prominent person was manifested, actively explained a doctrine of international brotherhood. His advocacy of peace was accepted in more than 21 countries, and different cultural events, in which professor Roerich was invited to take part, indicated about its acceptance and influence.
Paintings of one of the greatest painters in the history reproduce the great beauty and spiritual light symbolized his doctrine. <…>
We firmly believe that final and stable international peace is achieved only by enlightenment of the people and by permanent and impressive promotion of the brotherhood created by the culture, poetry and beauty in all fields of life. Roerich’s works over a period of last thirty years are the great call to whole world: to love people each other.
In 1930, text of draft agreement with accompanying N. Roerich’s appeal to governments and peoples of all countries was published in press and distributed in government, scientific, artistic and educational institutions of the whole world. As a result, the committees supporting the Pact were established in many countries. The draft pact was approved by Committee for museum affairs at League of Nations and also by Pan-American Union.
The first and second paragraphs of the Pact run as follows:
|“||“The historic Monuments, educational, artistic and scientific Institutions, artistic and scientific Missions, the personnel, the property and collections of such Institutions and Missions above mentioned shall be deemed neutral and, as such, shall be protected and respected by belligerents. <…> The Monuments, Institutions, Collections and Missions thus registered may display a distinctive nag (red circle with a triple red sphere in the circle on a white background) which will entitle them to the special protection and respect on the part of the belligerents, of Governments and Peoples of all the High Contracting Parties.||”|
Roerich’s Pact has large educational value. “A pact for protection of cultural treasures is not only needed as an official body, but as an educational law that, from the very first school days, will educate the young generation with noble ideas of preservation of the whole mankind’s true values”, – wrote N. Roerich.
Idea of the Pact was welcomed by R. Rolland, B. Show, R. Tagore, A. Einstein, T. Mann, H. Wells et al.
The Pact was signed in the White House in Washington, on April 15, 1935 with the participation of US President F. Roosevelt. Originally, the document was ratified by 21 countries of the American continent. Later the Pact was validated by 15 countries more.
Roerich’s Pact became the first international act especially devoted to protection of cultural values. It was unique agreement in this field, which was accepted by a part of international community before second World War.
In a few years after the war, Roerich’s Pact played an important role in forming of international law standards and public activity in the field of protection of cultural heritage. In 1949, on forth session of general UNESCO conference a decision was accepted to begin the work for international law regulation in the field of cultural heritage protection in case of armed conflict.
In 1954, Roerich’s Pact was laid in the basis for the Hague “International Convention for Protection of Cultural Values in the Event of Armed Conflict” , and suggested by N. Roerich special flag, the Banner of Peace, declaring all treasures of culture and art inviolable objects, until today streams above many cultural and educational institutions all over the world. Ideas of the Pact were reflected in N. Roerich’s art. Banner of Peace symbol one can see in many his paintings of thirties. The painting “Madonna Oriflamma” was especially devoted to the Pact.
Being in India, Nicholas Roerich from very first days of Second World War used all opportunities to help Russia. Together with his younger son Svyatoslav Roerich he organized exhibitions and sales of paintings, transferring all gains to the Soviet Red Cross fund and Red Army. He published articles in press; spoke on the radio in support of soviet people.
In those formidable for Russia years, the painter turned again to the subject of native land in his creative work. In that period, he created a whole series of paintings – “Prince Igor campaign”, “Alexander Nevsky”, “Partisans”, “Victory”, “Heroes have awaken” and others, in which used the images of the Russian history, predicting the Russian people’s victory against the fascism.
|“||Everyone who takes up arms against Russian people will feel that on his backbone. It is not a threat but millennial history of the peoples said this. Various wreckers and enslavers have rebounded but Russian people in its vast virgin lands ploughed the new treasures. It is the custom. History keeps the proves for higher justice which many times already says: “Don’t touch that!” .||”|
—N. Roerich “Ne zamai!” (Don’t touch that!), 1940
Roerich’s “Leafs of diary” contains many pages devoted to the war and labour deeds of the Soviet people.
“Great Motherland, all your spiritual
In 1942, before the Stalingrad’s battle, N. Roerich received at his house in Kullu the fighter for India’s independence J. Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi. Together they discussed a fate of new world, in which long-awaited freedom of enslaved peoples will triumph. “We spoke about Indian-Russian cultural association, – N. Roerich wrote, – it is time to think about useful and creative cooperation …”. I. Gandhi remembered about several days stayed together with Roerich’s family: “That was memorable visit to endowed and surprising family where each per se was remarkable figure with well-defined range of interests. N. Roerich himself stays in my memory. He was a man with extensive knowledge and enormous life experience, a man with big heart, penetrated deeply all that he observed”. During the visit “ideas and thoughts about closer cooperation between India and USSR were expressed. Now, after India wins independence, they have got its own real implementation. And as you know, today between our countries there are relations of friendship and mutual understanding”.
When fascist forces occupied extensive Soviet territories, N. Roerich made a request for his workers to serve for mutual understanding between Russia and USA. In 1942, American-Russian cultural Association (ARCA) was created in New York. Its active participants were E. Hemingway, Rockwell Kent, Charley Chaplin, Emil Cooper, S. Koussevitzky, P. Heddas, V. Tereshchenko. Association’s activity was welcomed by world-known scientists R. Milliken and A. Compton.
The Russian painter’s world recognition is confirmed by the fact that more than a hundred institutes, academies, scientific corporations, cultural institutions in the whole world have chosen him their honorary and full member. In India itself, famous Indian philosophers, scientists, writers, public figures were personally acquainted with Nicholas Roerich.
In India Roerich continued to work at “Himalayas” series which includes more than two thousands paintings. Mountain world was a source of inexhaustible inspiration for the painter. Art critics noted a new direction in Roerich’s creativity and called him “Master of mountains”. In India N. Roerich created the following series: “Shambala”, “Chingis-Khan”, “Kuluta”, “Kullu”, “Saint mountains”, “Tibet”, Ashrams” etc. Artist’s exhibitions were held in many Indian cities and attracted many people.
N. Roerich always remained a patriot and a Russian citizen only holding one passport – Russian. He never gave up the thought of coming back to his motherland. Right after the end of the war, the artist applied for a visa to enter the Soviet Union. But on December 13, 1947, he died, without knowing that he was denied the visa.
In Kullu valley, at the place of the funeral fire, a big rectangular stone was installed on which the following inscription was carved:
In 1990, Svetoslav Roerich, younger son of Nicholas and Helena Roerich, implementing the parents will, has transferred to Soviet Roerich’s Foundation (now International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR)) a richest heritage of his family. Due to L. V. Shaposhnikova, noted scientist, writer, academician of Russian Academy of Nature Sciences, and Yu.M. Vorontsov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia, more than 400 paintings, archives, library and Roerich’s family antiquities were imported to motherland. This heritage became a base for public Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich, opened in Moscow. S.N. Roerich has chosen for future museum an ancient mansion of the Lopukhins. On February 12, 1993, first museum exhibition was opened in this building.
In the Museum halls, annual International conferences, dedicated to important issues of culture and science with participation of well-known scientists and public figures from Russia, CIS, Germany, USA, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, Mexico and other countries are held. These conferences devoted to important problems of culture and science. So, in 2005, the Conference was devoted to seventieth anniversary of Roerich’s Pact signing, and in 2008 – eightieth anniversary of Roerich’s Central-Asian Expedition.
Exhibitions of modern painters-cosmists, concerts of classical music, children’s drawing competitions, festivals of ethnic culture, exhibitions of folk crafts and creative function events are organized.
Lectures dedicated to Roerich’s heritage, philosophy, history, culture and pedagogy are conducted by leading specialists from Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Moscow State University and scientific associates of International Centre of the Roerichs. ICR cooperates actively with many cultural, state and public organizations including international ones, organizes traveling exhibitions of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich’s canvases through CIS countries.
Due to its active work, International Centre of the Roerichs as non-governmental organization has received a status of associated member of Public information Department of U.N.O. General Director of Museum by name of N. Roerich is the Honored Worker of Arts of Russian Federation, Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after the K.E. Tsiolkovsky and Russian Ecological Academy, Editor-in-Chief of «Culture and Time» journal, Ludmila Vassilyevna Shaposhnikova.
On June 17, 2008 the International Centre of the Roerichs has concluded a treaty for creative collaboration with an institute of natural science history and techniques named after S.I. Vavilov of Russian Academy of Sciences (INSHT RAS). The treaty provides for cooperation through wide range of problems related to research in the field of Roerich’s study and cosmic thinking. This range includes consultations for seekers of candidate’s and doctor’s degrees, reception for defense of candidate’s and doctor’s dissertations related to Roerich’s study and cosmic thinking on Academic Senate of INSHT.
In opinion of Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences D. S. Likhachev, “N. Roerich was a world-famous devotee of culture”. Recognition of his many-sided cultural activity is confirmed by awards of many governments of the world, and also by titles of honor, given him by scientific, public and cultural institutions, whose founder, protector, president and full member he was.
and many others institutions and societies.
On October 15, 1969 a minor planet of Solar System was discovered by astronomers of Crimea astrophysical observatory Nikolai Stepanovich and Lyudmila Ivanovna Chernikh. This planet was named in honor of Roerichs family. It was numbered 4426.
“Crimea astrophysical observatory, which is participant of international program for observation and research of minor planets, hereby indicates that a minor planet discovered in Crimea astrophysical observatory and numbered 4426 in international catalogue, was named “Roerich” in honor of the family of eminent Russian cultural workers” – was told in discovery certificate.
On October, 1999 N.S Chernikh, in his speak in the Museum named after Roerich devoted to this event of world importance, said: “A number of new minorplanets were named in honor of dear for us names of the great Russian devotees, scientists, writers, artists. Recently, a planet “Roerich” was appeared. Minor planets are as if eternal, not of human making monuments. This planet will be forever named after Roerichs. After a while, it will approaches to the Earth <…>. The name was approved by special committee of International astronomical union, consisting of eleven representatives from various countries. Name is accepted at unanimous opinion only. Appearance of minor planet “Roerich’ is evidence of international recognition of creativity and outstanding achievements of Roerichs”.
On August 15, 1963 in the Independence day of India the alpinists from Tomsk V.Sirkin, G. Shvartsman, A. Ivanov, V. Petrenko, L. Spiridonov, G. Skryabin, V. Slyusarchuk, Yu. Salivon, D. Gusev, S. Lobanov have risen on nameless before mountain peak and have named it by N. Roerich.
First of all we must immediately recall a well-known both in Russia and in India painter Nicholas Roerich. It is wonderful life, it is wonderful creativity, it is wonderful example of spiritual nearness, perhaps, not laying on the surface but nevertheless the spiritual nearness of our peoples.
Russia and India note the importance of preservation and support of an unique artistic and cultural heritage of Roerich’s family, which has permanent significance for Russian-Indian friendship.
– Vladimir Putin, Former President of Russian Federation
When I think about Nicholas Roerich, I am surprised by scope and richness of his activity and creative genius. Great painter, great scientist and writer, archeologist and traveler, he touched and elucidated so many aspects of human desires. Already the number of paintings itself is amazing – thousands of the paintings and each is a great art work. <…> His paintings remind us many things from our life, our thinking, our cultural and spiritual heritage, and we feel that we are indebted to Nicholas Roerich, which reveals this spirit in his beautiful canvases.
– Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of independent India
His remarkable paintings amaze you by richness and subtle feeling of color and, first of all, wonderfully reproduce mysterious greatness of Himalaya’s nature. And he oneself by his appearance and nature it seemed to some extent was filled with a soul of the great mountains. He was not verbose, but he radiated the restrained might, which as if filled with itself all surrounding space. We held in high respect Nicholas Roerich for his wisdom and creative genius. We also highly appreciate he as a connecting link between Soviet Union and India. … I think that paintings of Nicholas Roerich and his stories about India will transfer to soviet people a part of soul of their Indian friends. I also know that N. Roerich and his family in many respects contributed to that India had clearer notion about Soviet country.
– From interview given by Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi to L. V. Shaposhnikova on October, 1975
I am deeply excited by your paintings. Looking at it, I have understood one simple thing which would as if clear but which nevertheless needs to be discovered by me once more and more, namely, that the truth is eternal. Your art is endowed with features of exceptional originality because it is a great art.
– Rabindranath Tagore, well-known Indian writer and philosopher
I admire sincerely by Your art so much that I can say without exaggeration that never have landscapes made such a great impression on me.
– Albert Einstein (Letter to Roerich Museum, 1931)
Rays transparent through Earth atmosphere, horizon became brightly-orange, gradually turned into all rainbow colors: blue, dark blue, purple, black. Unspeakable color range! Like at the canvas of the painter Nicholas Roerich.
– Yury Gagarin, cosmonaut. A record from the log book. April 12, 1961
From July, 16 to August, 1, 2008 the International expedition program was conducted. It was dedicated to 80th anniversary of Central-Asian expedition of Nicholas Roerich. Representatives of cultural community from Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Moscow, Kiev, Tallinn, Kemerovo, Yaroslavl, Velikii Novgorod, Tver, Penza, Kostroma, Prokopievsk, Andgero-Sudgensk, Kokhtla-Yarve, Pervomayskii and other cities took part in this program.
The participants of expedition program studied modern state of geocultural area of Altai. They went by Altai itineraries of Central-Asian expedition of N. Roerich and expedition of academician L.V.Shaposhnikova and conducted the photo fixing of Roerich’s expedition itineraries. During the expedition program two groups of alpinists ascended to the nameless peak which they proposed to call in honor of International Centre-Museum named after N. Roerich.
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Nicholas Roerich [Николай Константинович Рёрих] (9 October 1874 – 13 December 1947), also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh, was a Russian archeologist, painter, poet, and spiritual teacher. He and his wife Helena Roerich were co-founders of the Agni Yoga Society, and began the Pax Cultura initiative, which resulted in an international treaty known as the Roerich Pact.
You who gave the Ashram,
And you who gave two lives,
Builders and warriors, strengthen the steps.
Reader, if you have not grasped — read again,
after a while.
The predestined is not accidental,
The leaves fall in their time.
And winter is but the harbinger of spring.
All is revealed; all is attainable.
I will cover you with My shield, if you but tend to your labors.
I have spoken.