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Nicholas Roerich, (October 9, 1874 - December 13, 1947) also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh (alternative transliteration) ( ), was a Russianmarker 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.


Early life

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. 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. Petersburgmarker, Pskovmarker, Novgorodmarker, Tvermarker, Yaroslavlmarker 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 L. 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!”.

Words of St. John of Kronstadt who often visited the house of Roerich’s family also became spiritual wishes for N. Roerich: “Don’t be ailing! You will work much for the Motherland”.

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 S. Diaghilev’s famous “Russian Seasons”, designed by N. Roerich productions “Polovets Dances” from Borodin’s “Prince Igor”, “Pskovityanka” by Rimsky-Korsakov, ballet “Sacred Spring” to Stravinsky’s music, were shown.

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.

Cultural and enlightener activities in Europe and America

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Song of Shambhala.
Thang La. 1943
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.

Central-Asian Expedition

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.

Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati”

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.

Manchurian expedition

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.

Roerich’s Pact and Banner of Peace

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:

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:

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 UNESCOmarker 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.

Second World War. Service to Russia

Being in India, Nicholas Roerich from very first days of Second World War used all opportunities to help Russia. Together with his younger son Svetoslav 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.

Roerich’s “Leafs of diary” contains many pages devoted to the war and labour deeds of the Soviet people.

Defense of the Motherland
“Great Motherland, all your spiritualtreasures, all your inexpressible beauties,all your inexhaustibility in all spacesand peaks we will defend.One cannot find so hard heart to say:don’t think about Motherland! <…></…>Through all and overall we findconstructive thoughts which are notin human measures, not in identity, but intrue self-consciousness will say to theworld: we know our Motherland, we serveto it and give all our strength to defenseit in all its ways”.

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.

Last years

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:

“Here, on December 15, 1947, the body of Maharishi Nicholas Roerich – a great Russian friend of India – was committed to fire.

Let there be peace”.

Roerich’s precept

International Centre of the Roerichs

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.

World recognition

In opinion of Academician of Russian Academy of Sciencesmarker 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.


  • Holder of Russian orders of Saint Stanislaw, Saint Anne and Saint Vladimir
  • Holder of a Yugoslavian Order of Saint Sabas
  • Holder of an Order of Honorary France Legion
  • Holder of King’s Sweden Order of Northern Star.

List of institutions in which N. Roerich was a member

  1. Full member of Russian Academy of Arts.
  2. Founder of Institute of United Arts in New York, USA.
  3. Founder of International Cultural Centre “Corona Mundi”, USA.
  4. Honorary director of Museum named after N. Roerich in New York and its branches in Europe, America and Eastern countries.
  5. Full Member of Yugoslavian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb.
  6. Full member of Portuguese Academy, Coimbra.
  7. Full member of Reims Academy, France.
  8. Full member of International institute of science and literature, Bologna, Italy.
  9. Honorary member of Committee on Culture, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  10. Vice-President of Mark Twain Society, USA.
  11. Vice-President of American Institute of archeology, USA.
  12. Honorary member of Enlightener Society of Varanasi, India.
  13. Honorary member of More Society, France.
  14. Member of Red Cross, France.
  15. Member of Society for antiquities study, France.
  16. Lifelong member of Federation of French painters, France.
  17. Member of Autumnal salon, Paris.
  18. Lifelong member of antiquarian society, Paris.
  19. Honorary president of International Union for Roerich’s Pact support, Bruges.
  20. Honorary protector of Historical Society at Academy, Paris.
  21. Honorary President of Roerich Society in France, Paris.
  22. Member-Founder of Ethnographical Society, Paris.
  23. Honorary President of Academy named after Roerich, New York.
  24. Honorary President of Society for cultural progress “Flamma”, Indiana State, USA.
  25. Honorary President of Roerich Society in Philadelphia, USA.
  26. Honorary Member of Society for historical sites protection, New York.
  27. Honorary President of Latvian Roerich Society, Riga.
  28. Honorary President of Roerich Societies in Lithuania, Yugoslavia, China.
  29. Honorary member of Institute named after S. Ch. Bos, Calcutta.
  30. Member of J. Bose Institute, India.
  31. Member of Nagati Prachari Sabkha, India.
  32. Lifelong member of King’s Asian Society in Bengali, Calcutta.
  33. Lifelong member of Society “Art of the East”, Calcutta.
  34. Honorary President and doctor of literature of International institute for Buddhism study in San Francisco, California. [International Buddhism Institute, USA).
  35. Honorary member of Russian Museum of history and culture, Prague, Czechoslovakia.
  36. Honorary member of Luzas Society, Paris.
  37. Honorary member of League for Art Defense, Paris.
  38. Protector of Cultural Society, Amritsara, India.
  39. Member-benefactor of Association for international research, Paris.
  40. Honorary member of Field Association, S.-Luis, USA.
  41. Honorary member of Braurveda Society, Java.
  42. Honorary member of National Association of Natural Medicine in America, Los-Angeles, USA.
  43. Honorary President of Centre of Arts and Culture, Allahabad, India.
  44. President of League of Culture, USA.
  45. Honorary President of American-Russian cultural Association in New York, USA.
  46. Vice-President of American Institute of Archeology, USA.

and many others institutions and societies.

Minor planet “Roerich”

Minor planet 4426 Roerich in Solar System

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”.</…>

Peak named after N. Roerich at Altai

On August 15, 1963 in the Independence day of Indiamarker 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.

Famous people about N. Roerich

Main works of N. Roerich

  1. The art and archeology // Art and artistic industry. S. Petersburg, 1898. No 3; 1899, No 4-5. (in Russian)
  2. Some antiquities of Shelon’s region and Bezhets area. S. Petersburg, 1899. (in Russian)
  3. Stone age on the Pyros Lake. S. Petersburg, 1905. (in Russian)
  4. Collected works. Volume 1. Moscow, 1914. (in Russian)
  5. Paths of blessing. New York, 1924.
  6. Heart of Asia. Southbury, 1929.
  7. Realm of Light. Southbury, 1931.
  8. Fiery Stronghold. New York, 1933
  9. The Banner of Peace. Harbin, 1934.
  10. Sacred Patrol. Harbin, 1934.
  11. Gates into the Future. Riga, 1936. (in Russian)
  12. Nerushimoe. Riga, 1936. (in Russian)
  13. Altai - Himalayas. Travel diary. Moscow, 1974. (in Russian)
  14. From the literary heritage. Moscow, 1974. (in Russian)
  15. The flowers of Moria. Poems. Moscow, 1984. (in Russian)
  16. The tales. Leningrad, 1991. (in Russian)
  17. Abode of light. Moscow, 1992. (in Russian)
  18. Let protect antiquities. Moscow, 1993. (in Russian)
  19. Ancient sources. Moscow, 1993. (in Russian)
  20. Painters of life. (in Russian)
  21. To young friend. (in Russian)
  22. Urusvati. (in Russian)
  23. East – West. (in Russian)
  24. Culture and Civilization. (in Russian)
  25. About the Great Patriotic War. (in Russian)
  26. Shambala. (in Russian)
  27. Soul of peoples. (in Russian)
  28. Diary leaves. (in Russian)
  29. Shambala. New York, 1930.
  30. Banner of Peace. New York, 1931.
  31. Himalayas — Abode of Light. Bombay, 1947.
  32. Adamant. New York, 1967.

Memory about N. Roerich

  • Monument N.K. and H.I Roerichs was put up in Moscowmarker, on territory of Lopukhin’s mansion in front of the Museum named after N. Roerich.
  • One of the streets in Rigamarker’s center was named in honor of N. Roerich.
  • Since 1984, Museum-Mansion of N. Roerich worked in Izvara village of Leningrad’s region, where N. Roerich lived long time.
  • S. Petersburg’s artistic school named after N.Roerich works in S. Petersburg.
  • In 1999, two commemorative coins devoted to 125th anniversary of N. Roerich birthday were issued by Bank of Russia.
  • A motor ship “Painter Nicholas Roerich” was named in honor of N. Roerich.
  • In 2007, new airliner of “Aeroflot” was named in honor of N. Roerich.

Postage stamps containing images of N. Roerich and his creativity

  • In 1974, USSR ministry of communications issued a marked envelope with N. Roerich’s portrait against the background of his painting “Guests from overseas”. In the same year, a stamp with this painting image was issued.
  • In 1974, India issued an anniversary stamp depicted the observe of commemorative medal, which was issued in Paris, 1929, and was devoted to 40th anniversary of N. Roerich’s artistic, scientific and public activity.
  • In 1977, USSR ministry of communications issued two stamps depicted a Church of Holy Spirit in Talashkino. A mosaic “Holy Face” over the entrance of this Church was made on N. Roerich’s sketches.
  • In 1978, Bulgaria issued a stamp depicted a fragment of N. Roerich’s portrait, painted by S. N. Roerich. Besides the stamp, an envelope of first day was issued, and on April 5, 1978 at Sophia’s central post office a cancellation by postmark of the first day was made.
  • In 1986, Mexico issued a stamp with coupon dedicated to International Year of Peace (Aňo Internacional de la Paz). The stamp contained a pictures of U.N.O emblem and a symbol of N. Roerich’s Banner of Peace with signatures “ONU” (U.N.O) and “Pax Cultura” (Pact of Culture).
  • In 1990, USSR issued two stamps dedicated to Soviet Foundation of Culture. One of them reproduced N. Roerich’s painting “Unkrada” (1909), and another – a painting “Pskov-Pechori monastery”.
  • In 1999, publishing centre “Marka” of Ministry of communication and mass media of Russia issued stamped envelope “Russian painter N.K. Roerich. 1874-1947” dedicated to his 125th anniversary. The stamp depicted a fragment of N. Roerich’s portrait painted by S.N. Roerich in 1934. N. Roerich was painted against the background of his painting “Book of life”.
  • In 2001, publishing centre “Marka” of Ministry of communication and mass media of Russia issued stamped envelope dedicated to International treaty for protection of artistic and scientific institutions and historical monuments (Roerich’s Pact). Picture on the envelope shows a Roerich’s painting “Pax Cultura. Banner of Peace” (1931).
  • In 2003, Moldavia issued a stamp depicted the painting “Pax Cultura. Banner of Peace” (1931) like as at Russian stamp of the year 2001.
  • In 2008, Russian publishing centre “Marka” issued an envelope dedicated to Central Asian expedition of N. Roerich (1923-1928).

Peak of International Centre-Museum named after N.K. Roerich at Altai

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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 Russiamarker, Ukrainemarker, Estoniamarker, Moscowmarker, Kievmarker, Tallinnmarker, Kemerovomarker, Yaroslavlmarker, Velikii Novgorod, Tvermarker, Penzamarker, Kostromamarker, 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.

Dialogue and video recording with N.K. Roerich

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  1. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Ronstantinovich Roerich / Series “Life of outstanding people” (in Russian). Moscow, “Molodaya Gvardiya”, 1973. – 2-d Edition.
  2. Shaposhnikova L.V. The Great Travelling (“Velikoe puteshestvie”) (in Russian). Book 1. “Master” – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs – 1999. – 624 p. with pictures ISBN 5-86988-064-5
  3. Shaposhnikova L.V. The Great Traveling (“Velikoe puteshestvie”) (in Russian). Third book “Master’s Universe”(Vselennaya Mastera) – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs – 2005. – 1088 p. with pictures ISBN 5-86988-162-5
  4. Shaposhnikova L.V. “Scientist, thinker, painter” (Uchenii, mislitel’, khudozhnik” (in Russian)) Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank. – 2006. – 192 p. with pictures.
  5. “Let’s protect names and heritage of the Roerichs” V. 3. (in Russian) International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, Moscow. – 2005
  6. “Let’s protect names and heritage of the Roerichs” V. 1. (in Russian) International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, Moscow. – 2001
  7. “Morning Star”. Scientific and artistic illustrated literary miscellany of International Centre of the Roerichs. N 2-3, 1997.
  8. Roerich N. About the art: in collected articles/ With preface of A.D.Alyokhin. Compiler S. A.Ponomarenko.- Second Edition, Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master Bank. – 2005. 160 pp.
  9. N. Roerich “Diary leaves” V.2. - International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. – 1995. 512 p.
  10. N. Roerich “Diary leaves” V.3. - International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. – 1996. 688 p.
  11. N. Roerich. Culture and Civilization. International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. – 1994. -148 p.
  12. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. Bibliography. International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. – 1999. -232 p.
  13. “Zazhigaite serdtsa!” Collected works (in Russian). – Second edition. – Moscow, “Molodaya Gvardiya”, 1978.- 208 p.
  14. Banner of Peace. Collected articles. Second Edition, supplemented and revised. - International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. – 2005. -644 p. with pictures.- (Great Roerich’s Library).
  15. Short Philosophical Dictionary. / A.P.Alekseev, G.G.Vasiliev Edited by A.P.Alekseev. – Second edition, supplemented and revised. – Moscow. “Velby”, “Prospect” publishing, 2004. – Dictionary was prepared by group of humanities department of Moscow State University named after M. V. Lomonosov.
  16. Larichev V.E., Matochkin Ye.P. Roerich and Siberia. – Novosibirsk, 1993.
  17. Russian Philosophy. Dictionary / Edited by M. Maslin. – Moscow, “Terra – Book club”; “Respublika”, 1999. -656 p.
  18. P.F.Belikov, V.P.Knyazeva. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. – Samara. – 1996.- Third supplemented edition.
  19. Roerich nominated for Peace award // The New York Times. March 3, 1929, Sunday
  20. Ivanov M.A. Roerichs and Tver region. Tver, “GERS Publishers. – 2007. 118 p.
  21. Drayer, Ruth Abrams. Nicholas & Helena Roerich: the spiritual journey of two great artists and peacemakers. Quest Books, 2005. ISBN 0835608433

See also

External links


  1. Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Great biographic encyclopedia. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Russian philosophy: Dictionary / Edited by M. Maslin. / V.V.Sapov. - Moscow, “Respublika”, 1995. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Short Philosophical Dictionary. / A.P.Alekseev, G.G.Vasiliev Edited by A.P.Alekseev. – Second edition, supplemented and revised. – Moscow. “Velby”, Prospect publishing, 2004. (in Russian). :  — S. Levit. Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Culturology. XX century. Encyclopedia. – 1998. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Latest Philosophical Dictionary / Gritsanov A.A. – Scientific edition. – Minsk: “V.M. Skakun”, 1999. – 896 p. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Biographic Dictionary. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Modern Encyclopedia. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Great Soviet Encyclopedia. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Encyclopaedia of F.A. Brockhause and I.A. Ephron. :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Encyclopaedia "Krugosvet" :  — Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Modern Encyclopaedia. “Great Russian Encyclopedia” Publishing, 1997. : — Nikolay Roerich // Gallery of Russian Thinkers :  — Nikolai Konstantinowitsch Roerich / Meyers Konversations Lexikon. Online-version
  2. “Zazhigaite serdtsa!” Collected works. Second Edition. – Moscow, “Molodaya Gvardiya” Publishing, 1978. – P.25.
  3. 5. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. Series “Life of remarkable people” (in Russian). Moscow, “Molodaya Gvardiya” Publishing. – 1973. – p.12.
  4. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. – Samara, 1996. – Third Edition, supplemented. – PP.10-11.
  5. Ivanov M.A. Roerichs and Tver region. Tver, “GERS Publishers. – 2007. – p. 79.
  6. N. Roerich. Diary Leaves. V. 2. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs. – 1995. – p.88. ISBN 5-86988-041-1
  7. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. Series “Life of remarkable people”. Moscow, “Molodaya Gvardiya” Publishing. – 1973. – p.36.
  8. N. Roerich. Diary Leaves. V. 3. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs. – 1996. – p.242. ISBN 5-86988-056-4
  9. Rudzitis R.Ya. “Peace through Culture”. P. 22.
  10. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. – Samara, 1996. – Third Edition, supplemented. – P. 57.
  11. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. (in Russian) – Samara, 1996. – Third Edition, supplemented. – P. 81.
  12. Shaposhnikova L.V. From Altai to Himalayas. – Moscow, 1998. – p.24.
  13. N. Roerich. Diary Leaves. V. 2. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs. – 1995. – p.58.
  14. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. – Samara, 1996. – Third Edition, supplemented. – P. 71.
  15. N. Roerich. Diary Leaves. V. 1. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs. – 1995. – p.33.
  16. Leonid Andreev. Roerich’s Empire / Collected Articles. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank. – 2004. – p.38. ISBN 5-86988-148-X
  17. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. Series “Life of remarkable people”. Moscow, “Molodaya Gvardiya” Publishing. – 1972.
  18. L.V.Shaposhnikova. The great traveling. Book 1. Master. - Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 1998. – 624 p. with pictures. ISBN 5-86988-064-5
  19. International scientific and public conference “80th anniversary of Central-Asian Expedition of N.K. Roerich (1924-1928)”, which was held in International Centre of the Roerichs from October, 9 to 11, 2008.
  20. L.V.Shaposhnikova. From Altai to Himalayas. Along the path of Central-Asian Expedition of N. Roerich. - Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, 1998.
  21. Participants, chronology, bibliography of Central-Asian Expedition of N. Roerich are on the website of International Centre of the Roerichs.
  22. Roerich Nikolai Konstantinovich // Russian Philosophy. Dictionary / Edited by M. Maslin. – Moscow, “Terra – Book club”; “Respublika”, 1999. -656 p.ISBN 5-250-02707-5 ISBN 5-300-02569-0
  23. Roerich N.K. Health of spirit (Zdorovye dukha) // Culture and civilization. Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 1994. – P.60. .
  24. Roerich nominated for Peace award // The New York Times. March 3, 1929, Sunday (Article on the website The New York Times and French Association of Banner of Peace)
  25. Roerich’s Pact: history of the agreement for cultural values protection. Reference. / Advertising news agency “Novosti”, 15/04/2008.
  26. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. Series “Life of remarkable people” . Moscow, “Molodaya Gvardiya” Publishing. – 1973. – Second Edition.
  27. N. Roerich. Diary Leaves. V. 3. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs. – 1996. – p.39. ISBN 5-86988-056-4
  28. Interview with Indira Gandhi / Roerich’s Empire. (Derzhava Rerikhov) (in Russian). / Collected Articles. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank. – 2004. – p.65. ISBN 5-86988-148-X
  29. Belikov P.F., Knyazeva V.P. Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. – Samara, 1996. – Third Edition, supplemented. – P. 180.
  30. International conferencies of ICR
  31. International Scientific and Public Conference ”Roerich’s Pact 70th Anniversary”
  32. Shaposhnikova Lyudmila Vassilievna – article in the Encyclopedia “Best people of Russia” : — Awards and titles of L.V. Shaposhnikova.
  33. Договор о сотрудничестве между МЦР и ИИЕТ РАН
  34. Statements of scientists and public figures about Roerichs / “Lets protect the names and heritage of the Roerichs” (“Zaschitim imya i nasledie Rerikhov”) (in Russian) V.3. Documents, publications, essays. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2005.- 1094 p. ISBN 5-86988-159-5
  35. Minor planet “Roerich” / “Lets protect the names and heritage of the Roerichs” (“Zaschitim imya I nasledie Rerikhov”) (in Russian) V.3. Documents, publications, essays. – Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2005.- 1094 p ─ Astronomic data of the minor planet “Roerich” on NASA website.
  36. Larichev V.E., Matochkin Ye.P. Roerich and Siberia. – Novosibirsk, 1993. – p.178.
  37. Roerich’s Memorial ICR website
  38. Ozolinya M.R. A street named after N. Roerich in Riga / Newspaper “Sodruzhestvo”, N 4, March, 2002.
  39. Museum-Estate of N.K. Roerich in Izvara :  — Museum-Estate of N.K. Roerich in Izvara. Cycle of TV programs “Small Museums of Saint--Petersburg”
  40. Saint—Petersburg Art School named after N. Roerich.
  41. List of Far East Sea steamship company fleet.
  42. Open Corporation “Aeroflot – Russian airlines” Chronicles. July, 2007.
  43. Artistic marked envelopes N 212K-2008. December 17, 2008. Central-Asian Expedition of N. Roerich (1923-1928) on website of Publishing Centre “Marka”. :  — An envelope dedicated to Trans-Himalayan Expedition of N. Roerich was issued in Novosibirsk / Advertising news agency “Siberia”, 2009-01-12.
  44. Along the Altai's path of Nicholas Roerich’s expedition / website “Museums of the Russia” :  — A program of events dedicated to Central-Asian expedition of Academician N.K. Roerich in the Museum of Yaroslavl city’s history / website “Museums of the Russia”. :  — S. Skorodumov. “Altai’s “Solaris”. Journal “Prime-Sphere” (“Praim-Sfera» in Russian), October, 2008. Website “Yaroslavia” of State organs of Yaroslavl region.

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