The International Centre-Museum named after Nicholas Roerich
The International Centre-Museum named after Nicholas Roerich was created on his younger son Svetoslav's initiative. In 1990 S. Roerich, who lived in India at that time, transferred his family's most abundant creative heritage to the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR). video (http://en.icr.su/news/Jubilee_Ludmila_Shaposhnikova/museum_video_eng.php)
The Museum is situated in one of the most picturesque places of the Moscow city at the ancient country estate of the Lopukhins, an architectural monument of the XVII-XIX centuries, restored by the ICR. Madam Ludmilla V. Shaposhnikova, Director General of the Museum, is the creator of the Museum concept which reflects the key stages of the Roerichs life and introduces visitors into the Roerichs family creative works. These exceptional works full of artistic, philosophical and scientific ideas bring a new cosmic world outlook that is getting more and more popular year by year.
The exposition also reflects the social importance of Nicholas Roerich activity, acquainting visitors with the history of the Roerich Pact — the first international treaty for protection of artistic and scientific institutions and historical monuments.
Nowadays the public Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of the Roerichs is the museum of a new type which combines various functions, such as collecting and conserving of scientific and artistic works, as well as being a Scientific and Research, Cultural and Educational Centre.
The Museum houses the largest in the world collection of paintings by N. Roerich including such famous series as «Sancta», «The Banners of the East», «His Country», «The Himalayas». The collection also contains photos, documents, manuscripts, books, family relics, personal things, as well as valuable collections of unique bronze, ancient Indian miniature, traditional Buddhist art and icons.
The Centre-Museum is an active participant of the international movement for cultural heritage preservation and popularisation of Nicholas Roerich ideas. The ICR is an associated member with INTO, an institutional member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and member of pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage EUROPA NOSTRA.
The Petersburg Hall.
St. Petersburg was the beloved hometown of Nicholas Roerich. It was the place where his scientific believes were formed, and his multi-faceted talent got recognition. In 1899 Nicholas Roerich met Helena Shaposhnikova who became his faithful spouse, inspirer and friend. “We were creating together,” N. Roerich wrote in his books. Their work was continued by their sons — professor George Roerich, a world-known orientalist, and Svetoslav Roerich,an illustrious artist and public activist.
In the exposition of the hall there are family photos, documents, paintings, archive materials covering the Roerichs family life till 1916.
The Russian Hall.
The image of the Motherland created by N. Roerich is one of the most beautiful and profound in his art. The exposition of the hall includes paintings created in different times and in different countries but all of them dedicated to Russia – that was the focus theme of the artist's creativity. Among these masterpieces there are such famous ones as “Terra Slavonica”, “Saint Sergius”, “The Heavenly Forces are Now Invisibly Serving with Us” (“Easter Night”), and paintings of “Sancta” series created by N. Roerich in 1922 in the USA. These paintings are filled with harmony of silence, they embrace the spirit of Russian Land which is inseparable from Russian Soul.
The Living Ethics Hall.
This hall is the center of the Museum exposition. The hall exhibits paintings of the series “Banner of the East”, triptych “Joan of Arc”, “Chintamani”, “The Command of Rigden Japo”. These works with a deep philosophical subtext rush the humanity into the future towards its spiritual development and evolutionary progress.
In the showcases of the hall there are Helena Roerich's diaries, modern publications, and rare editions of Living Ethics volumes – “The Call”, “Heart”, “Fairy World” – published in Russian language in Paris and Riga.
The Masters' Hall is dedicated to Mahatmas – Great Souls – this is what they call in the East the Teachers, who have been leading the mankind along the way of spiritual improvement for centuries. At the hall there are Eastern Teachers' portraits, the unique triptych “Fiat Rex” and the paintings from the series “His Country” by Nicholas Roerich. Exhibits of one of the hall's show-cases include 16th century Iranian manuscript “Shahname” (“The Book of Kings”) by poet Firdousi, little cornelian birds, and the ring of Egyptian queen Nifertiti (XIV centuries B.C.) presented to Helena Roerich.
In this hall there are also some drawings by Helena Roerich, performed in pencil. Many of them made the basis for paintings of Nicholas Roerich, who often repeated that each of his paintings should be signed with two names – the man’s and the woman’s.
Central Asian Expedition Hall.
The Central-Asian expedition became the main accomplishment in Nicholas Roerich's life. With his wife and his son, he covered 25 thousand kilometers, two deserts and surmounted 35 neks. Nicholas Roerich created more than 500 paintings, wrote such books as “Altai-Himalayas” and “The Heart of Asia”, and collected enormous scientific material. During this period Nicholas Roerich created the famous series of Himalayan sketches. Perhaps, no artist could depict mountains like Nicholas Roerich, who won the title of Master of the Mountains.
The Hall of Kullu.
The hall of Kullu transfers us to a sacred valley of India where the Roerichs settled in 1929. There they founded the “Urusvati” (in Sanskrit – the “Light of the Morning Star”) Institute of Himalayan Studies. In the Institute there were opened departments of natural sciences and Tibetan medicine, history of Asian peoples’ culture, philology, botany and astrophysics. The paintings by Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerichs are exhibited in the hall. Antique bronze from the family collection occupies a special place in the hall.
Helpful in experiencing the beauty of the valley are the photographs by Lyudmila V. Shaposhnikova, arranged in the form of a frieze around the hall's perimeter.
The Hall of the Roerich Pact and the Banner of Peace.
At the turn of the XIX - XX centuries Nicholas Roerich arises the question of cultural heritage protection. The Roerich Pact – the first international agreement on preservation of artistic and scientific institutions and historical monuments – was signed by the USA and the countries of Latin America on the 15th of April 1935, Washington. The Pact's ideas became the basis for the Hague Convention on the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, adopted by UNO in 1954.
Nicholas Roerich designed the symbol of the Banner of Peace.
Historical documents, photographs and exhibits depict Nicholas Roerich as an outstanding public figure, who raised the Banner of Peace – the Banner of Culture above the Earth.
Svetoslav Roerich's Hall.
Svetoslav Roerich was an outstanding artist, scientist and public figure, spiritual successor and continuator of his father’s work.
Portraits, landscapes, genre and epic canvases, paintings with philosophic contents – all the artist’s pieces carry to people love and beauty, awake hope and happiness.
“Let’s carry the news of beauty to every heart, every house. Let striving for the beautiful become our everyday prayer… Search for beauty – this is what will bring people together and save the world. At the difficult moments of life, one should think of beauty.”
These words belong to Svetoslav Roerich and express in the best way the thoughts and ideas of the great Roerich family.