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 Nicholas Roerich


Born:   September, 27th, 1874
Deceased:   December, 13th, 1947

Artist, writer, traveler, archeologist, public figure.

      

Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich was born on September, 27th, 1874 in Saint Petersburg.

He got his artistic education in the Petersburg Academy of Arts, where he studied under the illustrious master Arkhip Kuindzhi from 1893 to 1897. Later the young man continued his artistic studies in the Parisian Cormon Studio. Nicholas Roerich was a member of the association of artists "World of art" that he also was the head of for several years.

Nicholas Roerich paid a great attention and dedicated lots of his activities to archeology and protection of antiquity. His archeological studies resulted in a number of unique published works. A collection of his archeological writings saw the light in 1914. Apart from that Roerich wrote in various genres, including poetry, fairy tales, and parables.

He painted a great many studies of old Russian towns and cities. Roerich did not only create canvass paintings but also designed theatre performances and was engaged in icon painting. Among his well-known monumental decoration works is the painting of the Holy Spirit Church near Smolensk.

The artist did not accept the revolution of 1917 and expressed its horrors and vandalism in the symbolical drama Mercy (1918). He found himself across the Finnish border, and starting from 1918 lived abroad. In 1920 he moved to the USA and mainly lived there. Later he extensively traveled across Asia, and then his books “Shambala”, “Heart of Asia” and many others appeared.

In 1923 the Roerichs (Nicholas, his wife and two sons) started off from Sikkim on the famous Trans-Himalayan expedition with the purpose of historical and topographical study of the Central Asia; the expedition crossed the area twice, having passed through remote areas of India, Mongolia and Tibet and collected plenty of scientific materials. Having arrived in Moscow in

1925 the researcher came in contact with the Soviet authorities, and then in 1926–1928 he went back to Sikkim through Altai. The Urusvati Institute of Himalayan Studies (Urusvati meaning “morning dawn” in Sanskrit) in Kulu Valley near Naggar (State of Himachal Pradesh, Northern India), founded by Roerich in 1929 became his constant residence.

Nicholas Roerich and his wife Elena Roerich (nee Shaposhnikova) paid much effort to study of theosophy, which meant for them not only a mystical, but also a social movement. Roerich’s followers in different countries were also ardent supporters of the proclaimed by him enlightener mission of defending monuments of history and art from the destructive onslaught of modern civilization. The extensive educational activities of N.K. Roerich for attracting world community’s attention to the need for protecting cultural monuments resulted in the famous Roerich Pact, which lay the basis for the International Convention on Protection of Cultural Values in Case of Armed Conflicts that was signed in the Hague in 1954.

Nicholas Roerich died in Kulu, India, on December, 13th, 1947.

Roerich Museum was opened in New York much earlier, back in 1924. Roerich International Center is based in Moscow, where it has had its own museum since 1992. Besides, the Oriental Arts Museum in Moscow has a special section dedicated to art of Nicholas and Svyatoslav Roerichs.

Overall number of paintings by Nicholas Roerich varies from five to seven thousand canvasses, according to different estimations by art historians.

Literary heritage of N.K. Roerich is just as enormous: in his lifetime there were published ten volumes of his writings, but it is far from being a complete set of his notes, sketches, articles, essays, letters and “spiritual appeals” disseminated worldwide.

Roerich always remained a patriot of his Motherland and made an invaluable contribution to closer relations of Russian and Indian peoples and cultures, as well as preservation and study of world cultural heritage.

Sources:
yxp.ru
all-biography.ru
roerich.ouc.ru
 


V.Ivanova


Tags: Russian travelers Russian artists    








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