Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

International Non-Governmental Organization | Special consultative status with UN ECOSOC
Associate member with UN DPI | Institutional member of International Council of Museums (ICOM)
Member of pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage EUROPA NOSTRA | Associate member with INTO

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The Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Centre of the Roerichs is situated in the very heart of Moscow, within the territory of the centuries old Lopoukhin Mansion. It hardly resembles other art museums and galleries. Its history and destiny are as unique and unusual as the life of the man whose name it bears.

The initiative to establish the first in the country cultural institution of a new kind – the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich – belongs to Svetoslav Nikolayevich Roerich, Svetoslav Roerich is a great painter, thinker, versatile scientist, talented pedagogue, and a well-known public figure. The establishment of the Museum as a non-governmental cultural center corresponded to Svetoslav Roerich’s understanding of Сulture. In his opinion, Culture is the expression of society and therefore a cultural organization should not be governmental, it ought to be non-governmental. The non-governmental status – as Svetoslav Roerich had predicted – gave a considerable independence in the use of new approaches, it was conducive to the the development of the potential for wide-ranged cultural initiatives and a versatile collaboration with the International community beyond any bureaucratic barriers. All this made possible the establishment in Russia of a unique synthetic cultural center – a Museion of the 21st century: an emanation of the new times and new cultural and historical tasks.

The Museum comprises the Roerichs’ priceless cultural heritage passed on to the Soviet Roerichs Foundation [1] (now the International Center of the Roerichs [2]) by Svetoslav Roerich in 1990. The heritage is exceptionally rich in terms of its artistic, philosophic and scientific content, it carries in itself a new cosmic world view which attracts an ever growing interest.

The core of the Roerichs’ heritage is the philosophy of cosmic reality – the Living Ethics, which develops and elaborates on the idea of the close relationship between the human being and the Cosmos, this philosophy contains knowledge that helps the understanding of the specific features of the coming new evolutionary stage of mankind’s development.

The Museum exposition – created by Ms. Ludmila Shaposhnikova, the Director-General of the Nicholas Roerich Museum – reflects the key stages in the course of life and the creative work of our great compatriots and acquaints the visitors with the Roerichs’ activities that constitute a truly dedicated service to humanity. The unique exhibits saturated with spiritual energy fill the ancient vaulted halls with a special aura.

Nicholas Roerich’s and Svetoslav Roerich’s canvases reflecti the cosmic world view of their creators, and allow the visitor to come into contact with the endless and magnificent realm of the Beautiful. By way of color and symbol the philosophical ideas of the Living Ethics are reflected in these canvases. In the Museum exposition we likewise find various relics, gifts from the Roerichs’ Spiritual Teacher, manuscript and art rarities, books and monographs from the Roerichs’ Memorial Library, as well as personal belongings and objects that accompanied them in their long journeys, photo documents and a collection of ancient bronzes from the Indian Kulu valley. All of the above and many other objects comprise theexposition of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, which helps expanding the circle of our usual images, and makes one strive for new cognition of the cosmic reality. Thanks to Art Patrons, the Museum exposition is constantly growing with new exhibits, including newly acquired Roerichs’ priceless paintings.

A special feature of the Museum’s art collection is the extensive collection of Himalayan sketches painted by Nicholas Roerich. It is precisely these Himalayan etudes that constitute the basis for the traveling exhibitions shown in Russia, in the CIS countries, and in other countries. The Museum named after Nicholas Roerich in Moscow is the only museum in the country that organizes exhibitions in the most remote corners of Russia, and does not confine itself just to major cities and cultural centers. This gives millions of people the opportunity to come into contact with the amazing beauty of the Roerichs’ art.

The distinctive feature of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the ICR is its versatile cultural and scientific activity, which goes far beyond the framework of traditional museum work. There are held in the Museum halls annual International conferences dedicated to important issues of culture and science and many well-known scientists, scholars and public figures participate in them. Exhibitions of modern artists-cosmists are regularly displayed here, and classical music concerts and lectures by leading representatives of science and specialists in the field of philosophy, history, culture, and pedagogy are regularly organized. Children’s drawing competitions, festivals of ethnic culture, exhibitions of folk lore and crafts as well as creative function events are also organized. Moreover, the Museum actively collaborates with many government and non-governmental organizations, including international ones.

Thus, as a result of its decades-long work, the dynamically developing non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of te Roerichs turned into a truly unique spiritual and cultural Center of Russia for the preservation, study, development and popularization of the Roerich’s family philosophical and artistic heritage and their lifetime achievement – the philosophy of cosmic reality – the Living Ethics.

One cannot help noting the exceptional leading role in the establishment and development of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of Ms. Lyudmila Shaposhnikova. She is the longstanding Director-General of the Museum, who determines all the principal aspects of the Museum’s life. Ms. Lyudmila Shaposhnikova is Svetoslav Roerich’s authorized representative and testamentary executor, as well as First Vice-President of the International Center of the Roerichs. She is academician and an Honored Worker of the Arts of the Russian Federation.

It is to her – an outstanding scholar and talented organizer, a person truly dedicated to Culture – that Svetoslav Roerich entrusted the transfer to the Motherland of the unique heritage of his parents, it is her that he recommended to the post of the Director of the Museum and supported all her initiatives in every way possible.

The Lopoukhin Mansion (historic and architectural monument of the 17th – 19th centuries), whose main building houses the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, jointly with the re-created “Krasnoye” (“Main entrance”) porch (17th century) and the Roerich family’s memorial sculptural complex have turned the Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Centre of the Roerichs into an authentic architectural and artistic ensemble of the Russian capital. The Lopoukhin Mansion was restored literally from ruins, it was reconstructed by the International Centre of the Roerichs with love and care thanks to the support of Art Patrons and the many friends of the ICR Nicholas Roerich Museum. This restoration was carried out without any funding by the government, which attests to the viability and efficiency of the non-governmental cultural organizations.

However, Russian government bureaucrats could not tolerate losing the possibility of having in their command the cultural values passed over by Svetoslav Roerich to a non-governmental museum - the Nicholas Roerich Museum of the ICR. Up until the present day, various state departments have attempted to paralyze and destroy its activities. And this as well bestowes a certain “uniqueness” on the Museum. There is hardly any other Museum in the world against which the State would wage a shameless and merciless war for almost two decades now, a war aimed at its complete destruction. Until now, 288 canvases by Nicholas Roerich and Svetoslav Roerich owned by the International Centre of the Roerichs and part of our Museum’s collection, are illegally kept by the State Museum of Oriental Art.

The Roerichs’ heritage is a key to the most important creative achievements of humanity. Its significance for the destiny of Russia and the whole world cannot be overemphasized. The protection of this Heritage and its development for the sake of Russia’s future is our immediate duty and obligation.


Notes:

[2] Assignment Deed in favour of ICR, 1992






















The Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich