Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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PAGES  123Virtual tour

S. Roerich by his painting Karma Dorge. 1930s
S. Roerich by his painting Karma Dorge. 1930s

“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”1.

These words belong to Svetoslav Roerich, painter and wizard, the younger son of Helena and Nicholas Roerichs, who took part in all initiatives of his great family.

“Let us strive for the Beautiful” – this phrase which Svetoslav Roerich kept constantly saying was filled for him with deepest sense. “Our internal striving for something more perfect, more beautiful, he used to say, – is great internal power which is changing us and changing our life as well. Without this internal flame, man cannot wake up concealed energies in himself and cannot rise to a higher level of knowledge and experience”2.

Beauty is the highest energetics forming that “natural evolutionary flow” of which the Living Ethics books are telling. Same as his father, Svetoslav Roerich persistently called to realization that “<…> search for the beautiful is hereditary evolutionary power <…>”3. Without this natural power, neither culture, or creative work, or the link with the Higher could have been formed.

The Mystery of Beauty, and, first of all, created Beauty, attracted Svetoslav Roerich both as a painter and as a thinker. Beauty, created by man-creator, carries in itself his power, the energy of his spirit. A Great Master is manifestation of Higher creativity on the Earth. Creations of a Great Master carry to us breath and fragrance of other worlds, words of higher dimensions. A true artist creating Beauty attracts the rest to the Higher with this Beauty. “Like Prometheus, Svetoslav Roerich wrote, a true artist brings us to the Heavenly fire of his great inspiration, experience, and beauty, and, like Orpheus, with the harmony of his art, he builds the walls of his Celestial city”4.

S. Roerich himself was a messenger of Beauty and its creator. The wonderful world of his paintings is beautiful and unique. 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, conquer with purity and profound wisdom.

“If an artist is really striving for conveying something beautiful, he elevates himself and helps the others, Svetoslav Roerich used to say. – They often asked me why I do not convey the negative sides of life. My answer is – they do exist, but they are already fixed in art! If in life we can go away from the negative, when conveyed on a painting, it starts living its own life, and, of course, becomes an element which we cannot avoid any more – it is fixed. The whole life is striving for beauty, that is evolution. We can see this in everything. The most wonderful phenomena of life prove to us that evolution is striving for beauty, that is beauty is the reality, and revealing this beauty, we carry it to others, and thus we serve the mankind”5.

S. Roerich. Portrait of N.К. Roerich. 1940s
S. Roerich. Portrait of N.К. Roerich. 1940s
The Roerichs’ younger son’s creative work was closely connected with the creative work of his father. “But there was a certain difference from him in my approach to painting and art, Svetoslav Roerich pointed out in one of his conversations. – Nicholas Roerich was never interested in portrait, while I started as a portraitist… I put man in the foreground. While on Nicholas Roerich’s paintings, man went into the depth of composition…”6.

Svetoslav Roerich’s creative work can be conditionally divided into three main periods. The first, early period, lasted approximately until the end of the 30-s. In that period, he got established as a bright and mature portraitist, spiritual master, distinguished by deep penetration into the inner world of man.

Thoughtful, serious eyes of a thinker are looking at us from the portrait of N. Roerich. His brows are moved together a little, there are deep folds between them. The wise look seems to penetrate into the very soul.

More than thirty portraits of his father were painted by Svetoslav Roerich. They call this unique series an “Epos of a great son about his great father”. “I have met very many people in this world, the painter said, but I have never met such a multi-faceted personality like Nicholas Roerich. Many and many achievements of many people were combined in him. But, above all, he was a wonderful Man. His penetrant humanity is for me his brightest quality and stays my leading reminiscence”7.


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S. Roerich. Pearl-Blue Mountains. 1942