Nicholas Roerich Museum

Nicholas Roerich Museum The mission of the Nicholas Roerich Museum is to make available to the public the full range of Roerich’s accomplishments.
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Roerich was sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture to go to Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and China on a botanical ex...
11/16/2020

Roerich was sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture to go to Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and China on a botanical expedition. The purpose of this expedition was to find drought-resistant grasses to help with the Dust Bowl crisis in the U.S. This painting, “Batukhalka, Capital of Inner Mongolia” (1936), depicts one of the places Roerich passed through on this expedition.

Roerich received an invitation to visit Prince Yun-Wang, the then-head of the autonomous government of Inner Mongolia. They met in Batukhalka and Roerich describes the encounter as an amicable and eventful one:

“We exchange presents. On our part a gold enameled watch of French workmanship… He invites us to participate in the annual festival in the Batukhalka monastery, where the sacred dances, “Tsam” of Lamas, take place. On leaving we also visit his private chapel, situated in the same compound.” (“Vigil: Letters from Asia”)

To read more from “Vigil: Letters from Asia,” please go to our website, roerich.org, where you can read the full text and buy the book.

Roerich’s “The Tablets of the Commandments” (1931) is a great example of how skilled Roerich was at creating a balanced ...
11/15/2020

Roerich’s “The Tablets of the Commandments” (1931) is a great example of how skilled Roerich was at creating a balanced composition. The large shape of the cloud on the right hand side of the painting is anchored by the tiny sliver of the moon on the top left hand side. And the cloud’s movement is countered by the slope of the rock face in the other direction. It is that tension of opposites that creates such a visually striking yet satisfying image.⠀

In this painting, Roerich focuses on the awe-inspiring landscape rather than exactly what the figure is inscribing. Roerich believed in the unified nature of religions such as Christianity and Buddhism. In “Altai-Himalaya,” he writes that “the commandments of Jesus and of Buddha lie upon one shelf” and that “the teachings of Jesus and Buddha are leading all nations into one family.”

If you’d like to read more from “Altai-Himalaya,” please go to our website, roerich.org, where you can find the full text and buy the book.

Excerpt from the book “Beautiful Unity” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to re...
11/14/2020

Excerpt from the book “Beautiful Unity” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Karakirghizes,” painted by Roerich in 1932.

Roerich’s “Oirot, the Messenger of the White Burkhan” (1925) depicts “the Blessed Oirot…traveling throughout the world, ...
11/13/2020

Roerich’s “Oirot, the Messenger of the White Burkhan” (1925) depicts “the Blessed Oirot…traveling throughout the world, announcing the great Advent.” (“Shambhala”) Roerich explains that the Oirots were a Finno-Turki tribe that lived in “Altai, as now Oirotiya is called.” (“Heart of Asia”)

One of the main legends associated with the Oirots was that “the nomadic Oirots await the Coming of Buddha, the White Burkhan.” Here, the Blessed Oirot rides a white horse, while the figure in the center is one of the nomad Oirots waiting for him.

To buy a print of this painting, please go to our website, roerich.org. You can also purchase “Shambhala” and “Heart of Asia” or read the full texts online for free.

Excerpt from the book “Realm of Light” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to rea...
11/12/2020

Excerpt from the book “Realm of Light” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Pilgrim of the Radiant City,” painted by Roerich in 1933.

“Guru Guri Dhar” (1931) depicts a Himalayan mountain range near Kullu Valley, where Roerich settled in 1928 and lived fo...
11/11/2020

“Guru Guri Dhar” (1931) depicts a Himalayan mountain range near Kullu Valley, where Roerich settled in 1928 and lived for the rest of his life. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas at an elevation of 6,500 feet, Kullu has magnificent views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Roerich was drawn to Kullu not only for its views but also its rich history that continued to inspire his paintings.

In his book “Shambhala,” Roerich mentions that Kullu has a hero protector called Narasimha, who “protects the rich harvests” and “fills the valley with fragrant flowers.” He writes about the ruins of the castle of Narasimha in Naggar, a town in Kulu Valley. Here, “above the image of Narasimha rises the white summit of Guru Guri Dhar.”⠀

To read more of “Shambhala,” please go to our website, roerich.org, where you can access the full text and buy the book. You can also buy a print of this painting in our online gift shop.

Roerich references “Lake of the Nagas” (1932) in his book “Shambhala,” which records his travels throughout Central Asia...
11/10/2020

Roerich references “Lake of the Nagas” (1932) in his book “Shambhala,” which records his travels throughout Central Asia. He writes that “here are the most ancient paths of the sacred pilgrimage,” including “the Lake of the Nagas, and the lake Ravalsar, the abode of Padma Sambhava.”

According to Roerich, these ancient paths had the caves of the Arhats, the great abode of Siva, and 360 local deities, which “testifies how essential are these very sites of the accumulation of human thought through many ages.”

If you’d like to read the full text of “Shambhala” or buy the book, please visit our website, roerich.org.

Excerpt from the book “Heroica” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the f...
10/05/2020

Excerpt from the book “Heroica” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Star of the Morning,” painted by Roerich in 1932.

Roerich painted “Drops of Life” in 1924, which was not only a productive year for him but also one of the main turning p...
10/05/2020

Roerich painted “Drops of Life” in 1924, which was not only a productive year for him but also one of the main turning points in his artistic career. He spent the first nine months of 1924 living in Darjeeling, India while traveling and painting throughout the region.⠀

During this time, he became increasingly fascinated by India’s spiritual traditions, which shaped his painting style and choice of subject matter. The figure here is reminiscent of those found on the Ajanta frescos, depicted on 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments in Maharashtra, India. The title echoes the Buddhist saying that a vessel fills with water drop by drop, like the mind fills with wisdom.

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’re interested in buying a print of this painting.

Roerich’s “Procopius the Blessed Prays for the Unknown Travelers,” depicts the eponymous German merchant, who gave up hi...
10/04/2020

Roerich’s “Procopius the Blessed Prays for the Unknown Travelers,” depicts the eponymous German merchant, who gave up his possessions and converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity during his travels. His ascetic righteousness moved the Orthodox Church to bestow him sainthood.⠀

In “Himavat,” one of Roerich’s diary collections, he writes that Procopius renounced his “high worldly position for the good of the world, always prayed for unknown travelers.” Here, Roerich depicts Procopius raising his hand as in a blessing at the ship passing below him.⠀

If you’d like to read more from “Himavat,” go to our website, roerich.org, where you can find the full text and buy the book.

Excerpt from the book “Adamant” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the f...
10/03/2020

Excerpt from the book “Adamant” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Tibet,” painted by Roerich in 1940.

Roerich’s “Palden Lhamo” (1931) depicts the wrathful deity carved into the rocks by a waterfall. For many of his paintin...
10/02/2020

Roerich’s “Palden Lhamo” (1931) depicts the wrathful deity carved into the rocks by a waterfall. For many of his paintings, Roerich drew inspiration from the myths and legends associated with the places he visited. In his book “Fiery Stronghold,” Roerich writes: “Not far from here is the waterfall, Palden Lhamo. Upon the rocks, nature itself has designed the figure of the austere goddess riding on her favorite mule…”

We can assume that when Roerich writes that nature carved Palden Lhamo into the rocks, he meant it in a more figurative sense. In this painting, however, the deity appears clearly next to her namesake waterfall.

You can also see a sketch of this painting here.

To read more of “Fiery Stronghold,” go to our website, roerich.org, where you can access the full text and buy the book.

Roerich’s “St. Panteleimon the Healer” is one of two versions of the same painting. The one pictured here, which is in o...
10/01/2020

Roerich’s “St. Panteleimon the Healer” is one of two versions of the same painting. The one pictured here, which is in our museum, is the version he completed in 1931. The second (swipe right to see it) was painted in 1916 and is now in the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Comparing the two versions, you can see how much Roerich’s style evolved in fifteen years. The 1931 version uses more vivid colors and the whole canvas appears more bold and vibrant. The differences also reflect the surroundings Roerich was exposed to at each time. When he painted the 1916 version, he was influenced by the Karelian landscape he was familiar with. In the later version, one can see that he was influenced by his travels through the Altai region in 1926.

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’re interested in buying a print of the 1931 version of this painting.

While he was living in the U.S., Roerich spent most of his time in New York City. But during the summer of 1922, he trav...
09/20/2020

While he was living in the U.S., Roerich spent most of his time in New York City. But during the summer of 1922, he traveled to Monhegan, an island off the coast of Maine. Roerich was fascinated by Monhegan’s landscape: rocky crags, austere forests and mist-filled coves. This painting is part of his Ocean series of 14 paintings depicting Monhegan.

Perhaps more subdued than his later work, it explores a muted color palette of blues and purples and illustrates the subtlety with which he approached color and light. Two years later, Roerich would travel to the Himalayas and continue painting mountains on a larger scale.

Excerpt from the book “Himalayas-Abode of Light” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d l...
09/19/2020

Excerpt from the book “Himalayas-Abode of Light” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Karakoram. Path to Turkestan,” painted by Roerich in 1936.⠀

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Roerich’s “Three Glaives. Images on Rock” (1936) is one of many of his paintings that depict artifacts related to an anc...
09/18/2020

Roerich’s “Three Glaives. Images on Rock” (1936) is one of many of his paintings that depict artifacts related to an ancient legend. According to Roerich, this scene is of “the ancient design on the stone near Kyelang, capital of Lahul.” (‘Fiery Stronghold’)

Roerich was fascinated by ancient cultures that went as far back as the Stone Age and he even collected artifacts from that era. One of the recurring threads in his writings is how different cultures often share some elements of a visual language, even if these cultures are ancient and on opposite sides of the globe.

If you’d like to read more from “Fiery Stronghold,” please go to our website, roerich.org, where you can find the full text and buy the book.

#roerich #roerichmuseum #museum #art #fineart #nycart #himalayas

Excerpt from the book “Himavat” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the f...
09/17/2020

Excerpt from the book “Himavat” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Path to Tibet,” painted by Roerich in 1925.

Look closely at Roerich’s “Shambale Daik” (1931) and you will see the figure of an archer, set against a mottled, almost...
09/16/2020

Look closely at Roerich’s “Shambale Daik” (1931) and you will see the figure of an archer, set against a mottled, almost tapestry-like rock. For Roerich, the archer had particular significance. In “Himalayas-Abode of Light,” he writes about the “ancient art of archery” and how the “hill men still know their noble art, and the arrows shall certainly reach the hearts of Kanchenjunga’s enemies.” ⠀

Roerich makes another interesting comparison between the archer and the traveler. Just like the “archers who stand vigilant, ready to guard the beauty and treasures of Kanchenjunga, “ the “sensitive traveler” has a reverence and “exalted feeling” towards natural beauty. Roerich himself was this kind of traveler, who not only displayed resilience in surviving his travels but also had a protective spirit about the cultures he encountered along the way.

If you’d like to read more from “Himalayas-Abode of Light,” please go to our website, roerich.org, where you can find the full text and buy the book.

Like many of his paintings of Tibetan fortresses and monasteries, Roerich’s “Shekar Dzong,” (1933) puts us at a great di...
09/15/2020

Like many of his paintings of Tibetan fortresses and monasteries, Roerich’s “Shekar Dzong,” (1933) puts us at a great distance. Part of the reason is that Roerich wasn’t so interested in depicting the reality of how these structures appeared when he encountered them.

He wrote that “Tinkiu, Shekar, and Kampa-Dzong are impressive only in those parts where something is left from ancient times.” (“Heart of Asia”) While he felt “the power of creative thought” from these structures, he also saw the ruins of “a life now gone, now passed."�

If you’d like to read more from “Heart of Asia,” go to our website, roerich.org, where you can read the full text and buy the book.

Roerich’s “Pilgrim of the Radiant City” (1933) reflects the lore surrounding the Pilgrim and his journey to the Radiant ...
09/06/2020

Roerich’s “Pilgrim of the Radiant City” (1933) reflects the lore surrounding the Pilgrim and his journey to the Radiant City that Roerich mentions in his book “Fiery Stronghold.” He writes about how the City stands upon a pure lake (which you can see in this painting) and the figure is one of many who “went upon a pilgrimage and informed each other about it during their spiritual repasts.”⠀

Roerich’s choice of perspective is interesting. The pilgrim, still far away from his destination, is about the same size as the City. This gives the impression that he has both arrived and is still on his journey.⠀

If you’d like to read more from “Fiery Stronghold,” go to our website, roerich.org, where you can buy the book and read the full text.

Excerpt from the book “Beautiful Unity” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please follow the link in our bio to our website, roerich....
09/05/2020

Excerpt from the book “Beautiful Unity” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please follow the link in our bio to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Remember (His Country series),” painted by Roerich in 1924.

In many of Roerich’s paintings, particularly studies and ones he did quickly, you can see the paint itself and the surfa...
09/04/2020

In many of Roerich’s paintings, particularly studies and ones he did quickly, you can see the paint itself and the surface he worked on. In “Talung Monastery,” (1928, top) you can see the fibers of the canvas and the thick tempera paint in the clouds. In "Mountain Study,” (ca.1928-31, bottom right) you can see the lines of wood grain peeking through. This was possible because Roerich didn’t treat his canvases with any gesso to act as a smoothing base.

Roerich was one of the very few artists who used tempera. He favored two brands: Weimar and Le Franc, the latter of which is still in business today. Pictured here is the paint he used and his order for Le Franc tempera.

Excerpt from the book “Adamant” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please follow the link in our bio to our website, roerich.org, if ...
09/03/2020

Excerpt from the book “Adamant” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please follow the link in our bio to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Mountain Study,” painted by Roerich ca. 1929.

Roerich’s “Tidings of the Eagle” (1927) features a hermit meditating high up in the mountains, a spot inaccessible to ev...
09/02/2020

Roerich’s “Tidings of the Eagle” (1927) features a hermit meditating high up in the mountains, a spot inaccessible to everyone except us as viewers of this painting. The eagle is a sacred symbol that is traditionally a guardian figure or messenger, like Garuda, the mythical bird in Buddhist mythology. In real life, the Javan Hawk-Eagle, also known as the Garuda, has the red-brown coloring and crest as the bird in Roerich’s painting.

The mention of “tidings” in Roerich’s paintings is often connected to the expectation of the coming Maitreya, the Buddha of the future. Throughout his travel diaries, Roerich references the many sights that are associated with the coming Maitreya, from statues to images carved in rocks to paintings in temples. He writes that “Maitreya stands as the symbol of the future. But we also perceived the signs of the past.” (‘Altai-Himalaya’)

If you’d like to read more from “Altai-Himalaya,” where Roerich references the many legends surrounding Maitreya, please go to our website, roerich.org.

Javan Hawk Eagle image credit: aries_d on Flickr

We are pleased to announce that the Museum is currently open, though we are operating with some restrictions. You will n...
08/28/2020

We are pleased to announce that the Museum is currently open, though we are operating with some restrictions. You will need to schedule a time slot for your visit. We are doing this to make sure that there aren’t too many visitors in the Museum at any one time.

To reserve your time slot, please call us at 1-212-864-772 during our working hours:

Saturday—Sunday, noon—3pm
Wednesday—Friday, noon—4pm
Closed Monday, Tuesday.

Here you can see a few images of what the galleries look like right now. Long-time visitors will notice a few changes, including a new Memorial room on the 3rd floor.

Roerich’s “Tibet. Gelukpa,” (1936) painted in tempera on cardboard, depicts the monastery of the same name. From his wri...
08/23/2020

Roerich’s “Tibet. Gelukpa,” (1936) painted in tempera on cardboard, depicts the monastery of the same name. From his writings, we know that Roerich had great respect for the monasteries he encountered on his travels and the people who lived there. He wrote that “one must have a sense of beauty and of fearless self denial to build strongholds on such heights.” (“Heart of Asia”)

There is more to these monasteries that meets the eye. Roerich writes that in many of them there are “long subterranean passages, leading to a river, were hewn in the rocks,” and that, not surprisingly, “this fairy-tale of subterranean passages, as we shall see, has created many of the best sagas.”

If you’d like to read more from “Heart of Asia,” please go to our website, roerich.org, where you can find the full text and buy the book.

Excerpt from the book “Fiery Stronghold” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to r...
08/21/2020

Excerpt from the book “Fiery Stronghold” by Nicholas Roerich. ⠀

Please go to our website, roerich.org, if you’d like to read the full text and buy the book.

The image depicted is “Pskov. Windows of a 17th Century House,” painted by Roerich in 1903.

In Roerich’s “Kuan-Yin,” (1933) the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion sits against a background of sharp m...
08/20/2020

In Roerich’s “Kuan-Yin,” (1933) the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion sits against a background of sharp mountain peaks that tilt in the same direction as she does.⠀

Though Roerich was never there in person, this is a real place. Swipe right to see the photograph that he used as reference. It is from the book “Filippo de Filippi. Storia della Spedizione Scientifica Italiana nel Himàlaia, Caracorùm e Turchestàn Cinese (1913-1914),” published in 1924, a few years before Roerich painted “Kuan-Yin.”⠀

Here you can find an online archive that has Filippo de Filippi’s full book: http://dsr.nii.ac.jp/toyobunko/VIII-1-A-100/V-1/thumbnail/0001-0100.html.en

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