As goes the famous song by [the famous Russian bard singer] Vladimir Vysotsky: ‘There is one thing that’s better than mountains, and it’s mountains that we haven’t climbed’. But if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain, meaning to the Nicholas Roerich Museum. Why go there? Because this museum is unique for its colours and atmosphere. Hiding inside the old Lopukhin estate in downtown Moscow only a few steps away from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, this Museum will satisfy even the most sophisticated art connoisseur, as Roerich’s heritage is of great importance for the whole Russian culture of the past, present and future centuries.
The Museum is named after Nikolay Roerich – a prominent Russian artist, scenographer, philosopher and writer, and beyond that – a traveler, an archeologist and even the founder of a whole dynasty of artists and cultural figures (his children and grandchildren also went into art, and today the Museum has the status of a cultural centre). Roerich’s creative work reflects his ideas of the ‘Cosmos’, the creative mind, and the harmony between man and the Universe, his search of spiritual enlightenment and divine principles. Being a highly perceptive person, both aesthetically and emotionally, the artist was striving to change the world around him for the better through painting and literary word. Brought to life, his ideas found home in this the halls of this museum. But the way, modern adherents of the New Age philosophy consider the Roerichs – creators of the teaching Living Ethics – to be their forerunners.
Nicholas and his spouse Elena lived a long and full life, finding time for everything from periods of calm and slow-paced life in St. Petersburg to the cultural and educational missionary journeys to Europe and the United States, to the exciting Central Asian and Chinese expeditions. Overall, the Museum has ten thematic exhibit halls each devoted to one of the life path stages of the Roerichs and their sons. Therefore, visitors are given a wonderful opportunity to spend a few hours being immersed in the atmosphere of everyday and cultural life of the 20th century Russian intellectuals. It’s amazing what you can find in these halls: unique materials, personal effects, an extensive photo archive, expedition programmes and maps, artefacts brought from their travels, a collection of antique bronze from the Kullu Valley in India…
Without a doubt, the artist’s paintings hold a special place in the Museum. The name of Nicholas Roerich in Russian art stands deservedly side by side with Mikhail Vrubel and Andrei Rublev. Russian epic poems and fairy tales, architecture and mid-Russian nature, theatre performances, the culture of India and the East – nothing was outside Nicholas Roerich’s scope of interest. The only thing his family never found worth any particular attention was politics: you wouldn’t find the slightest trace of wars and revolutions in his creative work.
The gem of the Museum collection is the series of Himalayan sketches. Looking at them makes you travel to the mountains inside your mind to meet the dawn and watch the sun go down, and to get a feel of the Cosmos and Living Ethics ideas promoted by the Roerichs. Fourteen books on Living Ethics is the major accomplished of Elena Roerich and a source of pride for the whole dynasty. Together with her husband and in collaboration with masters of the east, Elena created a unique fusion of eastern wisdom, western progressive thought and scientific achievements.
Those struggling to grasp all the intricate twists and turns of the Roerichs’ life path and philosophy, as well as the cultural and historical context of their social activity, are invited on a guided tour called ‘The Roerichs’ Life and Creative Heritage’. Those interested in architecture and anthropology can sign up for the ‘Lopukhin Estate’ guided tour. With the status of an international cultural centre, the Nicholas Roerich Museum considers educational activity to be one of its key objectives. As desired by Nicholas’s son, Svetoslav Roerich, every year from October till June for the past twenty years the Lopukhin estate has had a busy schedule of concerts: chamber orchestras are invited from different countries, well-known solo musicians come here to perform, young performers supported by children’s charity organisations make their first steps in these walls. Another interesting project of the International Centre of the Roerichs is the Lecture Hall which anybody is welcome to attend. This Lecture Hall invites experts from different fields of study – teachers, experts of art and culture, academic and public figures – to give talks on any topics as long as they are linked to the Roerichs’ heritage.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com