Nicholas Roerich

    Nicholas Roerich

    Nicholas Roerich was born on 9 October 1874 in Russia. Roerich did his studies in St. Petersburg and grew up there. He was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, and theosophist, considered by some in Russia to be an enlightener and philosopher. Nicholas was not Himachali but he spent a lot of his time in Himachal and he also died in Naggar Kullu Himachal Pradesh.

    Nicholas Roerich Biography

    Roerich’s father was from Germany and his mother was from Russia. His paintings are said to have a hypnotic expression. He lived in various places of the world but spent most of his time in Himachal, India. He had a deep attachment to Himachal Pradesh. Nicholas made many paintings of the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. Nicholas Roerich, also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich. In his youth, he was influenced by Russian Symbolism, a movement focused on the spiritual in Russian society. He was interested in hypnosis and other spiritual practices. Roerich was trained as an artist and a lawyer. His main interests were in literature, philosophy, archeology, and especially the arts.

    Roerich was a dedicated activist for the preservation of art and architecture during wartime. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In April 1935 the so-called Roerich Pact was signed by the United States and most of the other countries of the Pan-American Union. It was one of the earliest international instruments to protect cultural property.

    In 1910 he became a member of Sergei Diaghilev’s “World of Art” society”. He is recognized as the most talented painter of the ancient past of Russia of his generation. His most famous designs were for Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor. Roerich created dozens of paintings depicting fortresses, monasteries, churches, and other monuments. Both Roerich and his wife became avid readers of the Vedantic essays of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore, and the Bhagavad Gita. The influence of Buddhism and other mystical themes can be seen in Roerich’s paintings.

    Roerich’s Family in Kullu Himachal

    Roerich came to India with his family and 6 friends and visited Sikkim, Punjab, Ladakh, and Himachal Pradesh. When he started his Asian tour, it is said that he started from Tibet. And in 1927 he was attacked in Tibet. He himself wrote that despite having a Tibetan passport, the expedition was forcibly stopped by the Tibetan authorities. They were detained by the government for five months and forced to live in tents in sub-zero conditions and live on meager rations. After leaving Tibet in March 1928, he settled in Himachal. And there he also established the Himalayan Research Institute.

    Later Life

    Roerich was in India during World War II. Roerich’s home was in Kullu where he invited Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi in 1942. It is said that they had a very good friendship. Indira Gandhi also later recalled many days spent with Roerich’s family. And he was also discussed a lot. Indira Gandhi said that Roerich was a man of immense knowledge and vast experience, a man with a big heart. She was very impressed with him. Roerich died on December 13, 1947 in Kullu. Helena Roerich wrote about this day: “The day of the cremation was extraordinarily beautiful. There was not even a gust of wind and all the surrounding mountains were covered with fresh snow.


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