The Four Roerichs
The Artist, Scientist (Archaeologist, Historian), Philosopher, Humanist, Traveler, Public Figure, Writer. N.Roerich was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on October 9, 1874. His creative heritage is enormous – more than 7.000 paintings scattered all over the world, countless literary works – books, essays, articles.
His deep love for world culture has materialized in the unfurling of the Roerich International Banner of Peace – The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace. Its main task was to guard and protect the lofty monuments of artistic and scientific institutions and collections of the creative spirit of human genius from the havoc of war and acts of barbarity. The Pact was signed in 1935, April 15 in Washington by 21 countries in the presence of F.Roosevelt.
Under N.Roerich leadership, several institutions and organizations have been founded around the world, with the avowed purpose of promoting art and culture.
After returning from their famous Central Asiatic Expedition, N.Roerich with his family settled in India, Naggar, Kullu Valey, The Himalayas Research Institute. There he spent almost 20 years and on December 13, 1947, he passed away. In place of the funeral fire, a big rectangular stone was installed on which the following inscription was carved:
«Here, on December 15, 1947, the body of Maharishi Nicholas Roerich – a great Russian friend of India – was committed to fire. Let there be peace».
Apostle of Beauty. Messenger of Culture, mighty Warrior of the Spirit, Master of Himalayas – thus was Nicholas Roerich called by some of his eminent contemporaries.
Nicholas Roerich called Helena «inspirer» and «friendess». She was the first to whom he showed each new painting, and he highly appreciated her artistic intuition and subtle taste. Behind each Nicholas Roerich creative act, behind his verses and fairy-tales, behind his paintings and trips – there would always be Helena.
Helena Roerich (Shaposhnikova) was born on February 12, 1879, in St.Petersburg, Russia. From her early age, she could read and write in three languages, took serious interest in literature and philosophy. After finishing the Mariinsky Gymnasium and receiving musical education, she had a brilliant pianist career ahead, but life decided differently.
Destiny brought the two pure souls of Nicholas Roerich and Helena Shaposhnikova together, they got married in 1901.
Helena Roerich laboured quietly and invisibly, always being behind her illustrious husband. And he painted «She Who Leads» - thus creating an incomparable monument to his wife – his companion, advisor and guiding star on all his paths and endeavors.
A deep thinker, Helena Roerich wrote two books on Eastern philosophy, «Foundations of Buddhism» and «On Eastern Crossroads». She undertook a giant work of translating into Russian «The Sacred Doctrine» of H.P.Blavatsky.
Under spiritual guidance of her Indian Master between 1920 and 1940, she created a glorious series of The Living Ethics, or The Agni Yoga which deals with the problems of the cosmic evolution of humanity. It is a synthesis of the spiritual, philosophical and scientific teachings – the quintessence of timeless ancient wisdom. And also, a practical guide for those who wish to broaden their consciousness, and labour selflessly for the Common Benefit of Mankind.
The books of the Living Ethics were translated into more than 12 languages and have thousands of followers all over the world. Helena Roerich had a great number of disciples around the globe and carried out incessant correspondence with them on the Teachings and purpose of life. It embraces nine volumes of her letters.
One of the most renowned orientalists of the 20th century.
George Roerich, the elder son of Nicholas and Yelena Roerich, was born on August 16, 1902, in Okulovka, Novgorod region of Russia.
With his younger brother Svetoslav, he accompanied their parents in their expeditions around Russia. At the age of 21 he started his independent research work and at 23 published his first book, «Tibetan Paintings».
On July 24, 1928, the Roerichs initiated the Himalayan Research Institute in India, called «Urusvati», which means «Light of the Morning Star». George Roerich became the Director of the Institute and the main Editor of its Journal.
The Himalayan Institute blazed new trails. There were carried on investigations in the fields of biology, botany, bio-chemistry, pharmacology, astrophysics etc. and local expeditions. George Roerich established cultural relations with more than 200 universities and institutions around the world.
Dr. George Roerich returned to Russia (USSR) in 1957, to continue his scientific work in the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow, and within three years founded a new direction of Tibetology, Indian Philology.
It was the Man with more than 20 languages, highest erudition and first-hand experience of the East, dedicated to the ideals of his parents.
These are just a few features of George Roerich.
«Some appraised Svetoslav in Art, some appreciated him in life, some admired him in Art and Life», wrote the Indian press about Svetoslav Roerich at the end of 1940`s.
Svetoslav Roerich, the younger son of Nicholas and Helena Roerich, was born on October 23, 1904, in St.Petersburg. He was a great Artist who brought to mankind an inspiring message of Beauty through his wondrous paintings. He was a profound and original philosopher who gave a fine synthesis of the Eastern and Western thought and realized in his own life all the moral maxims he preached.
An earnest explorer who was closely connected with many scientific institutions, an educator-humanist who was closely connected with numerous cultural organizations and concerned about the future of mankind, about a more perfect generation.