Nicholas Roerich. Album, volume 2

Nicholas Roerich
Album, volume 2

The present edition continues the publication of works of the outstanding Russian painter Nicholas Roerich that started off with the first volume[1]. The first volume includes the most significant and, as a rule, well-known and repeatedly published works of Nicholas Roerich; the second one presents mainly his less-known paintings. This way of approach to the compilation of the albums allows us to show most completely the many-sided creativity of Nicholas Roerich, and to give an idea of his artistic heritage maintained in the museum holdings of the world. Consequently, the two volumes comprise about one and a half thousand of his works. Nevertheless, even the present folios do not represent all that was created by the painter.

In the history of the Russian culture the individuality of Nicholas Roerich stands out for breadth of his artistic talent, and so he was often called the universal Roerich.[2] Native of Saint- Petersburg , he studied law at the University, and art with Arkhip Kuinji at the Academy of Fine Arts . At the same time he felt attracted by archaeology, and performed excavatory research work. Stone Age, the ancient Slavs, Russian icon painting, architectonics, coryphaei of the Renaissance, the Orient all met a response in his heart. He became famous as a historical painter and a scenic designer, as a monumental artist and a decorator of Orthodox churches. Besides, he was well-known as an original poet and writer, the author of a great many articles and books in which he appeared as an exceptional thinker. He also was a tireless traveller, an explorer of Asia . He advanced the idea of protecting cultural and scientific establishments and historical monuments, and enunciated it in the international treaty (Roerich's Pact).

The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace Treaty were signed in the White House on April 15, 1935 by the USA and all Latin-American countries. In collaboration with his wife Helena he published a series of books of the teaching on Living Ethics. He spent the last years of his life with his family in India and is remembered as a great Guru and Maharishi.

In the constellation of the prominent Russian painters of the early 20th century N. Roerich possessed an original, inimitable character. In 1919 Leonid Andreyev, a man of insight, wrote on Roerich's artistic skill that amid the visible he unveils the invisible and donates to the humanity not an extension of the old, but quite a new world of perfect beauty! A new world in its wholeness! Yes, it does exist, that perfect world, that realm of Roerich, where he is the only lord and king. Never and nowhere mapped, it is real and exists Roerich is a lone poet of the North.[3] Yes, it was this way. And later this realm expanded considerably both in the physical space and time frames broadwise and skyward and in the humanitarian sphere penetrating to the depth of the human conceptions, insight and prophecy. The idea inspired not only Europe, but also America and Asia . Nicholas Roerich's expeditions covered a distance many thousand kilometers long across unexplored expanses of Siberia , Mongolia , China , Tibet , India ; he crossed deserts, climbed the mountains of the Altai, the Tibet , the Tien Shan, the Himalayas . The beauty of that celestial world, commemorated by the painter on his canvasses, literally captivated the world and made him famous as a second to none Master of mountain scene. Now many people are entering a new world of his art through those very sketches of the Himalayas , though small in size, but so much elevating the human spirit.

The artistic thought of Nicholas Roerich daringly penetrated into cosmos. It was, however, not a mere conquest of lofty spheres, but a kind of spiritual and esthetic aspiration for far-off worlds. His pictorial revelations evolved in unison with the advanced scientific and philosophical ideas of the Russian thinkers-cosmists. Their world-view was featured by the synthesis of the past, the present and the future, of the achievements of their times and the wisdom of ages. They considered the expectations for penetrating into the vastness of the Universe to be a realisation of the ancient prophecy on the coming age of blessing and equity.

Perhaps, the key virtue of the realm of Roerich lay in his insight that all within its frame was united in an inseparable oneness. Such omnitude determined the many-sidedness of Roerich's creative work on the analogy with the famous Titans of the Renaissance Age. His canvasses are not mere objects for feasting admiring eyes on them. The beautiful in them was imbued with an amazingly deep message and an elevating power. They invite the viewers to creative work, to the realisation of the spiritual principia, to the ethical perfection, and aspire them towards the lucid Infinity. One of Nicholas Roerich's latter books is entitled Realm of Light. It is very likely that not Realm of Roerich, but Realm of Light as a definition of greater consciousness illustrates his contribution to the world treasury of culture.

Indeed, in his works the Master creates synthesised images; he generalises the visions of the beautiful, of many races and cultures that have been taking shapes for centuries. In their dreams and hopes, the people turned to the heaven all their inmost desires they cherished in their hearts. These manifestations of tribal consciousness attracted the painter greatly. In the days when personal self-expression was dominating and reached in its efforts the most sophisticated forms, Nicholas Roerich, contrariwise, was not involved in depicting the individual, the ephemeral, but strove to paint in a plain and clear way all that touched people in those days and does the same now. This principle was elevated by him to the planetary level. Nicholas Roerich was a deeply Russian national artist and, at the same time, according to Dostoyevsky, a man with the world-embracing sympathy of the soul. Roerich's creations are as good as ideas and images expressed by means of pictorial art, promoting the world-wide consolidation. This would be a challenge of a singular ethical responsibility and of immense knowledge on the plane of historical and spiritual spheres, to speak in so clear, direct and fair a way in the name of humanity as a whole. Following the principle of integrating the ideas and images, being familiar with the broad historical spectrum of painting styles, Nicholas Roerich preferred a generalised approach which enabled him to be equally persuasive in pictorial expression of his thoughts that were in tune both with the Occident and the Orient, with the contemporary and ancient times.

In the ages past and gone, the early period of the human evolution attracted Nicholas Roerich most of all, as it was the epoch when there existed not only a unifying culture of stone constsructionism, but also the oneness of panhuman feelings.[4] Roerich was so diligent in studying the Stone Age that he collected, analysed, and, with his own hands, excavated priceless artifacts out of the beds of millennial ages. The consequence of such a direct penetration into the depth of times immemorial was his belief in the doubtless existence of the universal planetary consciousness on a new spiral of the historical evolution. We need hardly mention that this aspect appears to be a must for the new age with its global problems facing the humanity. The efforts to solve them bring forward the high-priority matters of mutual understanding, of searching for adequate, concerted actions. According to Nicholas Roerich's conviction, this very process is the only consolidating way: Only on the ground of true beauty, on the ground of real knowledge there will be established relationship between the peoples. And a perfect vehicle for that shall be an international language of knowledge and fine art's beauty.[5] Recognition of beauty, as the painter following F. Dostoyevsky stated, shall save the world.

This summary of genius, matured within the depths of the Russian public thought, found specific forms of visualisation among the figures of culture.

More or less utopian, they embraced, through idea, the entire world, the Universe. Artistic figures of symbolism writers, painters, musicians believed in reformative power of heavenly beauty and dreamed about transfiguration of humanity and recreation of life. Although their daring thoughts did not come true, they, nevertheless, had strong effect upon the planetary conscience. Nicholas Roerich was, perhaps, the one who advanced in this sphere most consistently and thoroughly.

As a rule, humanitarian ideas do not invade the people's minds outright, but do it gradually. So it is with Nicholas Roerich's conceptions, with his art they steadily enter the life, find their adherents, supporters and followers. The Master's pictorial creation is persuasive, because it is based on all that which is time-proven and cannot disappear in the mould of time, and will succeed the ideals of beauty, which have been created by people through centuries. The philosophy perfectly expressed by him through his artistic genius, embraces the ethical principles of world religions, the wisdom of millennia, and the achievements of modern times, and shall undoubtedly win the world and show the humanity the way to Light.

The destiny of Nicholas Roerich's works and of his extensive pictorial heritage suffered unhappy, sometimes tragic turns. Both world wars and revolutions did not spare some of the Master's notable paintings. Toward the end of his life, he wrote: Many pictures of mine are said to be lost. From the Academy there was perished Call of the Ser-pent ; the same thing happened to Campaign, Unkrada, Building the Walls, Svyatogor and others. They are considered to be vanished, but who knows for certain? The ways of things are so wonderful. Collecting works created by Masters of the Old, we would happen to come across so elegant a dance of life.[6]

Apart from the losses, in the picture market there appeared fabrications of paintings. Of course, as is the case with the heritage of every famous painter, the problem of authenticity is of great importance for Roerich's works. The painter himself stated: I happened to see several feigned copies even before the war. I remember a very big picture composed, rather wittily, of the fragments of different works of mine. An unhappy collector who asked me to favour his purchase felt aggrieved immensely. Dear friends, someone or other may offer imitations of that kind to the museum. Mind and be careful. Too often I happened to see both pictures and clear albums ascribed falsely.[7]

As early as in 1920s, in anticipation of Great Depression, Nicholas Roerich wrote: The humanity faces the events of cosmic magnitude Amid the heaps of depreciated money the humanity gained a treasure of global significance. The values of great art overcome triumphantly all the storms of earthly disturbances.[8]Things are the same now, in the days of the world financial crisis, the market-value of fine art works tends to go up. In recent years, the collectors here and there show still more and more interest in Russian masters, and especially in Nicholas Roerich's heritage, and that is why it is difficult to say in what parts of the world, in whose hands his works have settled. Recently many paintings have migrated from America to Russia . At all events, the Samara Publishing House made efforts to embrace the great collections known today, and to ask the owners to participate in this edition. A comprehensive catalogue raisonn e , of N. Roerich's works is to be included in the third volume.

The present album offers collections arranged in sequent order, and, according to the purpose, they had to be presented in full body. However, a substantial part of the pictures had already gone into the first volume. As a result, a great collection of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York is represented by fewer works, since a greater part was included in the preceding folio.

The authentication of Nicholas Roerich's works has been executed in accordance with the artist's lists, museum documents and the data received from private collectors.

The second volume of the Album edition on Nicholas Roerich was prepared due to the active co-operation of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York (Director Daniel Entin), as well as the Moscow Gallery Fine Arts Academy (Director Andrian Melnikov), and the St. Petersburg State Museum and Institute of the Roerich Family (Director Aleksey Bondarenko). The publication was realised with the assistance of the International Roerich Centre, the State Museum of Oriental Art, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum , other museums in Russia , and the owners of private collections as well. Their voices are sure to be perceived in the entries that prelude the chapters dedicated to particular collections. The Album was printed and bound by the Italian firm L.E.G.O.


Yevgeny Matochkin

Volume 2: Album, 496 pages.

Volume first will be sold in the present box.

Languages: Russian and English.

Format: A3


To buy the first volume of Roerich's album, click here

For wholesale orders, please write to or call +7 (846) 270-20-11


[1] Nicholas Roerich, 2008 Agni Publishing House, Samara; Fine Arts Academy Gallery, Moscow; Kunstberatung Art Center, Zurich.

[2] Diary Leaves, V.3. P. 191

[3] The Russian Life, Helsingfors. March, 1919. Quot. from: Realm of Roerich, 1994. P. 9798

[4] Quot. from Nerushimoe, 1991. P. 192

[5] Quot. from: Paths of Blessing. P. 91

[6] Quot. from: Altai-Himalayas. P. 287

[7] Ibidem

[8] Quot. from Paths of Blessing. P. 150

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Dear Sirs!
Agni Publishing House (Samara, Russia), Nicholas Roerich Museum (New York) and Fine Arts Academy Gallery (Moscow, Russia) have published a unique album, dedicated to the pictorial heritage of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947).

Nicholas Roerich. Album, volume 2Will be available on the second volume of a unique publication dedicated to the works of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947).
The album was released by the publishing house "Agni" (Samara), with active cooperation of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York, as well as the Moscow Gallery Fine Arts Academy and the St. Petersburg State Museum and Institute of the Roerich Family.