Roerich: between Russia and Tibet to a hidden treasure in New York city by Misha Lyuve

Feb 3, 2011

Roerich Museum, New York city

Some place on the 107th st in New York city there is a small cottage that feels more like a cozy living space than a traditional museum. It is dedicated to the work of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), a famous Russian painter, philosopher, writer, traveler, and public figure, who left behind over 7000 painting and 30 literary works among other contributions.   

Madonna Oriflamma with Banner of Peace. 1932

While extensively traveling in Russia, Roerich observed how ancient monuments, churches and other historic objects were much neglected and saw a need to have cultural treasures protected in an organized way. It took him many years and continents, but in 1935 this idea was realized in Roerich pact, a treaty among pan-American countries that used a flag (Banner of Peace) to mark the protected historic monuments, especially during the war times. The treaty is still in force.  

Roerich and his family have done very extensive expeditions through India, Bhutan, Tibet, China and Mongolia. And I am looking back 100 years ago, when there were no planes, paved roads, fleece or gortex – but nothing could stop these people to follow their calling to visit far lands to explore them, to learn from them and share them with others. I guess I should stop complaining about the inconveninces of modern travel.  

The works of Roerich are dreamy and rich from saints to glorious mountain views to churches to nature and full of meaning and story and spirit – see for yourself:    

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  1. Misha Tismenetsky

    Roerich used tempera pain and he has most amazing colors that are truly his own. He must have spent lots of time mixing all those pigments and discovering new combinations.

  2. Scott Hogan

    Hi Misha! I’m glad SOMEONE is talking about this treasure on the Upper West Side. I lived 2 blocks from this place when I first moved to NYC. Roerich’s paintings always touched me on so many levels. He was a Warrior of Light and his life exemplified this, connecting with so many great artists and minds of his time. I keep telling a certain friend of mine ;’) to get her a** up there and check this place out because I know she’ll be blown away by these paintings and his travels. Maybe when she gets back from her very own epic journey to mystical lands she’ll go. Cheers.

  3. Armand

    Truly a Hidden treasure!
    They also have music series, thats how I discovered it.

  4. Inna

    I remember Roerich exhibition being brought in Lvov back in my school days. I vividly remember those paintings like it was yesterday. I could not leave, wanted to stay and just look at those paintings… I had no idea we have his museum in the City!

  5. Ruth Drayer

    Once I spent hours sitting and watching some peacocks courting their peahens. When they put out their display of tail feathers, some little feathers shoot out from below the display to support the weight — and they make a silent little hissing noise. Little known fact of nature.