Peace Monuments Related to
Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947], also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh, was a Russian painter, philosopher, scientist, writer, traveler, and public figure. He created about 7,000 paintings (many of which are exhibited in well-known museums of the world) and about 30 literary works. He initiated the International Pact for the Protection of Artistic and Scientificc Institutions and Historic Sites (Roerich’s Pact) and was a founder of international movement for culture defense (Banner of Peace). Roerich received several nominations for the Nobel Prize.
Click here for a Roerich chronology.
Click here for quotes by and about Roerich.
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October 9, 1874 - Birth of Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947], St. Petersburg (Russia). Roerich in translation from ancient Scandinavian means “rich of fame” (Rö Rich). February 12, 1879 - Birth of Helena Shaposhnikov [1879-1955], St. Petersburg (Russia). She will marry Nicholas Roerich on October 28, 1901, and have two sons: George Roerich [1902-1960], a scientist & expert on Tibet, & Svetoslav Roerich [1904-1993], an artist who won the Grand Prix of the Sesquicentennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1926 & married Devika Rani [1908-1994] -- "First Lady of the Indian Screen" -- after 1940.
1920 - Agni Yoga Society. 319 West 107th Street, New York City, New York (USA). Founded by Nicholas Roerich and his wife Helena Roerich [1879-1955]. "The followers of Agni Yoga believe that the teaching was given to the Roerich family and their associates by Master Morya, the guru of H. P. Blavatsky [1831-1891], a founder of the Theosophical Society."
December 2, 1923 - Central Asian Expedition. Starting in Mumbai (India), N. Roerich and his family traveled to remote areas of Central Asia 1923-1928, including "Sikkim, Kashmir, Ladakh, China (Sintzian), Russia (including Moscow), Siberia, Altai, Mongolia, Tibet, and unstudied areas of the Trans Himalayas... Roerich was attracted not only as a painter, but as a scientist interested in a number of problems related to ancient peoples’ world migrations, and search for a common source of Slavic and Indian cultures." Click here for the Roerich Museum in Ulan Bator (Mongolia). Image is one of Roerich's many paintings of the Himalayas.
March 24, 1924 - First Roerich Museum. 310 Riverside Drive, New York City, New York (USA). "At the time, the only museum in America dedicated to the work of a single artist. Soon afterwards, this mansion was demolished, and in its place in 1929 was built a 29-storey skyscraper, called Master Building (see below)."
July 1928 - Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati” (“Light of the Morning Star”), Kullu Valley, Hall Estate, Naggar, Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh (India). Founded by Nicholas Roerich. Directed for ten years by his son, "Tibetologist" George Roerich [1902-1960] who spoke 30 languages. Now the Internatioanl Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT).
October 1929 - Roerich "Skyscraper-Museum," Master Building, Riverside Drive, New York City, New York (USA). "On the first three floors were situated all the Roerich Institutions, including the Museum, and on all the other floors were apartments for rent to students, teachers, and anyone who wanted to be part of a cultural community." Designed by Harvey Wiley Corbett [1873-1954], the skyscraper "is uniquely graduated in tone from deep purple at the base to white at the top, symbolizes 'growth,' houses more than 1,000 of Prof. Roerich's exotic paintings, is dedicated to international culture, world peace." Click here for a colorful account of the museum's official opening in Time Magazine. Click here for more information. Museum ended in 1938 (see below). N.B. In 1921, Corbett designed the Peace Arch (qv) between British Columbia (Canada) & Washington state (USA).
1929 - "In 1929, N. Roerich in collaboration with doctor of international law from Paris University G.G. Chklaver prepared a draft of an agreement dedicated to protection of cultural values (Roerich’s Pact). Coupled with the Pact Roerich proposed a distinctive sign for identification of protected objects – Banner of Peace which was a white cloth containing a red ring and three red circles inscribed in it. The sign symbolized a unity of the past, present and future into the ring of eternity. In 1929, N. Roerich was nominated for Nobel price for his international cultural activity and Pact initiation."
1931 - "Pax Cultura" by Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947]. Where is this painting today?
1932 - " Madonna Oriflamma / The Lady of scarlet flame," Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York City, New York (USA). Tempera on canvas. 173.5 x 99.5 cm. By Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947].
Poem by Nicholas Roerich. "Flowers of Moria. The Lady of the Banner of Peace:""The Lady of the Banner of Peace! Upon You, Our Lady, we set our hopes. Who will raise the Sign of Peace, The Sign of the Preservation of Heavenly Treasures? Who, if not You, will help us To raise the Banner, the Sign of creation for the sake of people? The sea is rough, and whirlwinds are destructive, But You’ll raise the Banner And fill people’s hearts With the consciousness of the sacred Spirit. You know that this Sign must not be put off, You know what destructions the earth has survived, You know how the best things are defamed, The things which are indispensable for people."
August 1932 - Second international conference (assembly?) for the Roerich Pact, Grand Hotel, Bruges (Belgium). Image shows five delegates in the street under a Pax Cultura banner.
November 17, 1933 - 3rd International Conference of the Roerich Pact & Banner of Peace, Washington, DC (USA).
April 15, 1935 - Signing of the International Pact for the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Sites (Roerich's Pact), White House, Washington, DC (USA). "Signed with the participation of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The first international act especially devoted to the protection of cultural values. Originally ratified by 21 countries of the American continent [sic]. Later validated by 15 more countries." Click here for the text of the treaty. See 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
June 1935 - Roerich "Skyscraper Museum," 310 Riverside Drive, New York City, New York (USA). "Two months after signing the Roerich Pact in the White House, when the activities of the Roerich Institutions seemed to be at a peak of success, Louis Horch, who had concentrated in his hands all the financial aspects of the Museum’s activities, declared his disappointment in Roerich and undertook open measures to seize the Museum. As wrote Sinaida Fosdick, 'The court cases lasted for several years… In April, 1938, Horch secretly took out from the Museum, during the night, all 1006 paintings of Roerich, all valuable art pieces, books and other editions published during these years, as well as important materials and archives. In the end of the 1940 the court pronounced its judgment, unprecedented in its cynicism, in Horch’s favor, though both the Museum and the paintings were presented as a gift to American nation, and this was widely discussed in the press at that time, and in the Museum’s publications, and in a special letter to the President of the United States. The directors who were struggling to defend the Museum and Roerich’s work managed to save and take out some archives and documents. It was impossible to stay any longer in the skyscraper building, and the co-workers left it.'"
1942 - "Meeting with Nicholas Roerich's [sic], Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi in the Roerich estate in Kullu, India. Rright: M. Yunus."
1947 - "The Roerich Pact and the Banner of Peace," published by the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace Committee, New York, City, New York (USA). Click here for on-line version of this 56-page publication.
December 13, 1947 - Death of Nicholas Roerich (age 73), Kullu, Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh (India). "His body was cremated and its ashes buried on a slope facing the mountains he loved and portrayed in many of his nearly seven thousand works." Image shows Roerich with his family in Kullu.
1949 - Nicholas Roerich Museum, 319 West 107th Street (Upper West Side), New York City, New York (USA). Occupies house built in 1898. Click here for a good description of the museum (and its predecessor) written by a visiting Russian.
April 21-May 14, 1954 - Intergovernmental Conference for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague (Netherlands). "Drew up & adopted the Hague Convention of 1954 & the further Acts. 56 States were represented... Following the signature of the Roerich Pact by the American states in 1935, attempts were undertaken to draft a more comprehensive convention for the protection of monuments & works of art in time of war. In 1939, a draft convention, elaborated under the auspices of the International Museums Office, was presented to governments by the Netherlands. On account of the outbreak of World War II, no further steps could be taken. After the war, a new proposal was submitted to UNESCO by the Netherlands in 1948. The General Conference of UNESCO in 1951 decided to convene a committee of government experts to draft a convention. This committee met in 1952 & thereafter submitted its drafts to the General Conference." /// As of 2013, the convention has been ratified by 126 states. The USA ratified in 2008 (54 years after its original adoption).
October 5, 1955 - Death of Helena Shaposhnikov Roerich (age 76), Kalimpong, West Bengal (India). "H. Roerich always strived to come back to Russia, [but] her applications were not answered. Despite all refusals, Helena Roerich [still] hoped to come back, to bring all collected by her treasures [sic], and, for at least a few years, to work for the Best Country – [which] is how she called Russia." Image is a 1937 portrait now at the Roerich Museum in Moscow (Russia).
April 12, 1961 - Record from the log book of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin [1934-1968], the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth: "Rays transparent through Earth atmosphere, horizon became brightly-orange, gradually turned into all rainbow colors: blue, dark blue, purple, black. Unspeakable color range! Like at the canvas of the painter Nicholas Roerich."
1978 - Center for Peace through Culture (CPC), New York City, New York (USA). Center for Peace through Culture was first founded in 1978 in New York City and, subsequently, other branches were founded in San Francisco, California. San Antonio, Texas, Monterey, Massachusetts and Toronto, Canada. It was established as a non-profit organization to promote global peace through fostering collaborative projects among artists, scientists and philosophers.
1984 - Nicholas Roerich Estate Museum, Izvara Village, Volosovo District, Leningrad Region (Russia).
Date? - Comité Internacional de la Bandera de la Paz / International Committee for the Banner of Peace, Mexico City? (Mexico). "Founded by the celebrated artist, Nicolas K. Roerich, and continued by [Mexican] Dr. Alice Rodriguez. A non-profit association that has been distinguished by the United Nations for it’s peace work in various countries. It represents no religion or political ideology. It’s message is one of INTEGRATION AND PEACE, with the purpose of achieving UNITY IN DIVERSITY. Its labor consists in spreading and making known the message of the Banner of Peace and its founder, Professor Nicolas K. Roerich."
1986 - Stamp for the UN International Year of Peace (Mexico). Shows the Banner of Peace of Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947].
1989? - Kambanite / Bells ("Banner of Peace" Monument), Sofia (Bulgaria). Contains bells from all over the world. Dedicated to the well being and happiness of children everywhere. "The international 'Banner of Peace' movement dates back to 1979, when the First Children’s Assembly 'Banner of Peace' was held in Sofia in dedication to the International Year of the Child (IYC). By 1989, four assemblies and four meetings of children from all over the world have been held in Sofia. Altogether, 3,900 kids from 138 countries and 14,000 children from Bulgaria have taken part. The movement’s motto is 'Unity, Creativity, Beauty,' while its basic principle is 'Anyone can be a creator in the Peace Assembly.'" See Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947].
1990? - Museum by Name of Nicholas Roerich, International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR), 3\5 Maly Znamensky, Moscow (Russia).
1998 - Charitable Foundation by Name of Helena Roerich (Russia). "Established in 1998 to finance the programs for popularization the Roerichs' legacy (transferred by Svetoslav Roerich to The International Center of the Roerichs in 1990) and cultural programs working for spiritual revival of Russia's Peoples."
October 9, 1999 - Statues of Helena and Nicholas Roerich, at the entrance to the Museum of N. Roerich, Moscow (Russia). Erected during the jubilee celebrations of the 125th anniversary of N. Roerich and of the 120th anniversary of Helena Roerich.
January 8, 2000 - "V. Chukov (Russia), V. Drabo (Belarus), and worker of the American Pole Station 'Amundsen-Scott' with the Banner of Peace on the South Pole."
March 10, 2000 - Odessa Roerich House Museum, Odessa (Ukraine). "Founded by Odessa Roerich Pact Committee (established 1990) & Nicholas Roerich South-Ukrainian Fund. The main task of the Museum is to study and promote the cultural heritage of the Roerich family: Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), artist, writer & public figure; Helena Roerich (1879-1955), his wife, philosopher, writer & translator; George Roerich (1902-1963), their eldest son, linguist, orientalist, archaeologist, art critic & historian; Svyatoslav Roerich (1904-1993), their younger son, artist & scientist. In our work we follow the principles set up by Nicholas Roerich when he created the first Roerich Museum in New York (1923). We seek and offer the widest possible cooperation with all cultural, scientific and public organizations all over the world. The Museum's collection consists of posters of Nicolas Roerich & Svyatoslav Roerich paintings, original paintings of Boris Smirnov-Rusetsky (disciple of Nicolas Roerich), the works of the famous Russian artist A.V. Fonvizin & his disciple V.L.Yasnopolskaya (the wife of B.A. Smirnov-Rusetsky)."
2001-2002 School Year - "Westwood's Peace Monument", Westwood Elementary School, near Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Canada). Third grade students of class 3D make a classroom monument using virtually every symbol of peace: Dove, crane, CND peace symbol, Banner of Peace, V-sign, torch, biracial handshake. They also search the World Wide Web and post other peace monuments. Click here to see the results.
April 3, 2004 - "Agni Yoga school and Roerich museum in the Spanish city Bilbao [are] 26 years [sic]. This wonderful place is situated in the picturesque North of Spain among mountains and magnificent vegetation of coniferous woods. It seems, that nature itself disposes to spiritual conversations on themes of Living Ethics."
October 25, 2004 - "Presentation of the Banner of Peace, who visited on board the space station 'Mir', the Speaker of the Parliament of India, Shri Somnath Chatterjee on the occasion of 100 anniversary of Svetoslav Roerich [1904-1993]. Left to right: [Cosmonaut] S[ergei] Zalyotin, [Cosmonaut] V[iktor] Afanasyev, Shri Somnath Chatterjee, [Filmmaker] Yuri Vorontsov." Inscription on banner: "Inauguration of Roerichs Museum & Arts Club, October 25, 2004, Roerich Centre of Science & Culture, New Delhi."
October 7, 2007 - Nicholas Roerich Museum, Novosibirsk, Siberia (Russia). "Carries out extensive cultural and educational activities: exhibitions, literary and musical slaydprogrammy, social and scientific conferences , round tables, concerts. In the museum exhibition includes photographs from the archives of the Roerich family of Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York, reproductions of paintings of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich, as well as temporary exhibitions of other artists , various other exhibits. [Google translation]"
June 25, 2009 - Peace Bell, Nicholas Roerich Museum, Novosibirsk, Siberia (Russia). "Reminds the humanity about their unity and inspires them to maintain peace on the Planet and protect the unique beauty of the Earth. Peace Bell symbolizes universality, solidarity, harmony and constructive endeavors of people of the whole world. Besides it fosters people to actively participate in preservation of nature, life, and culture heritage on our Planet... In Russia this tradition has been promoted and patronized since 1998 by Anatoly Nikolayevich Berezovoi, Soviet Cosmonaut, Hero of the Soviet Union [sic]." Information courtesy of Ekaterina Gracheva.
July 19, 2009 - Jardin Roerich / Roerich Garden, Mile End, St-Viateur, Montreal, Quebec (Canada). "Red clover and bee balm in the shape of a 20-foot wide Roerich symbol -- the symbol of cultural preservation which was placed on the roofs of schools, museums, and historical monuments during WWII to deter aerial bombers. Emily Rose Michaud, the artist behind the Roerich Garden – which has grown from art project, to gardening collective, to political statement – says her work is a message to the community and city officials that this meadow is culturally meaningful." Please email your comments & questions to geovisual at comcast.net. Thank you.
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