- READER REVIEWS
The Nicholas Roerich Museum
Tue-Fri, noon-5pm; Sat-Sun, 2pm-5pm; Mon, closed
Nearby Subway Stops
1 at 103rd St.; 1 at Cathedral Pkwy./110th St.
- Nearby Parking Lots
- Street Parking
A testament to the art and ideals of its namesake, this single-artist museum was founded in 1949, two years after Roerich's death. As a bourgeoisie youth in pre-Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roerich briefly studied law but opted to turn his passion for painting into a career. By his early twenties, he was exhibiting work regularly, spending time with composer Rimsky-Korsakov and designing sets and costumes for ballet director Sergei Diaghilev. Later, influenced by his wife Helena (a Buddhist scholar), his art took a spiritual turn. Mostly mid-career religious paintings and colorful landscapes now hang from the brownstone's gallery walls; glass cases filled with artifacts collected on his travels also grace each floor: a terra cotta head, Tibetan teacup holders, a marble Mother Goddess. While living in New York, the Roerichs had established the short-lived Master Institute of United Arts, where painting, design, music and journalism were brought together under one curriculum. The current institution pays tribute to those very origins with its aim to build harmony between artistic, religious and philosophical traditions.Extra
The icon of the museum, three discs surrounded by a circle, is also a symbol of the Roerich Pact, a treaty penned by Roerich to protect artistic and scientific institutions and historic monuments in the Americas. It was approved in 1935 and signed by representatives from twenty-one countries.