Nicholas Roerich Museum – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura
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New York, New York

Nicholas Roerich Museum

This small New York museum celebrates the mountainous artwork of a Russian mystic. 

The Nicholas Roerich Museum is entirely dedicated to the work of the celebrated Russian-born artist.

Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) was an extremely prolific painter, as well as a writer and a philosopher. He gained considerable fame due to his cutting-edge collaborations with Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballet Russes, which included the set and costume designs for Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” (“The Rite of Spring”).

Roerich’s interest in Eastern religions and occult mysticism greatly influenced his creative output, and he explored many mystic themes throughout his artistic career. After emigrating from Russia following the 1917 February Revolution, Roerich moved with his family to Finland, and later to the United States. Finally, in 1923, his interest in Theosophical mysticism brought him to India, the first of a series of expeditions into uncharted regions of Nepal, Tibet, and Altai. There, Roerich studied the culture and religions of the native peoples. Roerich and his family eventually settled in the Himalayan foothills, where he established The Urusvati Institute.

Many of Roerich’s paintings demonstrate his passion for Eastern cultures and his own mythic beliefs. In all, Roerich created about 4,000 works, many of which focus on his Himalayan surroundings. Over 200 of these are featured at the Nicholas Roerich Museum of New York.