Roerich Museum, branch of the State Museum of the East, Moscow, Russia

The Roerich Museum is a museum in Moscow dedicated to the life and art of the Roerich family. The opening of the museum took place in 2016 in the Lopukhins estate, built in the XVII – XIX centuries. It is a branch of the State Museum of the East. He has one of the largest collections of paintings by Nikolay and Svyatoslav Roerichs in Russia, as well as the largest archive fund in Russia on the activities of the Roerichs’ family.

Overview
The Roerich Museum (a branch of the State Museum of the East) was created in February 2016 by decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. With its creation, the long-standing desire of Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich to convey the heritage of the Roerich family to the entire people of the USSR, whose successor is modern Russia, is fulfilled.

The museum has many tasks, among which the main ones are the preservation and presentation of the diverse artistic, cultural and philosophical heritage of the Roerich family.

Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich and members of his family made an invaluable contribution to Russian and world culture (art, science, philosophy).

The museum’s collection includes more than 800 paintings and drawings by Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich and his son Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich, a large collection of various works of decorative art from Russia, India, China, Mongolia, Egypt and other countries, memorial items of the Roerich family. The museum stores an extensive archive fund of the literary heritage of the entire Roerich family, as well as documents on the life and work of these remarkable people, including materials from the work of numerous Roerich institutions and organizations.

The museum holds exhibitions, organizes scientific seminars and conferences, round tables on current topics of Roerich studies, art history, preservation of cultural monuments, ecology. The museum has a lecture hall in which not only museum staff will speak, but guest lecturers, whose performances may be of interest to a wide audience.

A library is being prepared for opening, in which there will be books on Roerich subjects and on the art of the East, primarily on Hindu and Buddhist art, as well as on the history of religion.

Among the tasks facing the museum is to make a modern electronic version of the richest archive of the Roerich family and provide free access to it.

The museum seeks to find contact with young visitors, attract them with special excursions, instill a love of creativity in master classes.

Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich has repeatedly said that the museum should be a living organism, the activity of which should be aimed at enlightenment. In our work, we intend to be guided by the museum legislation of the Russian Federation and the principles that Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich bequeathed.

History
The Roerich Museum (a branch of the State Museum of the East ) was created in February 2016 by decision of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. Since mid-2017, it has been located in the Lopukhins Manor. The museum’s collection includes more than 800 paintings by Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich and his son Svyatoslav Nikolaevich Roerich, a large collection of various works of decorative art from Russia, India, China, Mongolia, Egypt and other countries, memorial items of the Roerich family.

Building
The museum is located in the estate of the XVII-XIX centuries, previously owned by the Lopukhins. It is based on a building erected by decree of Fedor Lopukhin in 1689 on lands donated to him for service. After the execution of Evdokia Lopukhina in 1718, the estate was confiscated and used to contain captive officers of the Northern War. In 1721, the building was transferred to the businessman Ivan Tames, who placed a linen factory on the territory. In 1728, Peter II returned the ownership of buildings to the Lopukhins family.

After the 1917 revolution, the estate was nationalized, and then used as work premises. In the 1920s, a branch of the Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Museum was located in the rooms, and after the compaction policy began, communal apartments. From 1965 to 1990, the house was a trust of the Ministry of Heavy Engineering. In 1990, the building was transferred to the Soviet Roerich Foundation and the Museum of Nicholas Roerich. From 1991 to 2017, the building housed the International Center of the Roerichs.

Museum
In 1987, Svyatoslav Roerich first raised the question of the need to create a museum where his family’s artistic heritage will be kept. Having received the approval of the Moscow authorities, in 1989, he chose the Lopukhins mansion in Maly Znamensky Lane as a platform for the exposition. In the same year, the “Soviet Roerich Foundation” was created, the founders of which were many legal entities, which subsequently caused litigation over the heritage of artists. In 1990, the heir to the family handed over to the foundation a collection of paintings, archival documents and personal belongings.

After the death of Svyatoslav Roerich in 1993, his wife Devik Rani Roerich submitted a request to the Russian government to organize the Roerich Museum in the Lopukhins estate as a branch of the Museum of the East. On November 4 of that year, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed a decree “On the Creation of the State Museum of N. K. Roerich,” according to which the Museum of the East will open its branch in the premises of the Lopukhins estate .

Due to funding problems and the instability of political power, the museum could not be opened at the right time, and the public organization International Center of the Roerichs was located in the estate. The patron Boris Bulochnik became the owner of the center, on the initiative of which a complete reconstruction of the mansion building was carried out. Part of the money for the restoration of the interior was collected by the public. In 1997, the Nicholas Roerich Museum was opened at the center, the first director of which was Orientalist Lyudmila Shaposhnikova .

Litigation
Beginning in the 2000s, a lawsuit began between the Museum of the East and the center to challenge the right to own a collection of paintings by Nikolai and Svyatoslav Roerichs and occupy the Lopukhins mansion. Both organizations were co-founders of the Soviet Roerich Foundation, which allowed them to apply for a collection of artists. So, the center disputed the 282 paintings included in the museum, exhibited in a traveling exhibition of Svyatoslav Roerich in the 1980s. After the artist’s death, the collection remained ownerless and the collection of works was transferred to the museum for storage.

The Roerich Museum was founded in 2016 by order of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation as a branch of the Museum of the East. In late 2016 – early 2017, the International Center of the Roerichs left the premises of the Lopukhins estate. In 2017, by a court order, the Museum of the East seized about two hundred works from the International Center of the Roerichs, which after that were arrested for about a year and not exhibited. According to the latest court decisions, since 2018 the center has lost the right to claim the legacy of the Soviet Roerich Foundation. Along with this, he lost the right to own paintings .

Collections
The collection consists of more than 800 art and graphic works of Nicholas and Svyatoslav Roerichs. The museum presents a collection of objects of decorative art of Russia, Mongolia, Egypt and India, memorial items, as well as an extensive archival fund of the literary heritage of the Roerich family, which includes documents of Roerich institutions and organizations.

The collection was formed on the basis of several sources: a gift to the Museum of the East by art historian Katherine Campbell (1977, 1979), a collection of paintings by Nikolai and Svyatoslav Roerichs that entered the Museum of the East in 1993, as well as a collection of the former Soviet Roerich Foundation entered the museum in 2017.

Exhibitions and events

“Light from the East” (2017) – an exhibition in which more than 60 works by Nikolai and Svyatoslav Roerichs were presented.

“The Roerichs Legacy and the Oriental Vector of Russian Culture” (2017) is a scientific conference in which about 200 people from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan Oblast, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Penza, Rostov-on-Don, Ryazan took part, Sochi, Ufa, Chelyabinsk region, as well as from Belarus, Israel, USA, Switzerland, Sweden.

“Nicholas Roerich. Ascent ”(2018) – an exhibition of 190 works by Nicholas Roerich from the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Museum of the East. Ten paintings gave Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York, among whom were two landmark works as “Madonna Oriflame” and “Saint Francis of Assisi “.

“India. My country is beautiful ”(2018) – an exhibition of 30 works by Svyatoslav Roerich.

“Creativity of Nicholas and Svyatoslav Roerichs” (May 2018) is a new permanent exhibition, which included the memorial cabinet of Nicholas Roerich.

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