Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

International Non-Governmental Organization | Special consultative status with UN ECOSOC
Associate member with UN DPI | Institutional member of International Council of Museums (ICOM)
Member of pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage EUROPA NOSTRA | Associate member with INTO

Roerichs' familyRoerichs' evolutionary actionsMuseum named after Nicholas RoerichPublishing activity
Scientific enlightment workProtection of the Roerichs' name and heritageICR: general information

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Destroyed by Ignorance, Restored by Hope

Lyudmila Shaposhnikova takes congratulations (photo: Sergei Velichkin/ ''Izvestiya'')

Lyudmila Shaposhnikova takes congratulations
(photo: Sergei Velichkin
/ ''Izvestiya'')

Olga Zavyalova

The International Social and Scientific Conference dedicated to the 75 Years of the Roerich Pact (one of the most topical international documents for the protection of cultural and historical velues) was held at the International Centre and Museum of the Roerichs.

The Roerich Pact was the first international treaty for the protection of art and scientific institutions as well as historical monuments. It was signed by the representatives of 21 countries of North and South America on 15 April, 1935 in Washington. Due to the rather difficult political situation the European countries could not take part in this action. The Soviet Union did not sign the Pact too, the Nicholas Roerich's proposal was rejected by Stalin. In 1948, after the Second World War India joined the countries that had signed the Pact. And in 1954 during the UNO and the UNESCO Conference the Hague Convention was adopted. The main principles of the Roerich Pact became the basis for the Hague Convention. The Convention was ratified by 37 States of the world, including the Soviet Union.

The International Conferences are held annually in October (on the birthday of Nicholas Roerich) in the Center and Museum of the Roerichs. This year the Conference was dedicated to the anniversary of the Roerich Pact and became a significant International Forum, at the sessions of which took part All-European Federation for Cultural Heritage Preservation - Europa Nostra (the President of this Federation is the Maestro Placido Domingo), the International Committee of the Red Cross and other organizations. Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen, the President of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, expressed general concern for the state of cultural heritage. He noted that the Forum must become a milestone of a long and thorny path in preservation of the world cultural heritage.

In the framework of the Conference the Director General of the Museum by name of N.K. Roerich Lyudmila Shaposhnikova was presented the Award of the All-European Federation for Cultural Heritage Preservation Europa Nostra (“Our Europe”). The Vice-President of the Federation Alexander Sayn-Wittgenstein stressed the importance of the International Centre of the Roerichs: "This building keeps the memory of the Roerich Pact - the document of great importance which not only facilitated the signing of the Hague Convention, but also had a tremendous impact on civil society. The Pact bacame the basis for the foundation of numerous organizations and private initiatives such as Europa Nostra, for example. Alexander Sayn-Wittgenstein also noticed that the members of the jury headed by him unanimously recognized Lyudmila Shaposhnikova to be the best in the category of “Dedicated Service” among the nominees from 26 countries .

In the framework of the anniversary of the Roerich Pact celebration the exhibitions were held in Mexico, Austria and Germany. In the Museum by name of N.K.Roerich three expositions were opened - "75 Years of the Roerich Pact", "Ruining of the Collection”, “The Lopukhins Estate. The Past. The Present. The Future".

The exhibition "75 Years of the Roerich Pact'' consists of two parts. The first part devoted to the initial phase of the Roeich Pact ideas implementation contains unique photographs of the 1930's made at the first Conference devoted to the Pact and the clippings in various languages. The second part of the exhibition is connected with the events of the last decades. The saddest part of it is the series of photographs depicting the unique monuments destroyed by military operations in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The exhibition "Ruining of the Collection” is devoted to the tragic fate of the Roerichs heritage brought to the USSR by George Roerich, the eldest son of the Roerich, in 1957. The exposition includes the copies of paintings, photos, archive documents illegally sold out or stolen. Among the missing items of art there are the statue of Buddha Martreyi from Siam, the Roerich altar, representing the collection of ancient Russian icons and figurines of Buddha.

The leitmotif of "The Lopukhins Estate" exposition became the words by Nicholas Roerich: "destroyed by human ignorance and restored by human hope". The revival history of the monument of architecture of the XVII century almost destroyed to the foundation was represented in a small hall. In 1989 Svetoslav Roerich chose the Lopukhins Estate to create a public museum named after his father. The Estate was reconstructed for the contributions of sponsors and donations. The photos reveal the progress of restoration work. A real decoration of this exhibition was the maquette representing the Estate in all its glory after the completion of the restoration.

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