Nicholas Roerich is born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 9.
Enrolls in the Academy of Art and at St. Petersburg University.
Roerich’s graduation project ‘The Messenger: Tribe has Risen Against
Tribe’ is acclaimed by many, including author Leo Tolstoy, who is
impressed with the work.
Travels extensively through Europe and spends a year in Paris where he is
particularly struck by the works of Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas and
muralist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.
Returns to Russia and marries Helena Ivanovna Shaposhikova.
Paints The Idols, among the most important of his early works dealing
with pagan mysticism, cosmic nature and harmony with nature.
Promulgates his plan of advocating a scheme to ensure protection of
cultural treasures in Russia. This would evolve into the Roerich Pact
three decades later.
Is designated head of the Drawing School of the Emperor’s Society for
Promotion of Arts and makes it one of Russia’s most prominent art
Begins to paint stage sets that are highly acclaimed and designs
costumes for operas, ballets and plays.
Leaves Russia when the Bolshevik Revolution gains ground; goes to
Some of his best-known works from his Saints series are painted
during this time, including St. Mercurius.
Leaves Finland following its independence and moves to London.
Rabindranath Tagore calls on Roerich in his London flat.
Travels extensively in America. He is one of the first painters from
Russia to visit the country. His first exhibition, in the winter of 1921,
witnesses a crowd of ten thousand people on the opening day.
Receives a meteorite stone in a hotel in Paris, a talisman he calls the
Chintamani stone of mythology, and which accompanies him on his
travels including his Central Asian expeditions.
Roerich Museum is established in New York.
Arrives in India at Bombay and heads to Darjeeling in the
Begins a Central Asian expedition with his wife Helena and son Yuri
(the younger son Svetoslav joined only in the beginning) to Chinese
Turkestan, Altai, Mongolia, Tibet and Sikkim. The outcome of this expedition is five hundred paintings uncovering the beauty of the
region. The expedition spans three continents and sixteen thousand
Settles in the Kullu valley’s Naggar. His home there is now a museum.
Is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (he will be nominated twice
more, in 1932 and 1935).
Undertakes his second Central Asian expedition.
Paints Banner of Peace, a representation of the symbol and banner that is to be flown over cultural buildings and monuments to protect
them in times of war and peace from destruction. Participants of the first conference of the Roerich Pact in Bruges are
given a welcome reception by its municipality.
American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and representatives of
twenty Latin American countries sign the Roerich Peace pact at the
White House on 15 April.
Develops friendships with eminent Indians, including Rabindranath
Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, S. Radhakrishnan and
Jagdish Chandra Bose.
Son Svetoslav Roerich marries Indian movie actress and studio head
Devika Rani; they settle in Bangalore.
Dies in Kullu on December 13; a monolithic rock marks his grave with
the word ‘Maharishi’.
The same year publications on the Pact appear—there are a large
number of such publications.
Wife Helena, living still in India, dies.
Nicholas Roerich joins the rank of nine National Treasure artists in
India, the only one who was not born or trained in India, or of Indian
The Banner of Peace is raised at the North Pole by the famous
traveller, Fyodor Konyukhov, in 1988. In 1999, participants of the first
international complex Antarctic expedition ‘Towards XXI’ raise the
Banner of Peace at the South Pole. The banners from these expeditions
are now exhibited in the International Centre of the Roerichs.
The Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs is created in Moscow.
The banner with the three-sphere symbol is presented to the Dalai
Lama. As part of the celebration of Roerich’s hundredth anniversary,
the Banner of Peace, which had been to the space station, is presented
to the Indian Parliament. Taking the banner, Speaker Somnath
Chatterji says: ‘It will be kept in the library of Indian Parliament as a
most precious treasure.’