On 15 april 2014 the exhibition about the "Roerich Pact: History and Modernity" was officially opened at the Academy building of the Peace Palace. The exhibition is part of a world wide project of the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) and the International Roerich's Heritage Preservation to promote the Roerich Pact. Exactly 79 years ago, the Roerich Pact was signed in Washington by the representatives of 21 member-states of the Pan-American Union including the USA.
The exhibition was officially opened by Steven van Hoogstraten, the General Director of the Carnegie Foundation/Peace Palace, Jeroen Vervliet, Director of the Peace Palace Library and H.E. Alexander P. Losyukov, President of the International Centre of the Roerichs in Moscow. H.E. Losyukov is also the President of the International Roerichs’ Heritage Preservation Committee.
On the second day of the opening, a series of lectures was held about the history and contents of the Roerich Pact and the life and work of Nicholas and Helena Roerich. The first speaker, Marga Koutsarova, Head of the Branch Office of the International Centre of the Roerichs in Bulgaria, spoke about the past, present and future of the Roerich Pact. Being an expert in the international law, Ms Koutsarova focused on the legal aspects and current relevance of the pact.
After this lecture Mr. Stetsenko, Vice-President of the International Centre of the Roerichs gave an introduction to a film, “The call of the Cosmic Evolution”. The movie gives a good insight in the life and work of the artist and jurist Nicholas Roerich and his wife, Helena Roerich. It shows their lifelong endeavor to promote peace, culture and the protection and preservation of art and culture during peace-, and wartime. It also shows the connection between the artwork that Roerich made while he traveled around the world with his family. The Roerichs also made an endeavor to join the cosmic philosophy and science. Helena Roerich has written many books on the philosophical teaching "The living ethics", or Agni Yoga, a cosmic philosophy.
Ursula de Goede from the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) talked about the artwork of Nicholas Roerich. Nicholas Roerich was a prolific artist who, during his lifetime, created nearly 7000 works of art. He has both painted and drawn on different themes such as paintings full of symbolism, mysticism, philosophy, but also historical scenes, depictions of fortresses, monasteries, churches, and other monuments. He was an artist with a prophetic vision who could create paintings and drawings with compelling scenes; for example spectacles of war, historical scenes and also peaceful, breathtaking sceneries. He used vivid colors, interesting perspectives and symbols which contain a profound depth and reflect a deep spirituality. His paintings can be regarded as icons complementary to the cosmic philosophy that he and his wife were dedicated to during their lifetime.
Jeroen Vervliet, director of the Peace Palace Library, held a lecture about the Russian jurist and diplomat Martens in relation to the efforts to Roerich's work as a a peacemaker and ambassador of culture and the arts and in particular as the creator of the Roerich Pact. As a student, Roerich attended lectures of Fyodor Fyodorovich Martens at the Law Faculty of the St. Petersburg University. Martens was a Russian diplomat and jurist who played an important role in the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907. During these conventions the importance protection of cultural heritage during wartime were also discussed. Both jurists, Martens and Roerich, dedicated their life to peace, the protection of culture and shared the ideal that the people from all nations should work together as one humanity.
The Exposition about the Roerichs and the Roerich Pact can be visited at the Academy building of the Peace Palace until 18 May.