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Helena Roerich

Helena Ivanovna Roerich
Born (1879-02-12)February 12, 1879
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died October 5, 1955(1955-10-05) (aged 76)
Kalimpong, India
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Russian philosophy
School Living Ethics

Helena Ivanovna Roerich (born Shaposhnikova) (Nicholas Roerich. Along with her husband, she took part in expeditions of hard-to-reach and little-investigated regions of Central Asia (1924—1928). She was an Honorary President-Founder of the Institute of Himalayan Studies «Urusvati» in India and co-author of the idea of the International Treaty for Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historical Monuments (Roerich’s Pact). She translated two volumes of the «Secret Doctrine» of H. P. Blavatsky, and also selected Mahatma’s Letters («Cup of the East»), from English to Russian.


  • Life 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Marriage and family 1.2
    • Travels 1.3
    • Later life 1.4
    • Death 1.5
  • Legacy 2
    • A minor planet named after Roerichs 2.1
    • Other 2.2
  • N. Roerich’s paintings dedicated to H.I. Roerich 3
  • Works 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early life

Helena was born in the family of Ivan Ivanovich Shaposhnikov, a well-known Saint-Petersburg architect.

Ekaterina Vassilievna Shaposhnikova, Helena’s mother, belonged to an anciet Golenischev-Kutuzov family, which originated from

  • International Centre of the Roerichs
  • Helena Ivanovna Roerich
  • Works of Helena Roerich
  • Roerich-movement in Internet
  • Nicholas Roerich Museum (New York)
  • International Roerich Memory Trast (India)

External links

  1. ^ Crimean branch of the International Center of the Roerichs
  2. ^ Roerich (born Shaposhnikova) / Helena Ivanovna / New philosophical encyclopedia. — Moscow, «Misl» Publishing, 2000. — V. 1–4. (Russian)
    • Roerich Helena Ivanovna / «Big encyclopaedia» (Russian)
    • Roerichs family: Nicholas Konstantonovich (1874—1947), Helena Ivanovna (1879—1955) / «Modern philosophical dictionary» / Compiler Gritsanov A.A. — Scientific edition. — Minsk, «V.M.Skakun» publishing, 1999. — 896 P. (Russian)
    • Roerich Helena Ivanovna / «Big biographic encyclopedia» (Russian)
    • Roerich Helena Ivanovna / Russian philosophy: Dictionary / Edited by M. Maslin. — Moscow, «TERRA—Knizhnii klub, Respublika» publishing, 1999. — 656 P. (Russian)
  3. ^ a b Roerich (born Shaposhnikova) / Helena Ivanovna / New philosophical encyclopedia. — Moscow, «Misl» publishing, 2000. — V. 1–4.
    • Living Ethics / Russian philosophy: Dictionary / Edited by M. Maslin. — Moscow, «TERRA—Knizhnii klub, Respublika» publishing, 1999. — 656 P.
    • Living Ethics / «Russian philosophy. Short encyclopaedia» — Moscow, «Nauka» publishing, 1995. — 624 P. (Russian)
    • Roerich Helena Ivanovna / Short philosophical dictionary / Edited by A.P. Alexeev. — Second edition, revised and supplemented. — Moscow, TK Velby, Prospekt publishing. — 2004. (Russian)
    • Roerich Helena Ivanovna / Big biographic encyclopedia. (Russian)
    • From Resolution of International public and scientific conference «Cosmic ideology is a new thinking of the 21st century»
  4. ^ a b S. Kluchnikov. Proclaimer of the fire epoch. Story and study about Helena Ivanovna Roerich. Novosibirsk, Siberia department of «Detskaya literature» publishing, 1991. — P.10.
  5. ^  
  6. ^ Ivanov M.A. Roerichs and Tver region. Tver: GERS publishing. — 2007. P.33.
  7. ^ a b c H.I. Roerich’s biography at the website of Charitable Foundation named after H.I. Roerich.
  8. ^ a b N. K. Roerich. Diary leaves. Volume 2. — Moscow, ICR, 2000. — p.448.
  9. ^ L. V. Shaposhnikova. Wisdom of ages («Mudrost vekov», in Russian). — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2000. — P.448.
  10. ^ S. Kluchnikov. Proclaimer of the fire epoch. Story and study about Helena Ivanovna Roerich. Novosibirsk, Siberia department of «Detskaya literature» publishing, 1991. — P.23.
  11. ^ S. Kluchnikov. Proclaimer of the fire epoch. Story and study about Helena Ivanovna Roerich. Novosibirsk, Siberia department of «Detskaya literature» publishing, 1991. — P.25.
  12. ^ a b c d H.I. Roerich’s biography at the website of International Centre-Museum named after N.K. Roerich.
  13. ^ H.I. Roerich. Letters. Volume VII. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2007. — P.66.
  14. ^ 14 L.V. Shaposhnikova. Wisdom of ages («Mudrost vekov», in Russian). — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2000. — P.139.
  15. ^ Museum named after N.K. Roerich. Museum guide. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, 2006. — P.262.
  16. ^ L.V. Shaposhnikova. Wisdom of ages («Mudrost vekov», in Russian). — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2000. — P.139.
  17. ^ N. K. Roerich. Diary leaves. Volume 2. — Moscow, ICR, 2000. — p.161.
  18. ^ 18 Chalice of the East. Mahatmas Letters. Third edition. — Riga-Moscow-Minsk, «Ligatma-Moga-N» publishing, 1995.
  19. ^ Museum named after N.K. Roerich. Museum guide. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, 2006. — P.281.
  20. ^ H.I. Roerich commemoration meeting at the Centre-Museum named after N.K. Roerich.
  21. ^ Museum named after N.K. Roerich. Museum guide. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, 2006. — P.283.
  22. ^ H.I. Roerich. Letters. Volume I. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 1999. — P.119.
  23. ^ Museum named after N.K. Roerich. Museum guide. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, 2006. — P.285.
  24. ^ H.I. Roerich. Letters. Volume IV. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2002. — P.9.
  25. ^ S. Kluchnikov. Proclaimer of the fire epoch. Story and study about Helena Ivanovna Roerich. Novosibirsk, Siberia department of «Detskaya literature» publishing, 1991. — P.113.
  26. ^ H.I. Roerich. Letters. Volume VII. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2007. — P.340.
  27. ^ Museum named after N.K. Roerich. Museum guide. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, Master-Bank, 2006. — P.318,320.
  28. ^ H. I. Roerich. Letters. Volume VI. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2006. — P.16.
  29. ^ a b c Minor planet «Roerich» / «Lets protect the names and heritage of the Roerichs» («Zaschitim imya I nasledie Rerikhov») (in Russian) V.3. Documents, publications, essays. — Moscow, International Centre of the Roerichs, 2005.- 1094 p ─ Astronomic data of the minor planet «Roerich» on NASA website.
  30. ^ Larichev V.E., Matochkin Ye.P. Roerich and Siberia. – Novosibirsk, 1993. – P.183.
  31. ^ Monument of N.K. and H.I. Roerichs / Website of ICR
  32. ^ From resolution of International public and scientific conference “Jubilee Roerich’s readings”/ Website of ICR.
  33. ^ International Roerich Memorial Trust, India
  34. ^ A Museum of Helena Roerich has opened in India / Website “Podrobnosti”
  35. ^ Public library named after H.I. Roerich, Altai Republic, Ust-Koksa.
  36. ^ Charitable foundation named after H. I. Roerich
  37. ^ International award named after H.I. Roerich


See also

  • Leaves of Morya's Garden I
  • Leaves of Morya's Garden II
  • New Era Community
  • Agni Yoga
  • Infinity I
  • Infinity II
  • Hierarchy
  • Heart
  • Fiery World I
  • Fiery World II
  • Fiery World III
  • Aum
  • Brotherhood
  • Supermundane I
  • Supermundane II
  • Supermundane III
  • Supermundane IV
  • Letters of Helena Roerich, Vol. I-IX
  • On Eastern Crossroads
  • Foundations of Buddhism


  • Holder of the world (She who carries a stone) (see image)
  • She who leads (see image)
  • From beyond (see image)
  • Agni Yoga (see image)

N. Roerich’s paintings dedicated to H.I. Roerich

Charitable Foundation named after H.I. Roerich has been created in 2001 at Moscow to finance the programs dedicated to popularization of Roerich’s heritage and development of cultural actions aimed on spiritual progress of the Russian peoples. The foundation furthers an activity in the field of education, science, culture, art, enlightenment. One of the directions of the foundation’s activity is revelation of young talents in various fields of art and help them to protect and develop their creative abilities.[36] International Award named after H.I. Roerich has been instituted by the Charitable foundation named after H.I. Roerich to encourage the scientific researches connected with studying of many-sided scientific and philosophic Roerich’s heritage.[37]

Public library named after H.I. Roerich has been founded at Altaic village Ust-Koksa. At the beginning of 2007, library holdings include near 75 thousands of publications. More than 1600 persons have used its service. From 2003, the library is a member of Russian Library Association and collective member of international library association IFLA.[35]

In 2005, museum of Helena Roerich has been opened in retired two-storeyed mansion known as "Crookety House" in Kalimpong. Here H.I. Roerich worked during last years of life (1948–1955). Opening of the museum was timed to 50th anniversary of her death.[34]

In April 2003, the college of arts named after H.I. Roerich began to work in the building of Institute “Urusvati” (India). Children from Naggar and nearest villages have studied in the college four subjects: Indian classic and folklore music, dancing, actor’s skill and painting.[33]

In 1999, International Centre of the Roerichs has instituted a jubilee medal “Helena Roerich” dedicated to 120th anniversary of H. I. Roerich. Scientists and public figures which are engaged in studying and popularization of many-sided Roerichs heritage were awarded by this medal.[32]

On October 9, 1999 during jubilee celebrations devoted to 125th anniversary of N. K. Roerich’s birthday and 120th anniversary of H. I. Roerich’s demise a monument was established near the entrance of Museum named after N. Roerich. This monument is sculptural portrayal of Nicholas Konstantonovich and Helena Ivanovna Roerichs.[31]

On July 6, 1978 group of alpinists headed by V. Pivovarov has risen on nameless mountain peak and has gone through a pass between the peaks “Roerich” and Belukha. This pass and nameless peak has been named “Urusvati” in honor of Helena Ivanovna Roerich.[30]


On October 1999 N.S Chernikh, in his speak in the Museum named after Roerich devoted to this event of world importance, said: "A number of new minor planets were named in honor of dear for us names of the great Russian devotees, scientists, writers, artists. Recently, a planet «Roerich» was appeared. Minor planets are as if eternal, not of human making monuments. This planet will be forever named after Roerichs. After a while, it will approaches to the Earth <…>. The name was approved by special committee of International astronomical union, consisting of eleven representatives from various countries. Name is accepted at unanimous opinion only. Appearance of minor planet «Roerich’ is evidence of international recognition of creativity and outstanding achievements of Roerichs».[29]

«Crimea astrophysical observatory, which is participant of international program for observation and research of minor planets, hereby indicates that a minor planet discovered in Crimea astrophysical observatory and numbered 4426 in international catalogue, was named „Roerich“ in honor of the family of eminent Russian cultural workers» — was told in discovery certificate.[29]

On October 15, 1969 a minor planet of Solar System was discovered by astronomers of Crimean Astrophysical Observatory Nikolai Stepanovich and Lyudmila Ivanovna Chernykh. This planet was named in honor of Roerichs family. It was numbered 4426.[29]

Minor planet 4426 Roerich in Solar System

A minor planet named after Roerichs


H.I. Roerich died October 5, 1955. In the place of her cremation the lamas had raised a white stupa on which the following epitaph was carved: «Helena Roerich, the wife of Nicholas Roerich, thinker and writer, old friend of India».[27] «We believe that Higher Foresight will protect our motherland from any encroachments, and revived people’s spirit will be able to set down to all enemies. Since we welcome every initiative aimed on defense of the motherland. When foreign enemy takes up arms against the motherland, all its sons must stand up for its defense. N.K. Roerich wrote: „Above all Russias there is one unforgettable Russia“. But this Russia still hasn’t time and possibility to display its true and wonderful image. We trust in future prosperity of our motherland, and this faith gives sense for our being». (H. I. Roerich. Letters).[28]


In January 1948 after the husband’s death, H.I. Roerich together with elder son had moved to Delhi and then to Khandala (Bombay’s suburb) where they had waited for steamship from Russia with their entrance visas to the Motherland. But Russia has denied their visas. They made their home in Kalimpong (Eastern Himalayas). Helena Ivanovna continued hope for return home and to transfer to Russian people the works of her whole life, to work for good of «Best Country» (she called Russia by this name). H.I. Roerich just like N.K. Roerich had not changed Russian citizenship. But all her numerous applications remain without response.

«So we shall strengthen the Culture and its Banner—Banner of the Peace. Culture in its basis is evolution, so if negating the Culture and replace it by technocracy, we reject the evolution and violate a Cosmic Law» (H.I. Roerich. Letters.).[26]

During N.K. Roerich’s Manchurian expedition (1934–1935), H.I. Roerich had corresponded with international cultural and enlightens organizations and coordinated its activity for support the Roerich’s Pact (International agreement for protection of artistic and scientific institutions and historical monuments). As a result of this work, the Roerich’s Pact was signed on April 15, 1935 by heads of 22 countries including USA.[12]

In 1940, a two-volume edition of «Letters of Helena Roerich» was first published in Riga. Later it was republished many times. A complete set of H.I. Roerich’s letters is published by International Centre of the Roerichs, where her epistolary heritage is kept. It was transferred to ICR by S.N. Roerich in 1990.

Special place in H. Roerich’s creativity belongs to her epistolary heritage. She corresponded with more than 140 persons. The letters geography involves several continents—Northern and South Americas, Western and Eastern Europe, many countries. People of various age, professions and social positions had shared their thoughts with her, asked for advice, confided one’s destiny. Among H.I. Roerich’s correspondents were friends, followers, cultural workers, political figures. In her letters, H.I. Roerich has answered numerous questions, explained the most complex philosophical and scientific problems, foundations of the Living Ethics. She wrote about great Laws of Cosmos, meaning of human life, importance of culture for human evolution, Great Teachers.[12]

In the first half of the 1930s H. I. Roerich translated from English to Russian two volumes of H.P. Blavatsky’s fundamental work «Secret Doctrine». Separate fragments of this voluminous treatise were given in various often ancient languages. Helena Ivanovna’s sparkle proficiency in many languages and deep knowledge of philosophy made it possible to manage this work during very short time (less than two years). It is known, that G. Roerich, world-known orientalist, in difficult cases had turned to his mother to help for interpretation of either symbols or legends.[25]

Later life

In Kullu Helena Ivanovna has continued his work for books of the Living Ethics, main work of her life. In 1929, her work «Cryptograms of the East» («On Eastern Crossroads») was published in Paris in Russian under pen name Josephine Sent-Iler. This work contains apocryphal legends and parables from life of Great devotees and Teachers of mankind: Buddha, Christ, Apollonius of Tiana, Akbar the Great (Indian ruler), St. Sergius of Radonezh. H.I. Roerich devoted a special essay «The banner of St. Sergius of Radonezh» to an image of Savior and Defender of Russian land. In this essay she has joined a beautiful knowledge of history and theology with deep and reverent love to the hermit.[7] This essay was included to the book «Banner of St. Sergius of Radonezh», published under the pen name N. Yarovskaya in 1934.

H.I. Roerich had dreamed of that some time a city of Knowledge will rise in Kullu valley, which becomes an international scientific centre. «We wish to give in this City a synthesis of achievements, so all fields of science must be presented in it later. And since the source of Knowledge is whole Cosmos then the workers of the station must belong to whole world that is all nationalities. …».[22] Later «Urusvati» became a large international institute united well-known scientists from many countries. J. Bose, R. Tagore, A. Einstein, R. Milliken, L. de Broil, R. Magoffin, S. Gedin, S.I. Metalnikov, N.I. Vavilov et al. had collaborated with it.[23] «It is already learned in our time that if mankind wants to develop it must permit some international cooperation. Although today this cooperation is displayed more strongly in the field of mechanical and material achievements than in spiritual consolidation. But the science goes forward by so large steps that the next stage will be conscious soon. This stage is cooperation with the Universe, and then cosmic consciousness will not scare even much unenlightened, and it will become usual phenomenon. Then nobody who is conscious his place in Cosmos can not remain in his box. Then spiritual consolidation will come» (H.I. Roerich. Letters).[24]

[21] Main task of Helena Ivanovna’s activity was in studying of ancient philosophic thought of the East.[20] Being a subtle art connoisseur and deep philosopher, she knew well the scientific problems of the institute, and often directed the researches as experienced scientist.[19] In 1927, one of the Living Ethics books («Community») was published in the same place in Mongolia. After finishing of Central-Asian expedition, Roerichs remained to live in India, in Kullu valley

H.I. Roerich’s manuscript «Foundations of Buddhism» was published in 1926, at Urga (now Ulan-Bator), the place at which expedition was staying at the time. In this book, the fundamental philosophical notions of Buddha’s Teaching, such as reincarnation, karma, and Nirvana were interpreted. The book also spoke about the very deep moral basis of this Teaching and disproved one of the main stereotypes Western thinking of the time, namely, that the men of Buddhism are insignificant and forgotten by the Lord creature.[7]

From 1924 to 1928 Helena Ivanovna took part in a Central-Asian expedition organized by [17] In April 1925 when N. Roerich’s expedition stayed in Gulmarg (Northwestern India), H.I. Roerich began to translate an extensive selection from «Mahatma’s Letters» from English to Russian, which she published in London, in 1923. The selection was dedicated to the description of Eastern doctrines and the history of Theosophical Society foundation. She also wrote a separate book named «Chalice of the East», which was published that year under the pen name «Iskander Khanum».[18]

On December 1923, H. I. Roerich, along with her family, moved to India. This country had always been of great interest to the Roerichs. Adoration of India and its spiritual culture was not unusual among Russian intellectuals of the time. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century, Russian culture had experienced an irrepressible attraction to this country, feeling that their moral searches coincided with Indian spiritual tradition.[14]

In 1920, N. K. Roerich received an invitation to tour the USA with an exhibition of his paintings. Thus, Roerich’s family moved to New York City. Here, the cultural activity was organized under N. Roerich’s leadership in partnership with Helena Ivanovna. The culmination of this was the foundation in America of such cultural organizations as the Nicholas Roerich Museum, the Master-Institute of United Arts, the International painter’s association «Cor Ardens» (Flaming Hearts), and the International Art Centre «Corona Mundi» («Crown of the World»). All of these cultural centers organized by the Roerichs had a great influence on cultural development. Working throughout the world under the leadership of Roerich’s cultural centers, numerous societies, creative clubs, and educational institutes united the people in the name of creative culture activity. «It is joyfully to see as at the time of destruction the inspiring souls gather in the name of Culture trying to maintain the light and to give the joy of creative building and expansion of consciousness to all who looks for way out of arising intellectual deadlock resulting in material troubles».[12]


Here, in 1920 H. I. Roerich, in collaboration with a group of anonymous thinkers and philosophers of the East, which in accordance with Indian’s spiritual tradition were named «The Great Teachers» (Mahatmas), began to work for the Living Ethics Teaching (Agni Yoga). This was a new philosophical system relating to spiritual and cultural evolution of mankind.[3] «From the earliest books an attentive reader can form a clear notion about this high morale and lifelike Teaching. Just lifelike Teaching because like all moral Teachings of all peoples and all ages, Living Ethics Teaching is, first of all, Teaching of Life, therefore, like all of them it has a common task to teach the people to pass earth’s path wisely and with dignity, making its work and improvement for the Common Good. Any Teaching of Life, as it is, includes all life building and, therefore, aimed for the Common Good. <…> So, the Teaching of Life, giving the great foundations of Universe and Ethics, throws light upon it from all points of view and incidentally sets up landmarks, or, in other words, shows the direction of evolution» (Letters of H. I. Roerich).[13]

N. Roerich and their sons thought highly of Helena Ivanovna, and considered her a spiritual leader and keeper of family’s foundations.[12] In 1916 because of a serious disease of the lungs, following the doctor’s insistence, the Roerich family moved to Finland (Serdobol), to the seashore of Lake Ladoga. In 1918 Finland declared its independence and closed the Russian border. The Roerichs were cut off from their homeland. In 1919 the family moved to England, and made their home in London.

H.I. Roerich supported all of her husband's initiatives, and went deeply into all his fields of study. In 1903—1904 they traveled together through forty old Russian cities to find sources of national history and culture. During these travels, Helena Ivanovna had taken expert photographs of churches, architecture monuments, paintings, and ornaments. She also mastered the art of restoration and, together with Nicholas Konstantinovich, recovered some the masterpieces of great artists such as Rubens, Breugel, Vandyke, and van Orley, that had been hidden by latest paint layers. She also displayed her artistic intuition by collecting works of art and antiquities. Roerichs collected a beautiful family collection, composed of more than 300 works, which they later had transferred to the Hermitage Museum. Helena Ivanovna also knew archeology well. Together with her husband, she often left for excavations in the regions of Novgorod’s and Tver’s, and took part in the work.[11]

Nicholas and Helena had two children. In August 1902 their eldest son George was born. Later he became a world-renowned scientist and orientalist. Their younger son, Svetoslav, was born in October 1904. He became a painter, thinker, and public worker. Helena Ivanovna paid great attention to the children’s upbringing. She read them the books, and taught them foreign languages and music. Together, they visited the best concerts, exhibitions, and theatre. She helped each of their sons to discover their own interests and dispositions, and created favorable conditions for their development.[10] From their earliest years, the children grew up in a home where their parents were in frequent communication with the other artists of the era, such as Mikhail Vrubel, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Vladimir Stasov, Sergei Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky, Alexander Blok, Vladimir Solovyov, and Vladimir Bekhterev. Painter Valentin Serov once came to their home to draw Helena’s portrait.

«Helena Roerich». 1909.
Valentin Serov

Often Helena and her mother spent the summer at Bologoe in the Novgorod region, with her aunt E.V. Putyatina, at the estate of her husband, Prince P.A. Putyatin, well-known archeologist and collector. In 1899, at Bologoe, she met the painter and archeologist Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich. They fell in love, and in spite of Helena’s relatives opposition to their marriage, in 1901, Helena and Nicholas were married in the church of the Emperor’s Academy of Arts at Vasiliev’s island, in Saint-Petersburg. In 2001 at the place in Bologoe where they first met, a memorial named «Monument of love» was established. It contains a quotation from N. Roerich’s essay «The University»: «I met Lada, my partner in life and inspirer, at Bologoe, at Prince P.A. Putyatin’s estate. Joy!».[6] This was a strong alliance of two loving people united by deep mutual feelings and common views.[7] N. Roerich wrote about their marriage in his declining years: "We passed amicably any obstacles. And the obstacles turned into possibilities. I devoted my books: «To Helena, my wife, friend, partner and inspirer».[8] Many of Roerich’s paintings were a result of their common creativity. He called her «She who leads»[9] in his books, and asserted that on many his canvases, two signatures should be written: his own, and Helena’s. "We created together, and not without reason it was said that the works must have two names, women’s and men’s.[8]

Helena Roerich (right) with her sons

Marriage and family

After graduating that school, which was aimed mainly towards revealing the most gifted candidates who should receive higher music education, Helena intended to continue her education in the Saint-Petersburg conservatoire. But her relatives banned her from entering the conservatoire, worried that she would be interested by the revolutionary ideas found in the student environment. Thus, Helena continued her education at home, where she perfected her grasp of foreign languages, and read many things.

After finishing her education at gymnasium, Helena Shaposhnikova entered the Saint-Petersburg musical private school. The director of this school was I.A. Borovka, a senior of metropolitan conservatoire, and professor of piano playing. He was a noted figure in Petersburg’s musical culture of the time, and personally mentored Helena.

In 1895 Helena graduated from Mariinsky Gymnasium in Saint-Petersburg with a "gold medal", a special award for excellence in the studies. Though the education she received there was of a great quality, Helena often studied additionally on her own. She learned a subtle perception of painting, knew Russian and European literature well, studied the history of religion and philosophy, and took great interest in the works of the Indian philosophers Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, and Tagore.[5]

Helena grew up and was educated in rich cultural traditions of her family. Since childhood she was inquisitive, independent and purposeful. She was extremely talented in many ways — played piano with great excellence and by the age of seven she could read and write in three languages.[4]/ From the very young age she started reading artistic, historical, spiritual and philosophic books.

Helena Ivanovna Roerich. 1900. Saint Petersburg


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