This blog was commenced in late 2011, at the beginning of a three year posting to Moscow. I returned to Australia at the end of 2014.
My intention was to provide a pictorial commentary on my observations of Moscow, a city most people in Australia know little about.
The blog has now been wound up and there will be no more entries. Nor will I respond to any more comments. Thanks for visiting.
Before coming to Russia I read a short story by H P
Lovecraft called ‘The Mountains of Madness’. In it he mentioned strange paintings
by a man named Roerich. One of the great things about the internet is you can look up this sort of obscure and miscellaneous reference straight away, before you have forgotten about it.
I checked out a small collection of Roerich’s paintings soon
after arriving in Moscow at the Museum of Oriental Art and had thought that was
all there was on display in this city – many of his works being in the Nicholas
Roerich Museum in New York. That is, until the other day when I was going through my
guidebook looking for new places to go and realized that the Rerikh Museum in in
the guidebook index was actually another transliteration of the more usual
One could be forgiven for thinking Nicholas Roerich was the
original New Age guy. Possessing a powerful intellect (he is said to have
spoken 30 languages, whereas I can still barely manage to get a cappuccino with my Russian), he was an excellent artist; an explorer, spending much
time on archaeological expeditions in the Himalayas; and something of a mystic.
Roerich was born in Saint Petersburg in 1874. Originally
involved in post-Revolution arts, he rapidly grew disillusioned with the authoritarianism
and repression of the Bolsheviks and emigrated to Finland. Soon after he moved
to London, and then to the United States, where he lived in New York. Over
several years in the 1920s and 30s he spent a considerable amount of time in
Tibet, India and other parts of Asia. In 1929 he was nominated for the Nobel
Today I visited this
really quite excellent museum/gallery. If you ever intend
opening a New Age shop in downtown San Francisco (maybe sell a few crystals and
tarot cards), parts of this place might provide some helpful décor hints.
The museum is located not far from the Cathedral of Christ
the Saviour, in Mylinki Znamensky. Take the Metro to Crackpotskaya (OK, it’s
really Kropotkinskaya, but I'm not Roerich and I need some way of remembering these awkward Russian
names). Please be aware that there are signs with maps on the main road outside
the station which show the museum in the wrong location (it is not on Bolshoi Znamensky).
My apologies for the image quality today –they are scanned
from a book and some prints I bought in the small museum shop. My only
complaint (apart from the hefty 650 rouble admission fee) is that you are not
allowed to take photos in the museum. Elderly ladies diligently watch to make darned
sure you don’t. I was in the museum on my own and it was quite disconcerting to
be followed from the entrance of a room to its exit, only to be met at the door
by the guardian of the next room, and the next, and the next...