The Guru Letters

A detail of one of Roerich's paintings: eerily lit square buildings nestled in snowy moutains.

I always love it when the Omnibus podcast covers some topic I already have some connection with, and the most recent episode might be my favorite yet. Ken and John examine “The Guru Letters”, an obscure American political scandal from the FDR era involving the Russian-born mystic Nicholas Roerich.

This surprised and delighted me because Roerich’s permanent gallery, featuring many of his lush, unearthly landscape paintings, is the last museum that I visited before the lockdown. I spent an hour or two there one late-winter day after looking for museums near my new upper-Manhattan home. I marveled at the beautiful work, which couldn’t help but evoke the video game Breath of the Wild to me, and I bought an enamel pin featuring the “Pax Cultura” logo mentioned in the podcast.

If and when indoor spaces become safe to visit again, and you find yourself in New York, you should check this place out. You can see a fine sampling of Roerich work in the meantime on this blog post by “Foxpudding”.


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