The paper analyzes the problem of the image of the Russian North. The image of the North is quite popular in the Russian society and performs objective reality. This image is created by the combination of rational experience and artistic perception. Psychologist V.P. Zinchenko said that «picturesque consideration» is not a metaphor in causing the image of «visual thinking». The ratio of quantitative and qualitative characteristics and the artistic perception changes over time and is highly dependent on the worldview of the person or society who creates this image, its level of culture, ethnicity, etc. In recent years, the image of the Russian North has become increasingly popular with politicians, who are in search of Russian civilizational identity, with geographers, who develop the basis of the new understanding of the cultural outline, and also with social scientists, who strive to use it in order to reconstruct the historical memory of the Russian people that was significantly undermined in the post-perestroika period.
The possibilities of shaping the image of the Russian North using only objective geographical characteristics and also their synthesis with artistic perception are considered. The former approach is marked as lacking potential, although it prevails in the Russian geography. The history of shaping the image of the Russian North is traced. The examples the image of the Russian North in literature, painting, music are adduced.
Nowadays the development of the theory of the cultural outline, which originates in the early twentieth century and then forgotten for the ideological reasons, allows to re-connect the natural sciences and the humanities characteristics of the territory mentioned, which contributes to shaping the entire image of the Russian North. Being juxtaposed to the spiritual nihilism of modern technological culture, the image of the Russian North in the memory of the Russian people is deemed as a metaphysical “Island of Salvation” possessing moral healing power. Recognizing the distinguished image of the Russian North with the Russian people allows to consider it as virtual cultural heritage of Russia.