DEAR SACRED NESTS. MOSCOW COUNTRY MANORS AT THE TURN OF TWO EPOCHS

Nikolay Durasov’s Palace, Liublino

18.09.2018 – 16.06.2019

It is the 7th exhibition within the years-long retrospective project focusing on the Moscow country manor culture and numerous aspects of its every-day life. As in previous exhibitions of the cycle, it involves various Moscow and Moscow region museums and museum estates such as Kuskovo, Ostankino, Kolomenskoye, Arkhangelskoye, the State Museum of Alexander Pushkin, as well as Tver Regional Art Gallery and the ‘Three Centuries’ gallery. As for the project’s new participant, we are glad to mention the ‘Gorki’ museum estate near Moscow that took shape from the end of the 18th to the first quarter of the 19th century when it was owned by P.Pisarev, a prominent social figure, and went through a second period of well being in early 20th century, under another distinguished owner – Zinaida Morozova-Reinbot, wife of Moscow Mayor at that time.

   

 

This exhibition tells about the Moscow country manors’ life in the ‘reforms period’, starting from 1861, when serfdom was abolished, to the revolution of October 1917.

What was it that permitted the manors to overcome hard times and survive? Was it the majestic beauty of their architecture? Or perhaps their rich and unique collections? Or maybe the commitment of their owners and first museum curators? Why was Fate so kind to them? We will try to answer these questions at the exhibition.

   

The abolishment of serfdom and agricultural capitalization lead to the decay and even ruin of many ‘nests of gentlefolk’. Gala receptions for guests, festivals and theatre performances so typical of the 18th and early 19th century were gone. Life at the manors became more quiet and domestic, concentrated on the owner’s family and close friends. A peculiar intellectual atmosphere created by the people gathering there became the country manor’s zest. At that time, many of the manor owners realize the architectural value of their country homes and art objects collected there and deliberately opened museums on their territories. The small world of country manors turned into some ‘lost ideal’, which resulted not only in nostalgia for the ‘golden age’, but also in a reverential attitude towards the manor lifestyle and strive to save its traditions. In his diaries, memoirs and letters, Count Dmitry Sheremetev, representative of one of the best-known and richest noble families, did not refer to his country manor, Mikhaylovskoye, in other words than ‘family shrine’ or even ‘dear sacred nest’, where ‘past, present and future are reflected and united’. And most of the manor owners in that hard period of reforms shared this attitude.

Art objects from manor collections, rare family curiosities and archives make the core of the present exhibition counting over 200 items. Decorative and applied art examples such as bronze clocks, cut-glass lamps, china from the Far East and furniture are displayed against the background of photos showing authentic manor interiors all these things used to make part of. The visual composition is completed with paintings created at the turn of the 20th century by such masters as Peter Petrovichev, Alexander Sredin, Vitold Byalynitsky-Birulya, Isaak Brodsky, Alexey Stepanov and others.

In the second half of the 19th century, a particular feature of country manor churches was an abundance of ancient church art pieces. At the exhibition you can see family icons of St. Demetrius of Rostov, Apostles Peter and Paul, St. Sergius of Radonezh, Great Martyr Barbara and Our Lady of Tikhvin.

Very important to the entire display are the exhibits related to private manor museums that helped the manors to survive after the October Revolution, including a log (or ‘notebook’) from the Ostankino museum, registering 500 visitors for 1901.

Many of the rare objects on display have for the first time left their authentic interiors. Gathered in one exhibition space, they re-create the atmosphere of high spiritual and intellectual tension that reigned at the period concerned.

 

Age category: 6+

The site’s address: bldg 1, 1 Letnyaya Street, Volzhskaya subway station

Exhibition opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday – from 10.00 to 6.00 p.m., closed on Mondays; on Saturdays from 1 April till 29 September – from 11.00 till 7.00 p.m.

Tickets are available at the museum ticket offices from 9.45 a.m. to
5.30 p.m., on Saturdays from 1 April till 29 September – from 10.45 a.m. till 6.30 p.m. as well as on the official web-site of the museum.

Full price – 130₽, reduced price 50₽

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