Liublino is one of the unique areas of modern Moscow that was first mentioned in XVI century sources.
In the 1680s, the estate was owned by a famous Godunov family and was called Godunovo. Later it came over to Princes Prozorovsky and was so much loved by the new owners that they re-named it Liublino (after the Russian verb “liubit’” meaning “to love” or “to like”).
In 1800, Nikolay Durasov, a rich Moscow landowner, actual state councillor and brigadier (1760 – 1818), bought the estate. He was to become the best-known owner of Liublino. In his time, from 1801 to 1806, the estate was re-planned and re-built by well-known Moscow architects Rodion Kazakov (1754-1803) and his relative and associate Ivan Egotov (1756–1815).
The Liublino ensemble that has by a miracle survived to our days occupies a peculiar place in Russian culture. The architectural planning of the palace, a combination of the cross and the circle, is unusual for Moscow and Moscow region and makes it kin to the projects of Jean-Francois Neufforges, a XVIII century French architect. A later legend explains such non-standard planning of the building by its resemblance to the Order of St. Anna. The main entrance to the palace is located on its south-eastern side. The paintings were made by G. Scotti, a popular artist of the time.
The broad staircase leads to the gallery and the halls. The two-storey high Round Hall served as the special-occasion dining-room. Like all the other halls, it is richly decorated with grisaille paintings that give an impression of three-dimensional bas-reliefs, Corinthian pillars, multi-figured frieze along the perimeter of the hall and round medallions. The bas-reliefs of the Round Hall represent the following well-known mythological scenes (look clockwise if facing the hall from the entrance) Apollo with Muses, Sacrifice, Phoebus Apollo and Wedding of Amor. On the plafond one can see another picturesque mythological scene, Triumph of Venus. In the centre of the oaken mosaic parquet floor there is a sun-shaped rosace. The huge semicircular windows look at the park and the pond.
The rectangular Marble Hall is not less luxurious in design. It was intended for balls and faced with imitation marble of different shades of colour. Stucco bas-reliefs, cornice and the plafond painting, The Feast of Bacchus on the Island of Naxos, contribute altogether to the gala atmosphere reigning in the hall.
In the north-western wing of the building the Column Hall, is situated. It was used as a living room and is divided into three parts by two pairs of columns. Thanks to a silver-grey and pinkish colour of the walls and columns that are faced with imitation marble the hall is alternatively known as Pink. A combination of wall paintings gives an impression of an open garden pavillion. Above the cornices there are four panel-paintings presenting episodes from classical mythology. In the lifetime of Nikolay Durasov, the hall was furnished with various pieces for a comfortable rest – sofas, armchairs, card-tables. Here the generous host organized gala dinners, balls and soirees all accompanied by an excellent orchestra. These events were famous all around Moscow and attracted the capital’s nobility.
Living and administrative premises were situated on the first (attic) and the second floor, in two other wings of the building. The second floor represents a pinnacle and four small adjoining premises with huge semicircular windows. Caissons with flower-shaped rosaces used to adorn the vault of the pinnacle. Pictures of dancing women could be seen on the walls of the pinnacle while the lateral premises were furnished with landscapes. The palace conceived by Nikolay Durasov as a Temple of Arts had an Appollo sculpture on the dome. That sculpture was destroyed by a strongest hurricane of 1904. After the building was restored, a statue of Herculaneum women in antique clothing, a copy of a Dresden Gallery exhibit that dates back to I millennium BC, was installed on the top.
In the immediate vicinity of the palace one can see the theatre complex that has partly survived. The Liublino estate theatre was headed by Peter Plavilschikov (1760–1812), a remarkable actor and playwright. Thanks to his efforts the serf actors’ skill reached the highest level and the theatre gained renown with the Tsar’s court. In May 1818, Empress Maria Feodorovna visited the theatre and greenhouse in Liublino and was delighted by the performance.
There are other premises in the Liublino estate that have been partly preserved, namely the steward’s house, an outhouse, household premises, a fragment of the palace greenhouse, and the stable. All of them are built in mature classicism.
An English landscape park was laid out around the palace, on the high hilly river bank. A large pond arranged in the Golyad River bed and now known as Liublinsky makes an important element of this man-made landscape.
In the middle of the XIX century, Liublino, like many other estates of noblemen, passed into merchants’ hands. It was bought by a rich Moscow merchant Konon Golofteev who let the estate as country houses. A short distance from the city, excellent views and a railway nearby made the “Golofteev country houses” popular with middle-class officials, teachers, university professors and doctors. In 1886, the writer Feodor Dostoevsky lived in one of the country houses in Liublino. The awful hurricane that came to Moscow in 1904 caused great damage to the estate complex, “drank up the Liublino pond together with the crucians” and felled most of the trees in the park. But the Golofteevs, who owned the estate till 1917, were rather quick to repair the complex and returned the life in Liublino into its usual course.
Straight after the revolution of 1917, the main building housed a school and later a club. In the course of the XX century, the estate complex, including the palace, changed its owners not once, which did not favour the integrity of the buildings. Thanks to a scientific restoration carried out from 2001 to 2005 the visitors of Liublino can see the palace in all its splendour, as it looked two hundred years ago. By a decree of Moscow City Government issued in December 2005, the historical estate of Liublino was put into jurisdiction of Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve.
The gala halls on the ground floor were open to the visitors immediately after restoration. The attic storey and the pinnacle housed new permanent expositions and temporary exhibitions.
The gala halls were intended for large receptions and holiday parties while the noble company of the hosts’ relatives and friends would gather upstairs. That is why an interior of a small drawing room was reconstructed in one of the premises adjoining the pinnacle. The small drawing room used to be furnished with chairs, armchairs and sofas. At the end of the XVIII and the beginning of the XIX century it was customary to place the furniture along the walls living a vacant space in the centre. The furniture set that one can see in the hall at present was made in France in the XIX century. To the right of the entrance there is an example of furniture dating back to the first half of the XVIII century – a bureau enchased with ivory and rare kinds of wood. In the Enlightenment period, even furniture had to serve educational purposes. That is why the bureau is decorated with allegoric images of the cardinal directions of the world and other symbols.
China and bronze used to be the main interior decoration in the second half of the XVIII and at the beginning of the XIX century: they underlined the high social status of the owner. The bronze clock depicting Amor in a Chariot reminds of the estate’s name and the theme of love and beauty, one of the key motifs in the palace interior décor. The chandeliers and statues representing scenes and motifs of classical antiquity illustrate the basic principle of classicism: imitation of Ancient Greek and Roman art as well as implementation of ancient culture elements to all spheres of art and every-day life.
In a display and storage assembly one can see examples of Russian and European china. The ceiling lamps made of china and bronze, with a combination of gilding and cobalt painting that was typical of the epoch, as well as stylized portiere curtains on the windows make a harmonious addition to the interior.
In the other room adjoining the pinnacle one can see items that used to make up a peculiar world of estate owners and speak of their habits and interests.
Retired Moscow noblemen furnished their estates in and near the city with libraries as well as collections of maps and other rarities and art objects. To get an idea about this aspect of the estate life, you can visit the permanent exposition on the so-called man’s half of the hall. Seeing the sofa and armchair upholstered with grey striped silk you will be able to imagine the study-room of the owner and even to feel its atmosphere. The devotion of the Russian nobility to the ideals and creative work of the French philosopher Voltaire found its reflection even in the names of furniture. An armchair of a particular shape, with a high back-rest was called Voltairian. Voltaire’s works, namely “History of Peter the Great”, can be seen in a showcase desk. The philosopher worked on this treatise under a commission of Russian authorities and with assistance of poet and scientist Mikhail Lomonosov who provided him with historical materials. Beside works in French, one can see Russian printed books in the showcase alongside with beadwork (pocket-books and a small braided cover for a pencil). The later could have been presented to the host by one of his women relatives.
Nikolay Durasov had neither wife nor children but was surrounded by numerous sisters and nieces. At the second half of the hall one can see a fan and a beaded handbag on the table, which, together with the corner sofa made by Russian masters, will remind of balls, small talk, handiwork and other activities of a Russian noblewoman in and outside the estate. The reconstructed dresses will help to re-create the images of the estate inhabitants.
At the beginning of the XIX century, exotic plants traditionally decorated both living and gala premises. Today, they remind of the famous Liublino greenhouse, one of the largest in Moscow at the time.
The nowadays life of Liublino complies with the traditions of the past. As a long time ago, classical music and poetry can be heard in the palace; the halls often become concert venues. Exhibitions are located on the attic storey while permanent expositions have found their place in the halls.
Newlyweds are welcome to enjoy special tourist cultural programs in Liublino.
In the third millennium, the Liublino estate returned under the patronage of Apollo, Artemis and the Muses.