The Alexander Herzen Memorial HouseRussian: Dom-muzey Gertsena or Дом-музей Герцена tells the story of the well-known Russian writer and philosopher. At the same time, it seems to plunge you into the atmosphere of the Moscow of the 19th century nobility. The museum is located in a small, two-storey mansion in a quiet side street of the ArbatRussian: Arbat or Арбат. Alexander Herzen, the author of the novel “Who Is to BlameRussian: Kto vinovat? or Кто виноват?”, momentous in his time, lived there for three years.
THE MUSEUM BUILDING
A small Empire-style mansion was built on this site in the 1820s. Herzen’s father Ivan Yakovlev purchased it especially for his son. Together with his family, Herzen lived in the house from September 1843 until he went abroad in January 1847. In this house, he wrote his famous scientific and literary works “Letters on the Study of NatureRussian: Pisma ob izuchenii prirody or Письма об изучении природы”, the “Diletantism in ScienceRussian: O diletantizme v nauke or О дилетантизме в науке” cycle, “Thieving MagpieRussian: Soroka- vorovka or Сорока- воровка” and “Dr. KrupovRussian: Doktor Krupov or Доктор Крупов”, all of which brought him fame and recognition.
Sergei Aksakova 19th-century Russian literary figure remembered for his semi-autobiographical tales of family life lived close by and Nikolay Gogola Russian dramatist of Ukrainian origin also frequented the Arbat. One of the most famous literary societies of the 19th century emerged in Herzen’s house with such members as the poet Ogarev, philosopher Chaadaev, historian Granovsky, actors Korsh and Shchepkin, writer Belinsky and others. In 1847, Herzen was in disgrace with the royals and therefore left the house and went abroad.
The museum opened in 1976, originally as a branch of the State Literary MuseumRussian: Gosudarstvennyi literaturnyi muzey or Государственный литературный музей. The main display is called “I Serve the Cause of Russia with the Word and the DeedRussian: Ya sluzhil na polzu Rossii slovom i delom or Я служил на пользу России словом и делом”. It gives a detailed account of the stages of Herzen’s life. The writer’s authentic personal belongings and those of his closest colleagues, as well as an extensive collection of photos are at the heart of the display. Here, you can see his parents’ portraits – land owner Ivan Yakovlev and Luisa Haag are depicted in photos of Herzen himself and his family.
In the first halls are books of the Renaissance period which Herzen grew up reading. There is also a portrait sculpture of Kutuzova Field Marshal of the Russian Empire, who pushed the French out of Russia in 1812, and caricatures dating from the time of the war with Napoleon in these halls. Further on, you can see the drawing room and the writer’s study which exhibits the objects which were dear to his heart – candlesticks, bells, and a signet. The living conditions of Herzen’s youth have been brought to life in one of the halls.
Another portrait was painted by his wife a short time before her death. The design of the Cathedral of Christ the SaviourRussian: khram Khrista Spasitelya or храм Христа Спасителя drawn by architect Vitberg, Herzen’s comrade in his exile to Vyatkathe former name of the city of Kirov located on the Vyatka River, Herzen’s less known autographs and books form the writer’s private collection – these are particularly valuable.
There is also a section dedicated to Herzen’s life when he was overseas. He attracted a circle of like-minded people, organised the “Russian Free PressRussian: Volnaya tipografiya or Вольная типография”, continued writing and published a lot of his works. The Museum features the London study of Nikolay Tryubner, Herzen’s publisher, some samples of the “BellRussian: Kolokol or Колокол”, and an interactive display dedicated to Paris, Rome, London, Geneva – cities where Herzen lived and worked for 23 years. You can also see a sculpture of A. Hertzen done during his lifetime, by sculptor A. Grass. The museum uses a wide range of technology, including video projections and interactive kiosks, which both give the visitor a feeling of being able to participate in the events, and provide a valuable insight into the epoch.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com