The Alexander Pushkin Memorial apartmentRussian: Muzey-kvartira A.S. Pushkina or Музей-квартира А.С. Пушкина is where this great master of the Russian literature lived. It was here that Alexander Sergeevich brought his young wife Natalia Nikolaevna after their wedding in 1831. The museum occupies an old house in the ArbatRussian: Арбат street, which is a popular tourist destination in Moscow as it is set amidst numerous cafes and souvenir shops. The Vakhtangov TheatreRussian: Teatr im. Vakhtangova or Театр им. Вахтангова, the poet Andrei Bely MuseumRussian: muzey poeta Andreya Belogo or музей поэта Андрея Белого as well as some ancient cathedrals are located nearby. The museum was opened in 1986 thanks to the efforts of its first director A. Krein. It was Krein’s dream to reconstruct the interior of Pushkin’s apartment.
The building itself was constructed after the fire of 1812during the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812 and belonged to the famous noble family, Khitrovos. While preparing for his upcoming wedding, Alexander Sergeevich rented the house for six months. There is a rental entry in the archive which says “Alexander Pushkin, Sergei’s son, signed this entry”. This unique autograph is one of the exhibits of the museum. It was in this house that Pushkin spent the first three years of his life as a family. As he wrote to one of his friends, he was “married and happy” here. The Pushkins did not stay in the house until the end of the rental period and moved to Tsarskoye SeloRussian: Царское Село, outside St Petersburg. Nevertheless, the house has always remained associated with the happiest days of the poet’s life.
A monument to the newlyweds, Alexander and Natalia Pushkin, welcomes visitors at the entrance to the museum. This work by sculptors A. and I. Burganov is considered to be one of the best monuments to the poet. The entrance to the memorial apartment is combined with an entry hall which will also lead you to the museum of poet Andrey Bely.
The display on the ground floor is related to those with whom the poet mingled, as well as his literary and public activity. Some objects which belonged to the Khitrov family are also displayed here. On the first floor, where the Pushkins lived, the 19th century interiors have been restored to how they would have been during the era. The few surviving objects which Pushkin once touched can be seen there too.
The halls of the “Pushkin and MoscowRussian: Pushkin i Moskva or Пушкин и Москва” display on the ground floor are particularly interesting. They feature a collection of engravings with early 19th century views of Moscow. Works of J. Delabart and E. Gertner alongside other artists recall old patriarchal Moscow with its shadowy gardens, monasteries, and cathedrals, the old Kremlin and estates owned by the nobility.
Moscow is Pushkin’s birthplace. He spent his childhood in the family estate ZakharovoRussian: Захарово 40 km west of the capital. The poet always recalled the place fondly; he enjoyed his frequent visits there and was proud of the role his childhood home played in the Patriotic War of 1812the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812.
The display of the second hall covers the cultural life of Moscow of the 1820-1830s. The city was bubbling with literary and theatrical activity. Famous actors and numerous balls were features of Moscow at that time. The poet frequented theatre performances and went to see visiting celebrities, including singers A. Catalani and G. Zontag, E. Ricci and piano player J. Field. It goes without saying that Pushkin’s plays were also successfully staged in Moscow.
The exhibition also provides information about the famous salons for which the Moscow of the 19th century was famous. The best-known of these was Zinaida Volkonskayaa Russian writer, poet, singer, composer, salonist and lady in waiting’s salon, where Pushkin met the Polish poet A. Mitskevich. This hall abounds in portraits of Pushkin’s friends and acquaintances – D. Venevitinov, Z. Volkonskaya, A. Raevsky, S. Sobolevsky, P. Nashchyokin, and others. It also features portraits of women Pushkin was in love with (E. Ushakova and S. Pushkina). On the desk, you will find a few pages from Ekaterina Ushakova’s famous album with Pushkin’s poems and drawings. The centerpiece is the grand piano with the music sheet to the “Fountain of BakhchisarayRussian: Bakhchisarayskiy fontan or Бахчисарайский фонтан” poem. You can also see portraits of F. Bulgarin, P. Chaadaev, N. Nadezhdina, P. Vyazemsky.
The fifth hall displays a rare edition of one of Pushkin’s most important works – the drama “Boris GodunovRussian: Борис Годунов” – and contemporaries’ feedback to and reviews of this masterpiece. In the sixth hall, you will find another rarity – a model of the monument to Catherine IIEmpress of Russia from 1762 until 1796, the country's longest-ruling female leader and its most renowned (the poet called it the Copper Granny). Pushkin tried to sell the original bronze monument, but in vain. He planned to use the money he would have made for his wedding.
The wonderful collection of furniture draws visitors’ attention, too. Some of it has been in use in Polotnyany ZavodRussian: Полотняный завод, an estate owned by the Goncharovs, Pushkin’s in-laws. There is also a wax model of A. Goncharov’s serf orchestra made in the late 18th century. A few rooms are occupied by collections of objects owned by friends of Pushkin’s, N. Nadezhdin and P. Vyazemsky.
Pushkin’s original interiors were reconstructed in the halls on the top floor where he rented a five-room apartment (it consisted of a hall, the drawing room, a study, a bedroom, and a boudoir). In the drawing room and other halls is furniture typical of the epoch as well as decorative elements in the Empire style – chandeliers, wall lamps, and girandoles. The Pushkins held a ball in the grand drawing room on 17 February 1831. A. Bulgakov, who was invited to the event, later recalled: “It was a marvellous evening at the Pushkins’ yesterday. They both treated their guests to a wonderful meal. She is charming and they are like two doves. May God let them live on like this. There was a lot of dancing… The dinner was fine; it seemed strange to everyone that Pushkin, who frequented taverns, has got a household like this”.
On it there is an ink set with an image of a piccaninny and a miniature portrait of the poet – a copy of the work by V. Tropinin. Natalia Pushkina’s table, which she used for needlework, is beside it. Pushkin’s attitude towards his spouse is reflected in the painting of Madonna and Child hanging on the wall. The poet worshipped her, comparing her to the Most Holy Mother of God in his poems. Natalia’s portrait here is too, but it was painted by I. Makarov in 1849, when Pushkina had remarried and changed her last name to Lanskaya.
In the rest of the halls of the first floor, you will see personal objects owned by Pushkin’s children, many of whom grew up to be outstanding people in their own right. One of the rarities in these halls is an ink set owned by M. Gartung, Pushkin’s eldest daughter, a lady in waiting of the Emperor’s court. She is considered to be the inspiration for Anna Karenina, the main character of Leo Tolstoy’s novel of the same name.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com