The Andrei Bely Memorial Apartment in Moscow is thought to be the only museum dedicated to the memory of the outstanding poet, writer, and philosopher of the Russian Silver Age. Andrei Bely (his real name was Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev, 1880-1934) was a theorist and pioneer of the symbolism movement in poetry.
Andrei Bely spent the first 26 years of his life in an old building on the corner of Arbat (Russian: Арбат) and Denezhny side street (Russian: Denezhny pereulok or Денежный переулок). The Bugaevs lived in an apartment on the second floor of the mansion and it was here that the young Bugaev spent his childhood, school and university years. At about the same time, at the beginning of the 20th century, he began to write under the pen name “Andrei Bely”.
The mansion was built in the Arbat at the end of the 18th century, intended to be the manor house of an urban estate. In 1877, it was rebuilt into a tenement building, where the Bugaevs rented one of the apartments. At the beginning of the 20th century, the building was called ‘the Professorial House of the Moscow University’. Andrei Bely’s father Nikolai Bugaev was the Dean of the Physics and Mathematics Department. There are many famous names on the list of the people who used to visit the apartment, including writer Leo Tolstoy, poets A. Blok, V. Bryusov, D. Merezhkovsky, M. Voloshin, Z. Gippius, artist V. E. Borisov-Musatov, composer S.I. Taneev, and philosopher P. Florensky. In 1930, two upper storeys were built, which united the whole ensemble with an eclectic décor and turned the apartments into shared communal flats.
The Andrei Bely Museum Apartment is still decorated in the style of the late 19th – early 20th centuries. Its interiors are composed of authentic furniture and period interior items which are accompanied by the Bugaevs’ personal belongings. The apartment looks the way it would have during Bely’s youth. The museum features extensive materials on Andrei Bely’s creative work, his communications with representatives of literary circles of Russia, as well as his personal life. A number of objects were given to the museum by the writer’s wife Klavdiya Nikolaevna, whilst some were given by the poet’s friends and relatives.
Right on the staircase leading to the apartment, visitors sense the special atmosphere – this is created by shots of the old Moscow, as well as literary leaders of the time. Much attention is paid to Bely’s “Childhood Bedroom”. It displays the photographs of Bely when he was a child, as well as his parents. There are also the books he read, his published literary works, and materials related to some episodes from his early life. A particularly valuable exhibit in the room is the swaddling blanket the baby, who would become such a literary giant, was once wrapped in. It was donated to the museum by Bely’s relatives.
The poet’s mother, Alexandra Dmitriyevna, had a great impact on the shaping of Bely’s interests. A display called ‘Mother’s Room’ gives insight into Andrei Bely’s creative work as well as his obsession with literature and art. It contains numerous photographs and personal belongings all linked with Bely’s beloved mother. ‘Father’s Study’ is also filed with interesting exhibits.
The originals and copies of photos, documents, and other memorabilia from the past are displayed in the Dining Room. These provide a great deal of information about Andrei Bely’s personal and spiritual life, and his creative work. Among them is the design of the famous Goetheanum – the world centre for the anthroposophical movement, where Bely was a member. The hall called ‘The Living Room’ serves as a venue for various events dedicated to literary occasions of the past.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com