There is a truly remarkable museum in a quiet side street near the Garden Ring in Moscow. This museum is Viktor Vasnetsov’s house (1848-1926), a legendary painter who pioneered the Neo-Russian art style. The museum is an exemplary Russian “terem”: it has window surrounds with relief images in the shape of a kokoshnik (a semicircular or keel-like exterior decorative element), tall peaked spires, a barrel-shaped roof, an ancient gate, and a wooden wicket door. The tiled frieze on its façade and the ceramic tiles on the stoves are the originals. The museum itself displays a unique collection of 24,000 exhibits, including a collection of works titled, ‘Poem of Seven Fairy Tales’.
VICTOR VASNETSOV AND THE HISTORY OF THE MEMORIAL HOUSE
Viktor Vasnetsov’s work is a reflection of the unity of seemingly opposite themes: it merges fairy tales with contemporary topical issues. This was a direct response to the social environment at the time, which at the beginning of the 20th century, was extremely patriotic.
During his life, Viktor Vasnetsov created a number of paintings which became national symbols: ‘The Bogatyrs’, ‘Alyonushka’, ‘Three Tsarevnas of the Underwater Kingdom’, ‘Ivan Tsarevich Riding a Grey Wolf’, ‘After the Battle of Igor Sviatoslavich with Polovtsy’ and ‘The Flying Carpet’. Most of these were purchased by Pavel Tretyakov and are now exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery.
Viktor Vasnetsov’s final works were created in Soviet Russia during the Civil War. Towards the end of his life, his creative work was so significant that the Soviet government “forgave” him his commitment to the monarchy and the pursuit of Orthodox canons, and allocated him a pension.
Victor Vasnetsov built a house to his own architectural design using his own funds. He had to ask for the permission of the Moscow governor to do so, because using wood for construction in the capital was restricted for fire safety reasons. He then lived and worked in this house for 30 years.
The museum was established in 1953 and became part of the Tretyakov Gallery in 1986. Some household and interior design items typical of the 19th and early 20th centuries have been preserved in the museum. Many of these were made to Viktor Vasnetsov’s designs, along with the house itself. A visit to this museum will give you both a chance to find yourself in a Russian house dating back to the 19th century and to see the world through the eyes of a brilliant Russian artist.
The museum collection comprises over 24,000 exhibits including paintings, household items, arts and crafts, post cards, and photos. The original interior of the house is still in good condition. On display are the bedroom, the dining room, the private rooms of the family members, the workshop, and the drawing room. The furniture for the drawing room and the dining room was elaborately made according to Viktor Vasnetsov’s drawings in the Abramtsevo and Stroganov carpenter’s and chiseler’s workshops as well as by his brother Apollinary M. Vasnetsov in Vyatka.
On the second floor, Viktor Vasnetsov built a spacious wooden studio which is full of natural light. The paintings of the ‘Poem of Seven Fairy Tales’ cycle are displayed in this room, including: ‘The Unsmiling Tsarevna’, ‘The Frog Tsarevna’, ‘The Flying Carpet’, ‘Baba-Yaga’, ‘The Sleeping Tsarevna’, ‘Sivka-Burka’, and ‘Koshchei the Deathless’. There are some other fairy-tale inspired paintings on display here, too: ‘Ivan Tsarevich Fighting the Three-Headed Sea Serpent’ and ‘Dobrynya Nikitich Fighting Dragon Gorynych’. It was in this workshop that Viktor Vasnetsov created his most famous paintings: ‘Tsar Ivan Vasilievich the Terrible’ and ‘Bogatyrs’.
The museum exhibition also features sketches and author’s copies of the artist’s works. You can see the famous painting, ‘Ivan Tsarevich Riding the Grey Wolf’, sketches for theatrical performances, architectural plans of buildings, family icons, and a portrait gallery of the artist’s family, the centrepiece of which is his wife Alexandra’s portrait. Among other numerous exhibits are objects which the artist used, including chairs and tables, paint brushes, palettes and drawing easels, and household items dating back to the 19th century. Pieces of art created by Victor Vasnetsov’s friends are also on prominently displayed. Among these, there are works by Mikhail Vrubel, which visitors to the museum are often drawn to.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com