Abramtsevo: Life In The Bosom Of Nature

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Abramtsevo: Life In The Bosom Of Nature
Abramtsevo: Life In The Bosom Of Nature

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Abramtsevo happily escaped the fate of many Russian estates, which fell into desolation during the years of noble impoverishment. In the last third of the 19th century, it became one of the centers of Russian artistic culture. I.E. Repin, brothers Vasnetsov, V.D. Polenov, M.V. Nesterov, M.A. Vrubel, K.A. Korovin lived and worked for a long time in the hospitable house of the Mamontovs, I.E.. Ostroukhov and for the first time the talent of V.A. Serov was so clearly manifested. In Abramtsevo's home performances, new principles of theatrical art were born, which were then embodied in the performances of the Private Opera of S.I. Mamontov. Finally, it was here that the traditions of ceramic and carpentry and carving crafts were revived and developed.

Group portrait on a garden bench. 1880s Museum-reserve
Group portrait on a garden bench. 1880s Museum-reserve

Group portrait on a garden bench. 1880s Museum-reserve "Abramtsevo"

The Mamontovs knew how to appreciate the discreet beauty of Central Russian nature. Having become the owners of the Abramtsevo estate, they did everything to preserve the relict oak grove and in the future tried to preserve the natural landscape of this place as much as possible. The Vorya River with its picturesque winding banks, quiet backwaters overgrown with water lilies, surrounding the estate, forests, copses, fields and ravines tuned in to "spiritual communication" with nature, which was a characteristic feature of Abramtsevo life.

The estate and its surroundings were a place for leisurely walks, cheerful cavalcades, picnics in the bosom of nature. The pages of the Chronicle of the village of Abramtsev, a home album led by Savva Ivanovich Mamontov, are filled with notes, thanks to which we learn how the owners of the estate and their numerous guests spent their time. Here is an entry dated April 16, 1881: “We went to the river, to the dam, and to the cattle, even insanely daring walks on the melting ice were made”. May 4 of the same year: "After breakfast we went to the oak grove in a chaise and horseback." A few days later: "In the evening, all the available company made a walk across Bykovo across the river and along the high road home." May 10, 1881: "We went to listen to the nightingales, despite the light rain." May 26: "All went for a walk in the monastery forest in a big company, sat for a long time on the cliff."

Both adults and children went for walks in the forest - picking berries and mushrooms. “In such cases,” recalled Nikolai Prakhov, “a long line 1 was harnessed. The coachman - in a plush undercoat, a red red shirt and a low straight hat with peacock feather eyes - sat on the trestle, and those "mothers" and "aunts" who, for some reason, found it difficult to walk, and children's small fry sat on the ruler. Which of the older children ran on foot, catching up and overtaking the ruler. In the forest, they were divided into small groups, and a competition began - who would pick up the most berries or mushrooms."

Repin I.E. Cavalcade in Abramtsevo. 1879. Paper, cardboard. Museum-reserve
Repin I.E. Cavalcade in Abramtsevo. 1879. Paper, cardboard. Museum-reserve

Repin I.E. Cavalcade in Abramtsevo. 1879. Paper, cardboard. Museum-reserve "Abramtsevo"

In the summertime, the Mamontovs and their guests loved to have picnics in the forest. The wife of Savva Ivanovich Mamontov, Elizaveta Grigorievna, writes about this in her “Notes”: “Often all of us, big and small, went to the forest with breakfast and tea, where they picked berries, mushrooms, lit fires, etc. The oak grove has always served as a favorite place for this”. A cart loaded with carpets, dishes and all kinds of cold and hot food was sent to the picnic site in advance. The cook, the housekeeper, the girls serving in the house were driving … Adults and children followed whatever they wanted - in a carriage, a Kazan tarantass, especially light and roomy. Who rode the convertible 2and who is on the ruler. They sang songs, bowed to the peasants and children they met. The older children sometimes jumped out of the carriage to pick flowers. " One of such merry walks by a large company was immortalized by IE Repin in his pencil drawing "Cavalcade in Abramtsevo" (1879).

N.V. Yakunchikova (married to Polenov) and E.G. Mamontov. Study in the open air. 1880s Museum-reserve
N.V. Yakunchikova (married to Polenov) and E.G. Mamontov. Study in the open air. 1880s Museum-reserve

N.V. Yakunchikova (married to Polenov) and E.G. Mamontov. Study in the open air. 1880s Museum-reserve "Abramtsevo"

If for people far from art, Abramtsev's nature was only a pleasant background for out-of-town entertainment, then for artists who stayed for a long time in the hospitable house of the Mamontovs, it gave the strongest creative impulse. According to the figurative expression of E.D. Polenova, for more than 30 years the artists had “confidential conversations with nature” here. Dozens of plein air sketches and paintings were created in Abramtsevo. There are no emphatically spectacular views in them, but "they have that emotional charge that is conveyed by the artist who has got used to nature, constantly and lovingly observing its changes and states."

There are several constant themes in the landscape works of the artists of the Abramtsevo circle. A number of works by V.D. Polenov, V.M. Vasnetsov, K.A. Korovin, M.V. Nesterov and other artists are dedicated to the quiet, very Russian beauty of the Vori River with its picturesque banks and quiet backwaters. Abramtsevo birches were also a favorite artistic theme. Vasnetsov's sketch "Birch Grove in Abramtsevo" (1879), possibly, depicts the same grove where both adults and children, who had a rest in Abramtsevo in summer, often went to pick mushrooms. The trampled road, lined with birches on both sides, was depicted by A.M. Vasnetsov in the painting “Abramtsevo. In the forest "(1894). I.S. Ostroukhov constantly addressed the topic of birches, and V.D. Polenov repeatedly wrote a birch alley in Abramtsevo. 3

One of the signs of the natural originality of these places is the famous Abramtsevo oaks. Not many have survived. Oak groves, once quite common in the Moscow region, have been destroyed almost everywhere over the course of many centuries of active human economic activity. Nevertheless, in 1879, oak groves occupied 8 acres out of 285, which at that time constituted the area of ​​the entire estate. One of the most famous works depicting the Abramtsevo oaks is the painting by V.M. Vasnetsov "Oak Grove in Abramtsevo", painted in 1883 and now kept in the State Tretyakov Gallery. Viktor Mikhailovich depicted these trees very often, apparently feeling their consonance with the epic structure of his paintings. Oaks in Abramtsevo were also painted by I.S. Ostroukhov and V.A. Serov.

The attention of Abramtsevo artists was also attracted by completely chamber natural motifs: a picturesque fern by a stream, a blooming meadow with daisies and Ivan da Marya, yellow lights of swimsuits against a background of dark fir trees. They gaze with genuine admiration at what until that time was considered of little interest for artistic implementation. Elena Dmitrievna Polenova lovingly writes out thickets of blooming dream 4, dry bird cherry, and her brother, Vasily Dmitrievich, is inspired by huge burdock leaves, the powerful, juicy texture of which is emphasized by yellow leaves and red rowan fruits.

The gardener Xenophon. 1880s Museum-reserve
The gardener Xenophon. 1880s Museum-reserve

The gardener Xenophon. 1880s Museum-reserve "Abramtsevo"

It is interesting to leaf through the album of flower ornaments by Elizaveta Grigorievna Mamontova, which allows you to form an opinion about the flower, and to some extent the artistic preferences of the hostess of the house. In it we will not find drawings of luxurious garden flowers. Of the plants that are commonly referred to as the so-called garden flora, only modest spring flowers are represented - woodlands and crocuses, and the rest of the drawings depict oxalis, marigold, spring primrose, which is popularly called "ram", lungwort, mother -and-stepmother. It becomes clear why the Abramtsevo flower beds are so modest, to say the least, in photographs from the funds of the Abramtsevo Museum-Reserve, why Abramtsevo's "exemplary" estates of the second half of the 19th century with their perfectly trimmed lawns and luxurious flower beds are so littlecarefully thought out landscape compositions. Perhaps this is partly due to the amateurishness of those gardeners who worked in the estate during the time of the Mamontovs. Perhaps only the first gardener of the Mamontovs, Mikhail Ivanovich, who entered their service from a neighboring landlord's estate, was a high-level professional. Of the other gardeners, we only know by name Xenophon, a photograph of which in folk clothes is kept in the Abramtsev Museum and Mark Alekseevich Redkin, who served as a hussar in the same regiment as the son of the owner of the estate, Sergei Savvich Mamontov. It is unknown by what means he ended up in Abramtsevo, where he settled down and started a family.who entered their service from a neighboring landlord estate was a high-level professional. Of the other gardeners, we only know by name Xenophon, a photograph of which in folk clothes is kept in the Abramtsev Museum and Mark Alekseevich Redkin, who served as a hussar in the same regiment as the son of the owner of the estate, Sergei Savvich Mamontov. It is unknown by what means he ended up in Abramtsevo, where he settled down and started a family.who entered their service from a neighboring landlord estate was a high-level professional. Of the other gardeners, we only know by name Xenophon, a photograph of which in folk clothes is kept in the Abramtsev Museum and Mark Alekseevich Redkin, who served as a hussar in the same regiment as the son of the owner of the estate, Sergei Savvich Mamontov. It is unknown by what means he ended up in Abramtsevo, where he settled down and started a family.

Ostroukhov I.S. In the park. 1885. Museum-reserve
Ostroukhov I.S. In the park. 1885. Museum-reserve

Ostroukhov I.S. In the park. 1885. Museum-reserve "Abramtsevo" And yet, apparently, it was not the people who created the appearance of the Abramtsevo park in the times of the Mamontovs, but in those artistic (and ideological) attitudes that prevailed among the artists of the Abramtsevo circle, for whom nature was the highest value. Beside her, flower beds and other garden ventures should have seemed like artificial decoration, something unnecessary and unnatural. Flowers in Abramtsevo grew everywhere. For lilies of the valley we went to the “Makarovsky Forest” outside Vorey, where the artists' settlement is now located; fragrant violets bloomed near the Main House, and in early spring the clearings of the forest were blue; daisies grew everywhere in the grass … According to Nikolai Prakhov, “flowers in Abramtsevo - both cultivated and wild - were growing at that time (70-80s of the XIX century - A.G.) a lot.Flowers were constantly changing in all rooms, and the children took an ardent part in drawing up the bouquets. " These words are also confirmed by paintings, for example, a study by VA Serov "House in Abramtsevo", kept in the Tretyakov Gallery, written in 1886. It shows the sun-drenched upper terraces of the Lower Park5, on which flowers grow in abundance, among which wild-growing clearly predominate.

It is characteristic that the manor park, captured in the paintings and drawings of the artists of the Abramtsevo circle, is inextricably merged with the natural environment, being its natural continuation. His artistic image accentuates the "miraculous" beauty - discreet, unassuming, but expressive in its own way. In the painting by IS Ostroukhov "In the Park" (1885) we see dense thickets of a young forest, through which a path covered with golden leaves is barely visible. In another work by the same artist ("In the Abramtsevo Park", 1887), an idyllic autumn landscape appears before us: spreading trees resembling maples, wide paths strewn with leaves, simple wooden benches. With good reason, IS Ostroukhov can be called the "singer of the Abramtsevo park": he owns many works that have preserved his image for posterity.Moreover, Ilya Semyonovich especially loved the autumn park, as if warmed by the warm light of yellow leaves.

Thus, thanks to the works of the artists of the Abramtsevo circle, an important feature of the estate park becomes obvious: its unity with the surrounding nature. It was expressed not only in the fact that the park was opened to the outer space thanks to carefully selected viewpoints, but also in the fact that, in fact, there was no visible border between the park itself and its natural surroundings. Abramtsevo Park was actually a forest park, which was only slightly touched by a human hand. It did not have thoughtful compositions of trees and shrubs, a series of alternating species, as in exemplary English landscape gardens, but there was naturalness and intimacy so close to the Russian heart, which the artists who lived in Abramtsevo so appreciated.

1 Multiple open carriage.

2 Stroller, tarantass, convertible - different types of horse carts.

3 One painting by VD Polenov "Birch Alley in Abramtsevo" is kept in the Abramtsevo Museum, its author's copy is in the Museum of VD Polenov near Tarusa.

4 An ineradicable weed that gardeners mercilessly fight.

5 Part of the park that went down from the Main House to the Vor.

Read also the article on our portal ABRAMCE GREENERY: peaches for a girl

More information about the history of the Abramtsevo estate can be found in the book by A.V. Gorodnyansky's "Abramtsevo Album. Abramtsevo Estate at the Mamontovs", a fragment of which this article is

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