Kuskovo: Bosquets With Pavilions And Gai

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Kuskovo: Bosquets With Pavilions And Gai
Kuskovo: Bosquets With Pavilions And Gai

Video: Kuskovo: Bosquets With Pavilions And Gai

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Video: Усадьба "Кусково" - дворец XVIII века, который принадлежал графскому роду Шереметевых 2023, February
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Ending. Beginning in the articles Visit to Count Sheremetev in Kuskovo, Kuskovo: a palace with a parterre and a greenhouse

Park side pavilions

A clear, geometrically balanced layout of the regular park connected and contrasted pavilions and other small architectural forms to each other. The parterre occupies a central position in the park, being bounded from the south by the Palace, from the north by greenhouses, and from the sides by the walls of the bosquets. Now we have to explore the side parts of the regular park, attracting a shadow and a straight path. To the west of the parterre were the Dutch and Swiss houses, the Hermitage, the riding hall, swings, carousels and playgrounds for rounders and bowling pins, and even to the left were houses for the courtyard.

Kuskovo. Bosquet with apple trees
Kuskovo. Bosquet with apple trees

Kuskovo. Bosquet with apple trees

The entire western part of the park seemed to be dedicated to unpretentious domestic joys, comfort and solitude, while the eastern part was devoted to arts and social pleasures. The eastern part housed the Grotto, the Menagerie, the Italian House, the Air Theater, the Trellis Arbor and the Belvedere. At the end of the regular park was the Turkish Kiosk, which housed the Maly Theater.

In both parts of the regular park - east and west - shady avenues formed by bosquet walls await us. What do the walls of the bosquets hide from the eyes of visitors? Empty meadows, outbuildings or just unkempt undergrowth? No, no! Each of the numerous bosquets was planted with some kind of vegetable or fruit and berry crops. They are trying to revive this tradition now. A bountiful harvest, calculated by carts, was enough not only for the generous table of the Sheremetevs, but also for sale. True, the income from the estate still did not cover the costs of entertainment.

Kuskovo. Bypass channel
Kuskovo. Bypass channel

Kuskovo. Bypass channel

Plants planted in the regular park were carefully selected according to species, decorativeness, size, leaf color and flowering time. Trees and shrubs were trimmed according to the shape given by the architect, observing the identity of their sizes, so that the trees and bosquets were the same, like billiard balls.

By the way, in Kuskovo, a number of trees in front of the bosquets were cut exactly in the form of balls, located at an equal distance from each other. The border of the regular park was marked on all sides by the Obvodny Canal and a rampart with trees growing on it.

So, we again returned to the drawbridge, through which our carriage recently entered the front yard. To our left is the western part of the park with the Dutch and Swiss houses, the Hermitage pavilion and the now lost arena.

Kuskovo. Drawbridge
Kuskovo. Drawbridge

Kuskovo. Drawbridge

The western part of the park. Engraving
The western part of the park. Engraving

The western part of the park. Engraving

The drawbridge was thrown across the channel between the Great Palace and Gollandskiy ponds, so the Dutch house on the banks of the pond of the same name was the first to receive the attention of guests. Built of red brick, with a steep roof, it is reflected in the waters of a small pond. This house was built in 1749 and embodied the ideas of the people of the 18th century. about the life of the Dutch burghers, while simultaneously imitating the style of Peter's residences. In 1751, a garden was laid out at the Dutch house, a pond was dug and two gazebos were placed on its banks, reproducing the crowdedness of Dutch cities. To reproduce the cramped buildings in Dutch cities, the banks of the pond were occupied by two pavilions: a pillar arbor made in the Tuscan order ("Tuscan Gallery") - on the east bank, and a two-story Chinese pavilion, or "Pagodenburg",as its owners called it, with characteristic pagoda-roofs decorated with bells - on the west bank. In the Chinese pavilion, oriental wonders were exhibited, a special place among them was occupied by translucent thin porcelain, valued at its weight in gold. The pond was inhabited by carps, accustomed to the sound of a bell to swim up to the attendant for food. In the garden near the house there was a flower garden with tulips and hyacinths and a small vegetable garden with cabbage and asparagus. Now the rightful place of these "typical Dutchmen" was taken by garden begonia and low-growing marigolds. The garden itself was "fenced in with a stone garden with an iron grating." This ensemble met the guests arriving along the main road from Perovo.a special place among them was occupied by translucent thin porcelain, valued at its weight in gold. The pond was inhabited by carps, accustomed to the sound of a bell to swim up to the attendant for food. In the garden near the house there was a flower garden with tulips and hyacinths and a small vegetable garden with cabbage and asparagus. Now the rightful place of these "typical Dutchmen" was taken by garden begonia and low-growing marigolds. The garden itself was "fenced in with a stone garden with an iron grating." This ensemble met the guests arriving along the main road from Perovo.a special place among them was occupied by translucent thin porcelain, valued at its weight in gold. The pond was inhabited by carps, accustomed to the sound of a bell to swim up to the attendant for food. In the garden near the house there was a flower garden with tulips and hyacinths and a small vegetable garden with cabbage and asparagus. Now the rightful place of these "typical Dutchmen" was taken by garden begonia and low-growing marigolds. The garden itself was "fenced in with a stone garden with an iron grating." This ensemble met the guests arriving along the main road from Perovo.Now the rightful place of these "typical Dutchmen" was taken by garden begonia and low-growing marigolds. The garden itself was "fenced in with a stone garden with an iron grating." This ensemble met the guests arriving along the main road from Perovo.Now the rightful place of these "typical Dutchmen" was taken by garden begonia and low-growing marigolds. The garden itself was "fenced in with a stone garden with an iron grating." This ensemble met the guests arriving along the main road from Perovo.

Kuskovo. Dutch house
Kuskovo. Dutch house

Kuskovo. Dutch house

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"Avenue of the special Galansky House in Kuskovo, owned by His S. Gr. PB Sheremetev". Presented at noon. A. Kitayskoy House B. Open pavilion S. Malinka pond with crucian carp ". Engraving by P. Laurent after M. Makhaev's drawing. 1770s.

Kuskovo. Flower garden at the Dutch house
Kuskovo. Flower garden at the Dutch house

Kuskovo. Flower garden at the Dutch house

Kuskovo. Garden at the Dutch house
Kuskovo. Garden at the Dutch house

Kuskovo. Garden at the Dutch house

The walls of the rooms of the Dutch House, decorated with tiles, the ceiling with oak beams, many marinas of the 18th century. brushes of Dutch and English artists, specially purchased to decorate the interior of this house, created the cozy atmosphere of the house of a wealthy burgher. The rarest and most expensive items made of Chinese, Japanese, Saxon porcelain and precious Venetian glass were adorned here in the hills.

From the Dutch house, parallel to the main planning axis, there was an alley of games ("Malia games"), broken up in 1750. To the north along the alley of games and further to the border of the regular park stretched a large birch grove, which was divided "into different avenues and curtains, planted trellis ".

In 1750, sheared firs were planted in the estate. In late autumn of the same year, it was decided to expand the regular garden to the east.

Kuskovo. Swiss house
Kuskovo. Swiss house

Kuskovo. Swiss house

A century later (in the 1870s), a Swiss house, built according to the project of N.L. Benois, will appear next to the Dutch house. This construction was the last in Kuskovo. At the beginning of the 20th century, the last owner of Kuskovo, Sergey Dmitrievich Sheremetev, lived in this house. Now it houses the administration of the museum.

A small pavilion of the Hermitage (from the French ermitage - a place of solitude) was built from 1765 to 1767 according to the project of K. Blank. Twice the work was stopped because of illness and death, first of Countess Varvara Alekseevna, and then of the beloved daughter of the Count, Varvara. In 1766, Pyotr Borisovich Sheremetev with two children left Petersburg forever and settled in Kuskovo.

The Hermitage is located at the intersection of eight alleys, diverging at an angle of 45 degrees, closing their perspective. The alley connecting it with the Trellis arbor in the eastern part of the park forms another transverse planning axis. Absolutely symmetrical in their position in the park, they are important architectural elements that systematize the arrangement of the bosquets.

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"Avenue of the special Hermitage in the garden of the village of Kuskovo, owned by His S. Gr. PB Sheremetev." P. Laurent's engraving on fig. M. Makhaeva. 1770s

Hermitage in Tsarskoe Selo
Hermitage in Tsarskoe Selo

Hermitage in Tsarskoe Selo

The Kuskovo Hermitage, decorated in the Baroque style, reminds us of similar pavilions in Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo. The circular niches on the second floor of the building are occupied by sculptures. In plan, the Hermitage looks like a flower with four petals, slightly elongated along the main axis of the park. If all the other pavilions in Kuskovo were accessible to the public, then the Hermitage has always remained a place for the elite. Only those with whom the owner wanted to talk on an equal footing without interference and unnecessary ears were invited here. The pavilion did not have a staircase to the second floor hall; its role was played by an elevator in the form of a sofa. This lifting mechanism was located in one of the "petals" of the pavilion.

Kuskovo. Hermitage
Kuskovo. Hermitage

Kuskovo. Hermitage

Kuskovo. Rotunda of the Hermitage
Kuskovo. Rotunda of the Hermitage

Kuskovo. Rotunda of the Hermitage

The entire area of ​​the second floor, consisting of five rooms - four rotundas and a central hall - is perceived as a single space due to the unity of the Baroque interior. In the center of the hall there was a round table designed for 16 envelopes and equipped with a lifting mechanism. It was enough for the guest to pull the bell, and the plates and menus with the guests' notes drove down to the first floor, where serving and changing dishes took place. These lift mechanisms were the first in Russia.

In 1769, by order of Catherine II, one of the rooms of the Small Hermitage of the Winter Palace was equipped with a similar lifting table. And in 1793, when it became difficult for the aging empress to climb the numerous stairs of the Winter Palace, I.P. Kulibin specially designed a "lifting and lowering chair" driven by a steam engine, which Catherine used during the last 3 years of her life. As you can see, the visit to Kuskovo was not in vain for the Empress.

Between the Hermitage and the Orangery there was an arena area.

“Marble mausoleums were replaced by picturesque bridges with gilded lattices, alleys of cedars were replaced by lemon, orange, orange trees and huge noble laurels (“like in Gishpania”) in tubs along the parterre. Artificial slides of unusual outlines coexisted with fountains, trellises entwined with roses and hops, and their own Champs Elysees …”This is how visitors remember the Pleasure Garden.

Eastern part of the park

Let's return to the Big Pond and walk along the eastern part of the regular park.

The grotto is one of the most remarkable pavilions in Kuskovo. The construction and decoration of this small three-part building took 20 years. The pavilion designed by F. Argunov will remind us of the Grotto in Tsarskoe Selo, only more modest and smaller.

Kuskovo. Grotto
Kuskovo. Grotto

Kuskovo. Grotto

The grotto in Tsarskoe Selo. Engraving
The grotto in Tsarskoe Selo. Engraving

The grotto in Tsarskoe Selo. Engraving

The Italian fashion for grottoes reached Russia by the middle of the 18th century. By this time, the grottoes, as rooms that preserve coolness, lost their direct purpose and even underwent significant changes, turning from marble caves with fountains into garden pavilions. They became an adornment of rich estates, and of course Sheremetev considered it his duty to acquire such a "fashionable accessory".

This pavilion combines two elements: water and stone. We will notice this at first glance at the pavilion, which stands on the bank of the pond and is crowned with a symbolic fountain, the water of which "flows" along the edges of the roof. Painted in green now, these ribs were made of shiny white metal to accentuate the imitation of water. The original combination of the sand-colored cornices, columns, and bluish rustic domes and walls also emphasized the idea of ​​a stone washed by water. The change in the color of the pavilion somewhat distorted the architect's plan.

Kuskovo. Dome of the grotto
Kuskovo. Dome of the grotto

Kuskovo. Dome of the grotto

Kuskovo. Mainsail lattice
Kuskovo. Mainsail lattice

Kuskovo. Mainsail lattice

The grotto in Kuskovo is the only and the last pavilion in Russia that has preserved the unique "grotto decoration" of the 18th century. The three-part building of the Grotto is divided into a central hall and two side offices - north and south. Outside, glazed doors and large windows are closed with figured lattices, as if braided with golden algae. You look through the window and dive into the depths of the sea kingdom.

It took five long years to build the Grotto building. In 1761, M.I. Zimin, a carver of the Gofintendant's office, and I.I. Focht. Their painstaking and laborious work lasted another 15 years. By 1775, the walls and ceiling were decorated with shells, tuff, glass, mirrors and stucco moldings, creating a magical underwater world inhabited by unprecedented animals, birds and fish. The diffused light penetrating through the skylight of the dome in the central hall reinforced the impression of an “unearthly” world around. Focht used 24 types of Mediterranean mollusk shells to decorate the walls and vaults. The shells were delivered by carts from Holland, the former supplier of this outlandish product.

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"Avenue of the special grotto in the Garden of the village of Kuskov, belonging to His S.Gr. PB Sheremetev", erected near the Prudik, through which a part of the Menagerie is visible. "Etching by P. Laurent after M. Makhaev's drawing. 1770s.

Kuskovo. Central Hall of the Grotto
Kuskovo. Central Hall of the Grotto

Kuskovo. Central Hall of the Grotto

To see the Grotto as the contemporaries of B.P. Sheremetev, we will never succeed, because some of the mollusks, the shells of which were used to decorate the halls, have already died out, the secret of attaching the shells to the walls has been hopelessly lost, and the mother-of-pearl of the preserved shells inevitably decomposes over time, turning into fragile limestone. The external design of the pavilion was also simplified: it lost all the sculptures on the roof parapet.

Kuskovo. South Office of the Grotto
Kuskovo. South Office of the Grotto

Kuskovo. South Office of the Grotto

Kuskovo. Shell sculpture
Kuskovo. Shell sculpture

Kuskovo. Shell sculpture

The central hall of the Grotto, painted in marble, has a through passage to the Italian Pond. Two side offices - north and south - are decorated respectively in cold blue and warm pink colors. The niches of the offices were enlivened by wooden and clay statues of half a man's height, all lined with shells. Shell Western European sculptures of the second half of the 18th century, were specially purchased by the count in Germany in 1775, now they are unique exhibits of the museum. The walls of the pavilion were decorated with panels of shells. Two of them have survived in the museum's funds, on one - a scene of a meeting of lovers at the fountain, on the second - a scene of a quarrel between spouses over spilled salt.

Kuskovo. Shell panels
Kuskovo. Shell panels

Kuskovo. Shell panels

Kuskovo. Shell panels
Kuskovo. Shell panels

Kuskovo. Shell panels

The central hall of the Grotto is designed so that you can organize a gala reception, a banquet or a dance. In 1774, tables were laid here for Catherine II and her retinue.

Now, fed up with the coolness and wonders of the "underwater" kingdom, together with the guests we will go out onto the terrace descending to the mirror of the Italian pond. The pond was reinforced inside with a tree and lined with turf, and a lattice fence was arranged around the pond, which can be seen in the engraving depicting the Grotto. Black and white swans, geese and ducks swam in the pond. Tame birds willingly took food from their hands and entertained the audience, enlivening the landscape. These numerous waterfowl lived in five special heated houses in the Menagerie, located opposite the Grotto. Special "swans" were assigned to watch the birds. Among their charges, in addition to those mentioned, were cranes, American geese and pelicans.

Kuskovo. Menagerie
Kuskovo. Menagerie

Kuskovo. Menagerie

Kuskovo. One of the houses of the Menagerie
Kuskovo. One of the houses of the Menagerie

Kuskovo. One of the houses of the Menagerie

The semicircle of the Menagerie's pavilions is deployed on the banks of the Italian Pond, while its top abuts against the Obvodny Canal, allowing the birds to choose a place for feeding and swimming.

In 1754-55. at the same time the Italian House, the Menagerie and the Air Theater were under construction. On the bank of the octahedral Italian pond, YI Kologrivov erected an Italian house, next to which the Grotto would later appear. Linden alley, connecting the Dutch and Italian houses, forms another transverse planning axis of the park. This small two-story pavilion will remind us of miniature Italian palaces. With a flat roof typical for the south and a loggia that served as a "hanging garden", the Italian house was not only a palace of arts with a rich collection of Italian paintings and sculptures, but also a small palace for receiving guests. We are surrounded by a typical palace interior in miniature: a plafond depicting Diana in a magnificent gilded frame, inlaid parquet of intertwining rings and two fireplaces with mirrors,reflecting in each other and expanding the space of the hall into infinity through the looking glass. Here one could admire paintings by Raphael, Rembrandt, Correggio, Veronese, Guido Reni, Canaletto and other famous Italian artists.

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"The Prospectus of the Special Italian House in Kuskovo, owned by ES Gr. PB Sheremetev", is presented to the north-east. "Engraving by P. Laurent after the drawing of M. Makhaev. 1770s.

Kuskovo. Linden Alley
Kuskovo. Linden Alley

Kuskovo. Linden Alley

Kuskovo. Italian house
Kuskovo. Italian house

Kuskovo. Italian house

Kuskovo. Interior of the Italian house
Kuskovo. Interior of the Italian house

Kuskovo. Interior of the Italian house

Kuskovo. Loggia of the Italian house
Kuskovo. Loggia of the Italian house

Kuskovo. Loggia of the Italian house

Later, when the interests of the owners of Kuskovo shifted to Ostankino, the paintings and sculptures were transported to the Ostankino Palace and the city houses of the Sheremetevs.

Almost the entire second floor of the pavilion is occupied by a bright hall, visible through windows from both sides. The wall opposite the windows on the main façade is cut through by three glass doors overlooking the loggia. In the hot season, an awning was pulled over the loggia, and it turned into a "hanging garden" full of greenery and flowers from greenhouses. Now a low ugly roof has been erected over the loggia and the resulting veranda has been glazed. From here, there was a lovely view of a tiny Italian garden with a two-tiered terrace with fountains, sculptures and cropped plants in tubs. The Italian garden is being restored, and it will once again delight us with a statue of Diana, a small round fountain bowl and four parterre corners that outline the boundaries of the garden's lower terrace.

Kuskovo. Italian house
Kuskovo. Italian house

Kuskovo. Italian house

Kuskovo. Italian garden
Kuskovo. Italian garden

Kuskovo. Italian garden

Kuskovo. Alley of the Italian grove
Kuskovo. Alley of the Italian grove

Kuskovo. Alley of the Italian grove

In this Italian corner of the estate, in addition to a house, a garden and a pond, an Italian grove was planted. It was located between the Italian House and the Air Theater. The place for her planting was leveled and surrounded by a "lattice with a gate", birch trees and trellises of sheared birch along the perimeter were planted inside, so that the "Italian Grove" was Russian in its content to the very roots. Now the fence has been completely restored; an alley fenced with a low barrier leads through the grove to the Air Theater. Let's hope we get to see the reconstruction of the Italian Grove in all its glory.

Having examined the entire Italian corner of the estate, we will walk along the alley through the Italian Grove straight to the Air (green) theater. A short alley leads us to an amphitheater with turf benches, ledges down to the orchestra pit. In this small theater with a hundred seats, everything was green, from the seating benches to the backstage.

The air theater was set up in 1763. The stage was facing south, making the sun work as a free illuminator. You can't imagine more natural lighting. The acoustics here were just as great, according to visitors' reviews, and natural. A section of low curtains behind an Italian grove created the space of a small theater foyer.

The theater backstage was literally green, because they were alive. Shrubs and trees, matched to the tone of the green, were planted and trimmed in such a way that they created a complete illusion of theatrical wings, and the scenery was the view of the Belvedere, which stood in the distance over the canal. The trellis walls of the barberry bosquets served as the walls of the theater. To the left and right of the stage of the Green Theater, two powerful oak trees grew, which served as the basis for a couple of small, but most honorable boxes, to the right - for Catherine II, to the left - for the owner of the house. Entering now into the space of the Air Theater, we will see in front of us a low embankment of the amphitheater in the center, behind which a huge space of the stage is visible, and the backstage of the theater is a set of still empty trellis walls.

Kuskovo. Air theater
Kuskovo. Air theater

Kuskovo. Air theater

Kuskovo. Trellis
Kuskovo. Trellis

Kuskovo. Trellis

To create a micro-relief of the theater and raise it above the marshy soil, they used bulk soil. The vast backstage space hid the backstage and the actors' make-up rooms in the green. From 1763 to 1792 performances were held here.

In the summer, small French operas sounded in the open air, and the theater's repertoire also included "local" operas and ballets. One of such Kuskovo operas, written by the serf composer S.A. Degtyarev, was called "Futile Jealousy, or Kuskovsky Transporter", and its continuation was the opera "Walking, or Gardener Kuskovsky", they were complemented by the "Shepherd's Ballet", which looked beautiful against the background of nature …

In addition to the Air Theater, Kuskovo also had the Bolshoi and Maly theaters.

Kuskovo. Draft arbor
Kuskovo. Draft arbor

Kuskovo. Draft arbor

Next to the Air Theater, at the intersection of eight alleys in the eastern part of the park, there is a Trelyazhnaya gazebo. It balances the transverse planning axis through the Hermitage. The gazebo was designed to delight the guests' ears with the chirping and trills of songbirds, in accordance with the fashionable ideas of the French educators about the rapprochement of man with nature. Hundreds of small songbirds were gathered in this gazebo. Responsibilities for caring for the birds lay with serfs specially assigned to them, from whom they were strictly asked for the death of each bird. The maintenance of this bird orchestra was not cheap, the singers were fed with selected food, specialized for each species of bird, ordered abroad.

Looking at this vast "bird kingdom", one involuntarily compares it to the Bird Pavilions in the Menagerie Garden of Peterhof, once filled with arranged and hung copper gilded cages with songbirds.

Closing this row of pavilions in the eastern part of the Belvedere Park. It was located above the Obvodny Canal to the right of the American Greenhouse, on the same axis with the Italian House and the Air Theater. I did not find any information about its functional purpose. Only its name says that a wonderful view of the park opened up from here. But she found a decision by the Restoration Council of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, which considered the possibility of recreating the Belvedere pavilion in Kuskovo. The conclusion drawn is not encouraging: "the found iconographic materials (the surviving drawings of the Belvedere of the 1780s, 1810s and 1872 and Barabe's engraving based on Molchanov's painting with views of the gazebo of the late 1760s) cannot serve as a scientific basis for the restoration of the lost pavilion." …It was decided to restrict the restoration of the pavilion's stylobate and organize there an observation deck with a fence and a bridge over the ditch of the bypass channel. But while his place is empty.

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"Avenue of the Special Round Gazebo". P. Laurent's engraving on fig. M. Makhaeva. 1770s

We have carefully examined the entire territory of the regular park, now it is worth looking behind the Great Stone Greenhouse. In the 1760s. behind the bypass canal on the north side, a "Labyrinth" and a regular park with a radial layout are being created.

Landscape Park "Guy"

Kuskovo. Passage of Maly Gai
Kuskovo. Passage of Maly Gai

Kuskovo. Passage of Maly Gai

In the 1780s. the northern part of the park was enlarged by the Gai Landscape Park, with waterfalls, rocky steeps, lawns and ravines. The main planning axis of the entire estate complex is continued by a wide avenue, which served as the main road to Moscow. Now in its place there is a pedestrian alley marked on the city map as the passage of Maly Gai and preserved several centuries-old larch and oak trees. P. Rakk, who worked for Sheremetev from 1786 until his death in 1797, was the main architect and builder of Gai. Among Moscow streets, you can still find the straight, like an arrow, Stary Gai Street, more than half a kilometer long, and imagine how vast the Kuskovo landscape park was. Now "Gai" is completely lost, since the entire territory north of the greenhouse at the beginning of the 20th century was sold for summer cottages and later passed into the jurisdiction of the city.

By order of the count, the Geledenka river flowing through Gai was cleared, deepened, the banks overlaid with a stone and made an artery that fed four reservoirs: Lokasinsky in the west, Dlinny (Bezymyanny), then Krugly and in the east - Ozerok, the most "deep and natural". Fish were raised in all the ponds of Kuskovo. Every fishing enthusiast could rent fishing rods for free and enjoy what he loved when he returned home with a catch. There were so many fish in the Great Palace Pond that each casting of the seine brought about two thousand crucians. On the banks of the ponds there were gazebos, houses, the Snail Mountain with the figure of Diana, "Chinese parasol", (French parasol - an umbrella from the sun) "Lion's Cave". An art gallery and the Bolshoi Wooden Theater (1787) were also built on the territory of Guy.

It was in Gaya that the main part of the "ventures" was located, of which there were over fifty on the territory of the estate.

Here you could go to the "Haystack" and find yourself inside a comfortable pavilion with many mirrors and silk furniture, sit in a coffee shop decorated as an Indian gazebo, look into the "Resting Dragon Cave" decorated with corals and fossils, where the figure of a dragon was lying. flame. In this cave one could hear the incessant murmur of underground springs.

From the windows of the Greenhouse House, facing the north side, a view of the labyrinth opened up - a quadrangle with tangled alleys of sheared bushes, in the center of which there was a gazebo, and a statue of Venus nearby. Nearby on the bank of the pond was the "Cave of the Lion Resting on Laurels", decorated with crystals, colored stones and corals with the figure of a lion and the inscription in Latin "Not angry, but indomitable."

The main attraction of the Kuskovo holidays was the famous Sheremetev theater. It was not without reason that Catherine II jokingly blamed Sheremeteva for the fact that during the prime minister's days in Kuskovo it was difficult for her to find partners for playing cards, who, under polite pretexts, evade their court duties.

The main stage in Kuskovo was the Bolshoi Theater, located in the middle of a huge meadow in Gaya. Wooden, like most of the buildings of the estate, built in the classical style, the luxury of its decoration surpassed all other Moscow theaters of that time. The three tiers of boxes and the proscenium shone with gold.

The troupe of the theater consisted of 230 serf actors. In addition, artists, composers and musicians, playwrights and translators, costume designers, make-up artists and stage workers from among the count's serfs participated in the creation of the performances. The impression from the skill of the actors was enhanced by expensive costumes, luxurious props and wonderful decorations.

The repertoire of the Sheremetev theater consisted mainly of opera and ballet performances, with preference given to French opera. Of the 116 theater productions known to us, only 25 were dramatic.

Portrait of Praskovya Zhemchugova as Eliana. Unknown thin XVIII century
Portrait of Praskovya Zhemchugova as Eliana. Unknown thin XVIII century

Portrait of Praskovya Zhemchugova as Eliana. Unknown thin XVIII century.

Praskovya Zhemchugova shone on the stage of the Bolshoi Sheremetev Theater. Her best role was Eliana in Gretry's opera Samnite Marriages. It was in this role that Catherine II saw and celebrated her on the day of her last visit to Kuskovo, June 30, 1787, to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of her reign. A cannon salute was greeted by the appearance of the empress under the triumphal arch, built for the occasion just behind the drawbridge. Further, a gallery of living pictures awaited her: the inhabitants and servants of Kuskovo stood along the road in pairs with baskets of flowers that were falling under the Empress's feet. Through the regular park, the owner led the guest to the English garden and labyrinth, demonstrating his collections, ventures and pavilions along the way. After a walk through the garden, Catherine proceeded to the theater, where they performed the opera "Samnite Marriages" and a ballet. She liked the show so muchthat she allowed all the artists to her hand and gave them gifts. We are left with a portrait of Zhemchugova in the role of Eliana.

In a grove near the Bolshoi Theater, Count Pyotr Borisovich chose a place for his summer home, where he lived permanently. He called his dwelling "House of Solitude", which was adjoined by the dairy farm "Metereya" and "Founder Village" of four houses. The exemplary farm of Meterei, which was personally supervised by the count himself, and the Dairy - sterile clean, decorated with marble - where everyone who came was treated to fresh milk and sour cream, were a tribute to the fashion for everything natural. One involuntarily recalls the village of Marie Antoinette and the Milk Pavilion in Pavlovsk.

Obliquely from the theater stood the old Soap House, now it would simply be called a bathhouse. This building was rebuilt by order of Nikolai Petrovich, and his beloved Parasha Zhemchugova moved here. The furnishings were extremely simple and ascetic, the only luxury in this house were paintings and a mirror donated by the count. They spent a lot of time here together, until they were forced, due to the annoying Moscow inhabitants and their gossip, to leave this secluded place and move to Moscow, where they got married. After the estate was abandoned, the house was rented out, and in 1812 it was broken.

Many pavilions were erected simultaneously with the Bolshoi Kuskovo Theater.

In the most picturesque places of the park, there were gazebos with sculptures and pavilions, romantically named “Temple of Love”, “Gothic Ruin”, “Temple of Diana” and “Temple of Silence”. Sitting in the "Philosophical House" on a bench made of turf and looking at the birch-bark walls, one could precisely define one's attitude to Rousseau's ideas about a return to nature. Walking through the park, guests could find a well with a figure of Diogenes made of painted alabaster, sitting with a feather in his hand in front of a table on which stood two cups and a jug, or stumble upon huts with a figure of a Capuchin made of wax or with the figure of a girl holding a platter of mushrooms. In the pavilion "Chaumier" (French chomière - hut) in the form of a rural hut covered with branches, six wax figures were sitting at a table, so vividly executed that the one who entered felt like intruding into someone else's company at the time of the feast.There were also traditional pavilions for guests' recreation, such as “Shelter for Good People”. The "amusing fountain", which turned on and off the fortress hidden nearby, frightened and amused the guests with sudden splashes.

Most of these "undertakings" were short-lived, and soon they disappeared forever. In the 18th century they did not try to create the eternal, but lived for the sake of momentary entertainment, coloring their days with wooden amusement palaces, horn bands, serf theaters …

One of the Sheremetev holidays was especially remembered by contemporaries. In 1775, Catherine II came to Kuskovo, accompanied by the Austrian Emperor Joseph, ambassadors and foreign guests. At the entrance to the estate, they were greeted by a triumphal gate. The visit of the sovereigns was furnished so magnificently that Joseph decided that he was visiting a member of the imperial family who was arranging a reception at public expense.

Eyewitnesses wrote the following: “From the theater we returned through a garden illuminated by thousands of lights; boats and gondolas floated on the pond with songwriters and choirs of musicians; two lighthouses on both sides of the pond shone with lights, on the other side of the pond shields with the monogram of the queen were burning and cascades of colored lights were pouring down.

Before the start of the fireworks, the empress was given a mechanical dove, and from her hand he flew to the shield with her image and Glory soaring above her; along with this shield, others flashed in an instant - both the pond and the garden were filled with bright light.

During the fireworks, several thousand large rockets were fired at once, and the foreigners who were at the festival wondered how a private person could spend several thousand poods of gunpowder for a moment's pleasure.

There was a dinner in the Ballroom, during which the singers sang. On this day, the table for the guests was served with gold dishes for sixty persons, and in front of the empress's apparatus there was an ornament in the form of a golden cornucopia with her monogram of large diamonds. Crowds of people walked the whole night on this holiday. The Empress returned from the holiday along the road lit up to Moscow itself with bowls, lanterns and resin barrels. When the queen drove up to Moscow, the morning dawn was beating in the capital."

Lighting in those days was extremely expensive, not every day, and in rich houses they lit chandeliers, making do with candlesticks. Therefore, the lighting of the park, followed by fireworks to conclude the holiday, delighted the public.

After the death of P.B.Sheremetev on November 30, 1788, the magnificent Kuskovo holidays cease. In 1792, his son Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetev arranged the last grand celebration in Kuskovo.

Each century has its own character. The 18th century can be called theatrical and playful: the life of wealthy people is filled with entertainment, frivolous flirting, lavish ceremonies and gala dinners, masquerades and balls, complex hairstyles and elaborate costumes. "All life is a theater, and the people in it are actors …" The frivolous 18th century fluttered, not intending to leave anything to posterity, and we are trying to recreate the idea of ​​its lost splendor bit by bit.

It is getting dark … along the alleys they lit wicks in bowls of oil, and the park has turned into a fabulous theater of light and shadow, where the alleys are marked with dotted lights. What a luxury it seemed 250 years ago! The holiday is over, it's time for us to return to our practical, electronic XXI century, which allowed us to make this journey through time.

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