Museum-apartment of A.I.Kuindzhi My impressions
Музей-квартира А.И.Куинджи, гостиная. The Museum-Apartment of Archip Kuindzhi. The Living Room
The fact that everything is always changing is no more a secret these days. It seems that craving for novelty nowadays has reached its limits. We are looking for novelty in everything: from new objects and events to scientific discoveries, which give us the key to our understanding the world around us.
New clothes, books, music, everyday objects, finally making acquaintances and communication with new people. New technological breakthroughs help people: telephone, the Internet, mobile communication, TV, etc. In this case, the distance does not matter, but the magical world of advertising promises people all new and new possibilities.
Virtual communication is becoming a real alternative to the world where we live. Such public places as cafés, restaurants, clubs are becoming popular meeting points. On the other hand, considering the home environment as an intimate space, we try to limit access there even for friends.
The article is devoted to creative work of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi, an outstanding Russian artist. The creative, pedagogical and public activity of this artist, contributed to the activity of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts. The results of his work are widely used by the mentors and students of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts. This article focuses on to the last period of the master’s life, and the history of Arkhip Kuindzhi Memorial Considering the previous statements, the role of memorial museums is exceptional. It goes without saying that our city is widely known not for its great museums, which are considered as the main treasure houses of national and the world cultural objects such as The Hermitage, The Russian State Museum, The Museum of Ethnography, but also is remarkable for its museums of a smaller size — memorial museums. Such memorial museums as the museums-apartments of A.S.Pushkin, N.A.Nekrasov and V.V.Nabokov, are known not only in our city.
The Russian Academy of Arts is keeping to the remarkable tradition: the tradition of the organization and maintenance of memorial museums. The Academy of Arts Research Museum comprises of a few old memorial museums, such as the House Museum of Ilya Repin in Penates (nowadays it is the township of Repino), I.I.Brodsky Apartment Museum, which is located on the Arts Square in St.Petersburg, S.T.Konenkov Apartment Museum in Moscow, as well as relatively new memorial museums: the Museum Dacha of P.P.Chistiakov in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) and the Apartment Museum of A.I.Kuindzhi, located on Birzhevaya Linya of Vaslilyevsky Island, house 1/10.
To what extent are related to each other personal life of an artist and his creativity? We often ask ourselves this question. Is the daily routine as a part of the life of outstanding people interesting for us? If you set the goal «to pick somebody’s pieces,» it might be vital for some people. But in this case, it doesn’t make sense to delve into history, just look at the life of your neighbor or to get to know from the media about the scandalous details from the life of another celebrity.
And what if we consider the private life of a person as a part of a cultural climate of that time?
Today, the memorial museums of artists and writers sparkle considerable interest among people looking for various cultural activities. The Memorial Exhibition dedicated to the life and activity of Karl Gustav Mannerheim, the world-famous Finnish commander, is a bright example of such a scientific approach: it was held in 2005 in the State Hermitage. As a result of the work of the Russian and Finnish experts, this exhibition attracted the attention of many visitors who are interested in the history of relationships between our countries. The work of these experts was crowned with success.
The dry facts of history are presented in a new light, and history itself and the life of a person who left traces in our memory becomes closer to us, as it seems, and this person is perceived not as an abstract character who left the stage, but we feel the effect of their presence.
Visiting the artist’s studio is a memorable event for those people, for whom art is not the area of their expertise, but who is interested in learning the art. On the other hand, visiting a memorial studio is also very important for artists regarding such an event as visiting the studio of one of their colleagues.
Every artist’s studio has its aura that characterizes its owner as an expert and tells us about their mindset. It is essential for the artist to learn from classics as well as from their friends and contemporaries. In addition to this, when visiting Memorial museums-studious, contemporary artists come to realize that these already gone classics are to be considered by them as the older friends and colleagues, to whom they come to reflect, consult and recharge their creative energy. The memorial museums and the artist studios, established as the branches of the Scientific Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts, give us this unique opportunity. Undoubtedly, these museums are very different because of the different personalities of their owners whose life these museums represent. Such museums as I.E.Repin Museum-manor «Penates,» P.P.Chistiakov Museum-dacha in Tsarsloye Selo give us the vivid pictures of the artists’ studios and homes. On the walls of these museums, we can see many photos of friends and relatives of these artists, in a word, those people commonly called the circle of close companionship. There also are many drawings and paintings created by the hosts as well as the other artists who visited these apartments. For example, I.I.Brodsky Apartment-Museum is very important for us not only as a Museum-Apartment of a remarkable man and a cultural figure but for the collection of first-class artworks, which Brodsky collected all his life. Many of these items are unique, for many artists who are at the beginnings of their careers, it is a kind of examples, from which they study art.
The Museum Exposition in the apartment of A.I.Kuindzhi was formed relatively recently, in the year of 1994. The difficulty of its formation was that unlike the museums mentioned above, almost nothing of the home and personal belongings of A.I. Kuindzhi has remained. The staff of the museum set a noble goal: to pay a debt of gratitude to a person whose basic life principle was to help to all those who need help.
The life of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi cannot be described as mild and cloudless. All his life he had to withstand the tests of endurance and deal with problems.The artist came from a low-income family, in the early years he lost his parents, being brought up by his older brother. He got to know what hard work is about from his experience. Following his dream, he had always helped those people who had the aspirations to comprehend the beautiful. His way to St. Petersburg and the Academy of Arts was not easy. When he was a young man, admiring by the paintings of Konstantin Aivazovsky, Kuindzhi had walked the way from Mariupol to Feodosia. He passed this way together with chumaks.These people were engaged in the trade and delivery of goods, in particular, salt. We know not much about the life of Arkhip Kuindzhi in Feodosia. The only known fact is that he didn’t become the apprentice of the prominent seascape painter. Evidently, he didn’t find Maestro at home, because he was away. From other sources, we get to know that the level of skills of the young man wasn’t sufficient to take classes from so prominent artist as Aivazovsky was. Kuindzhi might assume that for such crowned with laurels master as it was Aivazovsky, it would be more interesting to have more trained students. There is a legend in which it is said that Kuindzhi had got to know the critical opinion of maestro about his capabilities. Aivazovsky believed that this young admirer of him had enough talent only to paint the fences. So Arkhip did exactly this task, painting the fences at the site of the great marine painter. In fact, the first serious lessons on painting Kuindzhi got from K.Fessler the former student of Konstantin Aivazovsky. Kuindzhi had to come back to Mariupol. However, he had never given up his dream of becoming an expert in his area, and his belief that he could perfectly express himself was only getting stronger.
Being driven by this dream, he went to St.Petersburg. He had become an external student of St.Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.
Like for any person coming from the province, it is hard to get accustomed to the environment of the capital as long as there was a significant gap between hot and sunny Mariupol, its grassroots surroundings and cold and aristocratic St.Petersburg. In addition to this, Kuindzhi had to deal with the difficulties caused by insufficiency of his general education. In fact, he was a semi-literate young man, and we don’t know for sure whether or not he received a complete primary education. Even when he had to be given the title of a class artist in the year of 1968 for the picture «A Tatar Saklya in Crimea in the Moonlight,» the problem of passing exams on general and precise subjects such as History of Art, Perspective, and others, had arisen. The administration of the Academy made concessions to allow Kuindzhi to take the exam minimizing the requirements to the candidate.
It wasn’t the case of Kuindzhi only. There were other similar cases. The Academy had been gradually changing, moving away from the traditional rules and regulations of classicism and accepting many young people from different social classes. On the other hand, there was the position expressed by the group of artists headed by Ivan Kramskoy. He stood for the equality of rights to choose any topic: apart from historical and religious subjects, the problems of people’s everyday life were vital for him and his circle. The activity of this group determined the development of the Russian art for the nearest decades and the emergence of the new aesthetics. It was the time of heated debates in arts and politics. As an artist, Arkhip Kuindzhi has been strongly influenced by these modern trends. Such questions as the questions about his future position in arts and social life, whether he would become a true master, and what he be doing for a living, were vital for him. He had neither sponsorship nor moral support. This challenging situation led him to the negative thoughts. Once, he was on the verge of making such a crucial for himself decision as to quit the Academy and give up his hopes of being an artist. Then, Victor Vasnetsov had found him in a workshop of a photographer where Kuindzhi went to work as a retoucher. Vasnetsov talked Kuindzhi come back to his studies in the Academy.
Ilya Repin wrote about that period: » Those days the life of the young people who were studying art revolved around the attics of the Academy of the Academy of Arts, where Arkhip Kuindzhi, a humble poor young man had appeared. Nobody had noticed his appearance at first. Kuindzhi had great shortcomings in education. Being narrow-minded, abrupt and behaving like a savage, he did not recognize any traditions.
He, as it is called, was going straightforward, and, sometimes even insulted traditional relics of art, considering it outdated. He used his mind to delve into the problems.» Nevertheless, despite his categorical approach, he was honest and human, no matter how his life was difficult, he had always tried to help those people who were worse off than him. Many people were happy to communicate with him; he was loved for his openness, candor, and uncompromisingness. One of his first apartments, which he rented in St.Petersburg, was the flat whose landlady was somebody of Mazaniha. It was located at the corner of Bolshoi Prospect and the Fifth Line of Vasilievsky Island. It had always been opened for his fellow-students of the Academy of Arts. The notable events of social life and art, as well as other topical subjects, which were discussed at his tea parties, are remaining in memory of people. Everyone had the sense of belonging to the single large family.
I.E.Repin specifies another address of A.I.Kuindzhi. It is the house of Grebionka, on the corner of Bolshoy Prospect and the Sixth Line of Vasilievsky island. Those days there were the apartment and studio of the artist. It was another period of his life, the time when he was widely recognized. Visiting the exhibitions with his canvases, which looked as they were glowing from inside, people were trying to get to know the secret of this luminiferous painting. «From time to time, many cab drivers with their passengers drove to the house, which was situated at the corner of the Sixth line near the market, where the artist lived. Those people climbed the steep stairs to the top and called to The Wizard. They called A.I Kuindzhi The Wizard because of the impossibility to unravel the secret of the color in the artist’s paintings and his style of applying the oil paints to the canvas. So great was the influx of visitors that Kuindzhi had finally hung the ad in which wrote: «Nobody is admitted.»
Using the modern language, the acquisition of stardom didn’t lead the artist to look down on others. In his private life, Kuindzhi didn’t keep an extravagant lifestyle, as it did I.N. Kramskoy.
Having become one of the recognized leaders in Russian landscape painting, A.I. Kuindzhi had always remembered the years of his poverty and hardship, not holding grudges on someone who might not be conscious of it, caused him trouble. For example, he had never talked back about I.K Aivazovsky, who had not expressed his enthusiasm about the earliest creative works of A.I. Kuindzhi. Despite all hardships of his young years, he had no desire to «take revenge» for the years of poverty by leading the extravagant lifestyle: on the contrary, in a real sense, he was a skilled person who had common sense.
In 1873 he married V.E.Ketcherzhi, a young lady from a wealthy merchant family, he loved for many years. Then, in this case, he showed his proud, independent and purposeful character, and only when he stood to his own feet and was able to maintain his family, only after that, he announced and fulfilled his decision. He brought his young wife from Mariupol to St.Petersburg. They rented an apartment, which was furnished with the modest furniture. All the belongings of the married couple were purchased at sales. The only expensive thing — a wedding gift to his fiancée — was the big piano, on which Arkhip Ivanovich had been saving his money for a long time. What was important in their married life was their mutual understanding. Vera Elevfirievna — the artist’s wife, considering the everyday work of the artist as extremely important, apart from cleaning of their apartment (the couple had never hired servants), wiped the dust from every tube of husband’s oil- paints. The paintings of Arkhip Kuindzhi went for a very high price: customers paid for them much more than for the portraits of I.N. Kramskoy or the landscapes of I.I.Shishkin. Both artists, Kramskoy and Kuindzhi, were very successful at that time.
The highest level of the creative potential and practicality were essential personality traits of Kuindzhi. Arkhip Ivanovich had always wanted to have his studio on the top floor with the access to the roof to feed the birds to whom he was fond, almost paternally attached. Once he found out about the sale of the houses № 39, 41 and 43, which were located on the 10th line of Vasilievsky Island. In one of these houses, there was such an apartment with the access to the roof and full panoramic view, which Kuinndzhi had been looking for. The difficulty was that these three houses were put up for sale as a single and indivisible housing. And, naturally, the price was not small: three houses were being sold together, nevertheless. For the sake of having the suitable studio, A.I. Kuindzhi was ready to go to all lengths. He initially agreed to buy these three houses, then refused, and finally decided, having invested almost all his money.
After buying these houses the artist had become a landlord. He lived in his dream studio, while the rest of his apartments were rented out. As the owner of the houses, he had to delve into the household, or as it is said now utility problems because he was primarily responsible for the living conditions of the residents of his houses. Being a very dedicated person, he even liked to solve the problems using his intellect. He was interested in everything: joinery, carpentry, solving the school tasks on algebra and many other things he had never studied.He had never studied this subject because never attended school lessons. In addition to this, he learned to play the violin without a teacher. And finally, he searched for the new artistic means of expression in his canvases.
Later on, Kuindzhi acknowledged that as it had turned out, he was an unfortunate householder. It happened not because he neglected his householding duties: the reason why he didn’t dare to claim the money from the debtors, was that there were quite a few artists among the tenants of his houses. What’s more, he had always sympathized with people who were in trouble and tried to help them. Very often, he passed the money, not by himself but asked somebody to avoid the embarrassment of the person he wanted to help in front of their benefactor. As for himself, he always considered helping other people as a norm. Many people would come to his funerals — from the Grand Duchess to street beggars, who would remember Arkhip Ivanovich as a person who was near and dear to them.
As the time passed, he had to sell these houses, nevertheless. The houses were sold at the high profit for Kuindzhi because in the late 1890s real estate prices had increased significantly. However, in connection with the sale of his houses, he had to leave his studio.
In the year of 1898 A.I and V.E. Kuindzhi had changed their address, settling in a house in the Birzhevoi Lane (the current address — Birzhevoi Lane, 1/10, at the Birzhevoi Lane and Makarov Embankment). This house is unique for its appearance and history. It is huge; its facades overlook the embankment and Birzhevaya Line as well as Birzhevoi and Volkhovsky lanes. Many windows have a view of a huge courtyard.As an architectural phenomenon, this house is a fascinating example of the architecture of this period: its windows, entrance halls as well as complicated layout are considered as the elements of keen interest for the historians of the Russian architecture.
The history of the building of the house in the Birzhevoi lane begins from the year of 1842. The first version of this house was built by the architect A.H.Pehl. That time this house belonged to the merchant P.Meniaev. In 1879, it was passed to the Eliseevs merchants, the owners of the famous food store on Nevsky Prospekt. 30 years since the beginning of the initial construction of this building had passed. It goes without saying, the new times gave a raise to the new needs of the residents and owners, and consequently, the house is being renovated by the architect L.F.Shperer who added the additional fourth floor. The superstructure above the fourth floor was well visible from the embankment and the Birzhevaja Line. The architect A.F.Baranovsky designed it in 1887. The studio of A.I.Kuindzhi was Inside of this superstructure. This studio met the new requirements; it met the artist’s demands for the best working conditions. The studio was very spacious. A huge, about 150 square meters room, whose height was approximately 6 meters, overhead light — all this created the perfect working environment. The whole height windows overlooked a splendid panorama of the Neva River, St.Peter, and Paul fortress and the Birzhevoi Bridge.
This house is connected not only with the life of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi. Many famous people lived there in the different times. The parents of P.I.Tchaikovsky had stayed here for some time after their arrival from Votkinsk in the 1840s. Many artists lived in this house, so it could be called the Artists’ House by right. The historians of St.Petersburg, having carried out their research, even found out the tenants of these apartments.
A.K.Beggrov rented the apartment №27 in 1886-1892, E.E.Volkov (1885-1904) rented the apartment №26, M. P. Klodt lived in the flat №9, G.G.Miasoedov rented the apartment № 39, and during the last years of his life, I.N.Kramskoy occupied the rooms №5 and 8. Here, since 1897 to 1910 lived A.I.Kuindzhi. The entrance to his studio was made from his apartment, which was located on the fourth floor. The artist had access from his studio to the roof where he fed and healed the birds that lived nearby.
They were waiting for the moment when Arkhip Ivanovich was supposed to feed and «communicate» with them,
This house could be characterized as the home where people lived in plenty. it was not only because its owner possessed great material wealth, the atmosphere of this house attracted many people. A.I.Kuindzhi followed a very modest, almost ascetic way of life. Arkhip Ivanovich and Vera Elevfirievna purchased their belongings on occasion, by their necessities. The only luxury was a grand piano which belonged to Vera Elevfirievna. It was the wedding gift of Arkhip Ivanovich. The musical parties were often held in the apartment. Many friends of the family came to the Kuindzhis to listen to music, and Arkhip Ivanovich had learned by himself playing the violin. However, he performed in a very narrow circle of the closest friends, and by the many demands only.
Now, in the living room, we can see the photos which were taken from Kuindzhi in the different years and the photos of the drawings of I.E.Repin and V.M.Vasnetsov. The only oil-painted portrait in the museum is the portrait of Kuindzhi painted by I.N.Kramskoy at the end of the 1870s. On the wall of the next room, there is the drawing of I.E.Repin, depicting A.I.Kuindzhi was playing chess. The artist loved spending time playing chess parties, and his favorite partner on the game was D.I. Mendeleev, who also loved having a conversation with the artist. He used to come here because his University apartment was very close to Kuindzhi’s apartment. There also were common shared interests which tied the prominent scientist and the distinguished artist. Together they experimented over the chemical structure of oil-paints. What’s more, Dmitry Ivanovich had a genuine interest in Kuindzhi’s artistic talent and his intuition for colors. He even investigated with his particular device the vision of several artists, including Kuindzhi and came to the conclusion that the eye of Arkhip Ivanovich had the exceptional feeling for color.
A few photos depict the «academical» period of the artist’s activity, i.e. the time when he led the landscape studio. From 1893 onwards, A.I Kuindzhi is the full member of the Academy of Arts, and in 1894-1897 he became the head of the landscape studio. Only three years Kuindzhi had taught the students, but this period was a time of revolutionary changes and innovations. I.E.Repin, A.I. Kuindzhi and I.I.Shishkin were invited as the professors. In comparison to the previous periods, in this period of time, the goals and objectives of training qualified specialists for art schools and gymnasiums in Russia had changed. One of the primary goals was the preparation of qualified teachers for schools and gymnasiums of Russia. On the one hand, there was a constant need in experienced middle-level specialists, such as draughtsmen, designers, experienced drawing teachers capable of teaching their students to draw the object accurately, on the other hand, drawing had gradually become more applied to practical requirements.
Despite the fact that A.I. Kuindzhi hadn’t worked for a long time at the Academy of Arts as a professor, many of his students remembered their classes with him for the rest of their lives. At first glance, his method of teaching was very simple, however, as a good mentor, he used his real-life experience in his way of education. A.I. Kuindzhi had never interfered in the works of his students from the beginning, giving them as much as possible the opportunity to express their ideas in their landscapes. And only when the student himself experienced difficulties, Arkhip Ivanovich showed him how to solve the problem, enhancing color and imagery, for example.
He was loved and respected because he appreciated everyone who was under warship, bringing up his students to love their motherland and native environment. It was his fate that he hadn’t had children. Therefore, he treated his students as children, taking to his heart many of their problems. So, after his retirement from the Academy of Arts, he organized a trip to Europe for every student of his landscape studio who wanted to participate. They visited many world-famous European museums. He also brought his students to Crimea where he bought a plot of land. Kuindzhi organized open-air training sessions on painting for his students.
In the year of 1908, the Society of his name was founded. Its authorized capital was 150 thousand roubles, including the Crimean land, which belonged to the artist. Such famous artists as V.E.Makovsky, N.K.Roerich, A.A.Rylov, N.I. Himon, V.A.Zarubin, A.A.Borisov, V.A.Beklemishev, A.V.Schusev, F.F.Bukhgolts, K.E.Kryzhytsky, belonged to this society. The aim of the organization was to support of young talented artists by giving them financial aid, organizing contests to identify talented works and award the artists who won. At the lifetime of Kuindzhi, there were 24 such monetary prizes. The most successful works were purchased by the society and passed on to provincial museums. A.I.Kuindzhi wanted to build the premises for exhibitions of different artistic societies, as well as the artists who followed the various trends in fine arts. These exhibitions would take place in the Malaya Morskaya Street, 17. Many celebrities were invited to perform at those art-vernissages. Here there were Konstantin Sobinov, Fedor Chaliapin Olga Preobrazhenskaya. In 1917, the Kuindzhi Society, which was founded for people’s education, lost their funds due to the nationalization of the Russian banks and all capitals in our country. However, the Society had existed for almost a decade and a half, till the year of 1931.
A.I.Kuindzhi, giving way to other artists and sharing his secrets of mastery, was self-critical to himself. Since 1881, while he was on the top of his fame and popularity, he decided to stop exhibiting his artworks, assuming that he had already expressed his ideas he wanted to express. This news came as a surprise to many of his friends, the artists, as well as for his admirers. How is it possible to go into shadow? Nevertheless, A.I.Kuindzhi, resigning from his exhibition activity, didn’t stop working as an artist, searching the new creative ways and methods of self-improvement. Only 20 years later, in 1901, he encouraged to show his artworks to his fellows.The artworks, which were created within this period were shown with the awe and humility.Kuindzhi contacted and asked for advice of everyone, regardless of their age and social status.
A.I.Kuindzhi possessed such rare and unique qualities, which nowadays might be lost, as the ability to teach, learn, not to hold grudge, be independent and fair in his judgements, never humiliate other people and not to do anything to them in retaliation for something. The artist kept his principles despite the fact that these principles could bring him a lot of trouble. He had to do so when he had to resign from the Association of the Temporary Art Exhibitions(Peredvizhniki). The reason for his resignation was the article of M.P.Klodt, in which Kuindzhi was unfairly treated by the author. He quitted the Society, however, with most artists he continued to maintain friendly relationships, for example, with I.E.Repin, I.I.Shishkin, I.N.Kramskoy.
To some degree, such behavior contributed to the financial independence of the artist. In one of the Museum’s rooms, on the wall, we can see, the text of his Testament. The wisdom and thoughtfulness of this document are strikingly impressive. The total capital, which A.I.Kuindzhi possessed compound 453 thousand roubles. 10 thousand roubles the artist passed to the St.Virgin Church in Mariupol for the school of his name, 5 thousand roubles went to his nephew, 4 thousand went to his niece, 1 thousand the children of his nephew were to receive. 423 thousand roubles which made up an untouched fund; 150 thousand roubles from this capital was in the fund of the Imperial Court. The Kuindzhi Society was maintained on the interest rates of this capital, namely 24444 roubles, the part of this amount (2500 roubles) was a yearly payment to V.E.Kuindzhi, the artist’s widow. Due to the artist’s testament, his paintings were to belong to the Kuindzhi Society. In the case of the closure of the Society, all its capitals and revenue were to be transferred to the fund of the Imperial Academy of Arts. The personal artist’s property was bequeathed to Vera Elevfirievna, the artist’s wife.
As it has already been said, nothing of the original things from Kuindzhi’s apartment and the studio has survived to our days. After her husband’s death, Vera Elevfirievna, moved from the apartment, changing the place of her residence on more modest rooms. The furniture was bought for the occasion. It belonged not to one owner and was of no value at that time. The well-known big piano, without which any musical party held in the house couldn’t be possible, hasn’t survived to our days as well. Only one couch which is very similar to those we can see in the photo on the wall has survived to our days. Maybe, it was the part of the original furniture.
The permanent exhibition of the gifts given to the museum has opened in? one of the museum’s rooms. Here, there is the list of list of donators and items that were donated. The leading position in this list takes Professor V.F.Zagonek, who gave out to the museum 61 item, comprising the collection of artifacts related to the activity of A.I.Kuindzhi Society: there are society’s regulations, reports and the drawings of A.R.Eberling. S.N.Griva and T.I.Rybakova, the restorers of the Scientific Research Museum of the Academy of Arts, passed the picture of G.G.Miasoedov «The Escape of Grigory Otrepiev from the tavern on the Lithuanian border».
his apartment has witnessed many owners after the death of A.I.Kuindzhi.From 1911 to 1921 there was the V.I.Vernadsky Radiological Laboratory. Then, like many pre-revolutionary apartments, it went through the period of crowding more people into a limited space. Every room of the artist’s apartment was tenanted by a family. The artist’s studio, which is of nearly 150 square. meters was divided between two or three artists at that time. At different times such artists as T.Bogatyriov, N.Riabinin, V.Proshkin, R.Vovkushevskii worked there. An interesting story was told me by one of the museum’s employees. This story, in turn, was told by the daughter of one of the artists who worked in this studio. Now she is living in the US. She recalled her parent’s story who told her how she was brought in this studio just from the maternity hospital.
The Museum-Apartment of A.I.Kuindzhi was opened here in 1994. It was a very challenging time for our country as a whole and St.Petersburg in particular. From the opinion of the man in the street, there could be many pros and cons in connection with this event.On the one hand, it would be better to restore and sell this apartment as luxury housing or give it to someone as an award for their excellent services. This apartment could also serve its purpose as a residential apartment for one simple reason: St.Petersburg is tightly packed with museums. On the other hand, the continually existing axiom that the man doesn’t live by bread alone confirms another opinion of this issue. Thanks to those people who created this museum and this exposition we have the opportunity to know more about this outstanding artist. Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi followed the principle: if you give something out, the God will pay you off for your golden deeds. The tribute we pay to the Artist is the way of expression of our memory of him.
This year it is one hundred years since the day of the artist’s death. The value of his work for the history of Russian painting was clearly defined by A.N.Benois in his article: «For the Russian painting, the emergence of the Russian Monet was necessary. Kuindzhi was the artist who realized the interaction of colors very clearly. So passionate was Kuindzhi in his desire to express this interaction that the other Russian artists may believe him and stop treating the palette as an additional tool. Since the lifetime of Kiprensky and Venetsianov, colors have stopped playing their independent and significant role. There were treated with the significant degree of prejudice, as a kind of a formal suit, without which would be improper to face the public. All the academic and the Itinerants’ paintings until the 1880s, with rare exceptions, were in essence, pretentious and tasteless products I.Sokolov, Mestcherskii, K. Zichi) or faintly painted dull pictures. «The Last Supper» by Nikolai Gay, was the painting which can be considered as an exception. The paintings of Repin and Semiradsky can also be considered as very representative examples of paintings of this historical period. In this case, Arkhip Kuindzhi perfectly played the role of Russian Claude Monet, showing the beauty of the colors, discovering the laws of their sounding and vibration. His showy, bright and lucid pictures stunned the general public which was bored to death. These pictures like the pictures of Vassily Vereschagin made public argue the toss, raising elation as well as indignation.
The light and clarity of his paintings will never become darker when the time will pass because they reflect the soul of their creator, who left the treasures of his art to all people.
Репин И.Е. Далекое близкое. Л., Художник РСФСР, 1986. – 488 с.
http://kuinje.ru/kuinji_articles.php. Последний вход — 12.07.2010-07-09
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The author would like to express his gratitude to the staff of the Russian Academy of Arts Research Museum and the researchers of the A.I. Kuindzhi Museum-Apartment for their help and consultations.