среда, 6 июня 2012 г.

Lewis Carroll in Moscow. Hotel Dusaux

Address: Teatralny proezd, 3

At Moscow we found a carriage and porter waiting for “Dusaux Hotel,” to which we were bound
According to “Handbook for travellers in Russia, Poland, and Finland” edited in 1865, “Hotel Dusaux”, near the Kremlin, was suitable for “the independent traveller, who prefers a French cuisine and an apartment of greater luxe, or one who has the prejudice of his class against herding with his countrymen
abroad”.[1] Monsieur Dusaux is described “as a pattern landlord—courteous, unassuming, obliging, attentive to his guests”.[2] 

Having been for some years chef in the establishment of an ambassador of his own country, he looked after the cuisine of his own hotel with a never-failing solicitude and left the general management of the house to an active and intelligent German intendant who spoke English fluently and knew everything in Moscow.

суббота, 2 июня 2012 г.

Lewis Carroll in Moscow. Intro

145 years ago Moscow was visited by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll. That was a part of his 1867 trip (from July 12 to September 13—nine weeks) to Russia. As many other foreigners Lewis Carroll arrived in Moscow from the capital city of St. Petersburg. We know about his journey from the diaries written in Russia. Carroll’s Russian diary was first published in 1928 as Tour in 1867 by C. L. Dodgson (not under the pen name of Lewis Carroll), and then in 1935 as The Russian Journal and Other Selections from the Works of Lewis Carroll, edited by John Francis McDermott. Nowadays the text of the memoirs is not available on the Internet. Nevertheless, thanks to the All-Russian Library for Foreign Literature the Russian Journal by Lewis Carroll can be found at least in Moscow and thereby cited here.
Dodgson’s journey was proposed by his travel companion, fellow preacher Henry Parry Liddon. The latter was made canon of St Paul's Cathedral three years later in 1870. 
 C.L. Dodgson & H.P. Liddon
Liddon’s biographers note the spiritual atmosphere in Russia – “devout, orthodox, and conservative, yet eminently anti-papal – was exactly congenial to his own temper”[1]. Dodgson and Liddon saw Russia under the reign of Tsar Alexander II. Carroll’s trip to Russia seems to be a typical tourist extravaganza. He spent much of his time visiting galleries, museums, the theatre, climbing up towers to see the views, shopping for mementos, and the like.

вторник, 15 ноября 2011 г.

Moscow metro: "Smolenskaya" station.

You know, that the Moscow metro was turned into an underground kingdom of socialism. The first stations were luxurious palaces of the new socialist order, and they are breathtaking in the originality of their architecture, sculptures, mosaics and moulding.
 Many architectural styles have been reflected in the metro from the Old Rus architecture to the styles of the XX century.
After 1945 their subject matter dealt with images of war and victory. And the most suitable here is empire style. The style originated in and takes its name from the rule of Napoleon I, known as the First French Empire. It is also associated with the monumental art of ancient Rome.
"Smolenskaya" station is related to the hero-city of Smolensk that always suffered from the invaders and to the way to the West of Moscow. 

The main theme of the station design is heroic victory of Russian people over invaders. The square white marble pylons of the station hall are decorated on all four corners with deeply fluted (with canals) Doric columns and have bronze chandeliers at one side.

среда, 19 октября 2011 г.

The residence of American ambassadors.

Beyond the place depicted by Vasily Polenov there is a neo-classical mansion aka Spaso House. The name was taken from Spasopeskovskaya Square, in the Arbat District  (see the previous post "Where the legend was born"). Not far from the American Embassy grounds, Spaso House sits just off the garden ring road that passed the old American Embassy and is a few short block from Arbat. The great hall is 82 feet long with a domed ceiling that holds the largest Russian crystal house chandelier in Moscow.
Neoclassical Revival building
It was one of the mansions confiscated by the communists during the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Spaso House had been completed only three years earlier in 1914 by wealthy banker, munitions dealer and textile merchant Nikolay Aleksandrovich Vtorov. He commissioned the architects Vladimir Adamovich and Vladimir Mayat, two prominent advocates of the neoclassical style, to build the new mansion.

среда, 5 октября 2011 г.

Where the legend was born.

 V. Dubossarsky, A. Vinogradov
Moscow courtyard
The one who depicted the typical image of the 19th century Moscow as well as the lives of the people in their daily pursuits was Vasly Polenov. His best-known painting "A Moscow Courtyard" (1877, State Tretyakov Gallery) shows some patio not far from Arbat street. The subject was chosen right. In their memoirs many 19th- and 20th-century writers, poets, artists and public figures who lived in pre-revolutionary Moscow returned time and time again to its magical courtyards with their special sounds and smells, which so captured the childish imagination.
"A Moscow Courtyard" shows a multi-dimensional world, which accommodates equally well an old manor estate with a shady neglected garden, a church and abandoned lopsided barns. Children are playing in the yard, and a baby is crying. The mother is carrying a pail of water from the house - possibly to a horse which is hitched to a cart on the other side of the yard. More details such as chickens, a clothesline, and a covered well are in the foreground. And in the background are the spires, cupolas, and a bell towers of churches.
V. Polenov
A Moscow courtyard
Later, the artist would reminisce: “I was looking for a flat, when I saw a notice on the door. I popped in to look, and immediately saw this view from the window. I sat down and painted it there and then.” In the list of Polenov’s works compiled by the artist himself, this painting (no. 123) is entitled “A Spot Near the Arbat”. This charming spot portrayed by Polenov still exists in nowadays Moscow though the neighbourhood has altered very much since then. The grassy ground is known by the name of Spasopeskovskaya ploshchadka (square). It is situated not far from Arbat street. A short Spasopeskovsky pereulok (lane) that takes off Arbat leads to the square.
'Spasopeskovskaya' means "Saviour on the Sands," referring to the sandy soil of the neighborhood, which was first settled in the seventeenth century. The centre of this place is the beautiful Saviour Transfiguration church "on the sands", the Spasa Preobrazhenia na Peskakh, that gave the name to the site. Built around 1711, with railings dating from 1849, this five-domed church was a typical example of mid-17th – early 18thcentury architecture.
 Constructed without the use of internal columns, it included a refectory, chapel of St. Nicholas and tall, hipped bell-tower, and was decorated with ornamental shells, nalichniki window frames and kokoshniki arches. The includes an additional church with bell-tower on the right – that of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker in Nikolsky Pereulok, now Plotnikov Pereulok. A further church in the Prechistenka area is discernible in the distance.

воскресенье, 2 октября 2011 г.

Archnadzor rally at Pushkinskaya ploshchad.

On October 1, Archnadzor, a Moscow preservation society, organized a rally opposing the destruction of Moscow architectural landmarks. Around 700 people attended. The participants were Archnadzor activists, public figures, experts.
Konstantin Mikhailov, coordinator at heritage watchdog Arkhnadzor
As recently as May, Arkhnadzor was optimistic about the new Moscow city government’s construction policies, and praised the new administration’s efforts in protecting the capital’s historic sights.
Now, however, the movement is arguing that despite all the promises, historical buildings are no more protected by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin than they were by his predecessor Yury Luzhkov.
“Neither promises to ban new construction in the historic center, nor statements about cancelling previous decisions concerning historical buildings’ demolition has become a real guarantee of keeping the historical city,” Arkhnadzor stated.
 In 2011 Moscow has lost more than 10 historic buildings. In September the authorities demolished the Central Mosque, the Russian capital's oldest one. In August the “Veterenariya” pavilion, that was built in 1939 as part of a Soviet showcase of agricultural achievements, was burnt outIn July a property developer  destroyed a historic building on Bolshoi Kozikhinsky alley without permission. The demolition of the courtyard of the Glebov-Streshnyev-Shakhovsky Mansion in June was the culmination of a struggle that had been going on for several years. The Helikon Opera House, tenants of the mansion, wanted to create a new stage in the courtyard of the building. The work was halted by Acting Mayor Vladimir Resin in October 2010. Any work – demolition or construction – was illegal there. In May Capital Group destroyed Dom Kolbe on Bolshaya Yakimanka, claiming that “the front side fell down by itself”. So every month Archnadzor lamented at least one considerable loss of Moscow landmarks.

среда, 28 сентября 2011 г.

New Jerusalem. Istra

An Indian summer in the end of September a year ago gave us a chance to make a Sunday trip to New Jerusalem, a monastery near Istra outside Moscow. It was a gordgeous day though in the end of our tour we were stuck at the parking. But the latter is typical here.
New Jerusalem is also known as the Voskresensky (Resurrection) monastery. The town of Istra was also called Voskresensk before 1930. Apparently the splendid monastery is the greatest local asset.
Unlike other Moscow monasteries, this one had no military use. It was modelled in plan pretty accurately on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in (old) Jerusalem by Nikon, the patriarch whose reforms drove the Old Believers from the Orthodox Church. The original design of the monastery was part of Nikon's deliberate intention to make Russia the third Rome and the centre of global Christian belief, leading to religious reforms, the ensuing schism and the formation of a group known as “old believers”. Tsar Alexei (father of Peter the Great) later used this rift as an excuse to exile the Patriarch, who was getting too powerful.