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Famous people from Russia
(1891-05-15 - 1940-03-10 )
, Address in Moscow: Sadovaya 10
One of the most important Russian-language novelist and playwrights of the 20th Century remains everlasting due to his novel ‘The Master and Margarita’ (1967). He was born in Kiev (today Ukraine) and 1909, he began medical studies. Like his brothers, he was soon enlisted as a field doctor in the White Army, ending up in the Caucasus, where he eventually started to work as a journalist. In 1913, against his parents' will, he married Tatiana Lappa and ran a hospital with her. During World War II he was a volunteer at the Red Cross. In 1921, he moved with his wife to Moscow and it was there where he began his career as a writer, however, he was criticised for anti-Soviet notion. It was the author's third wife, Yelena Shilovskaya (married in 1931), who was the prototype for the character of Margarita. He continued work on his greatest novel throughout the last decade of his life while living at Patriarch's Ponds. For some time, Bulgahov worked in the Moscow Theatre and then at the Bolshoi Theatre as a librettist. His prose includes ‘The White Guard’ (1924), ‘Fatal Eggs’ (1925) and ‘Heart of a Dog’ (1925).
(1860-01-29 - 1904-07-15 )
, Address in Moscow: 6 Sadovaya Kudrinskaya
“(...)evidently it is my fate to remain in Moscow. My home and my career are here. I have work of two sorts. As a doctor I should have grown slack in Taganrog and forgotten my medicine, but in Moscow a doctor has no time to go to the club and play cards. As a writer I am no use except in Moscow or Petersburg.” - from a letter to uncle M. G. Chekhov
Chekhov was a renowned Russian playwright and the author of such classic theatre pieces as ‘The Seagull’(1896), ‘Uncle Vanya’ (1900), ‘The Three Sisters’ (1901) and ‘The Cherry Orchard’ (1904). He was born in Taganrog, southern Russia and he trained to become a doctor at Moscow University, supporting himself by writing stories for magazines. Although he’s most famous for his plays, critics tend to regard Chekhov's short stories as an even more important literary accomplishment. He revolutionised the form and, as productive a writer as he was, authored several hundred short stories, among which can be found numerous true masterworks of the genre, such as ‘Neighbours’ (1892), ‘Ward Number Six’ (1892) and ‘The Murder’ (1895). Chekhov is thought to be perhaps the leading modern author of the short story. He is buried at the Novodyevichy Monastery in Moscow.
(1863-01-17 - 1938-08-07 )
, Address in Moscow: Leontovskiy pereulok 6
Stanislavski was a Russian actor and stage director who changed the image and tradition of 20th Century theatre in Europe and America. He is renowned for introducing his own 'method' based on realistic acting techniques, making him a drama practitioner. He treated work with actors as an artistic challenge, encouraging them to self-analyse. Born Constantin Sergeyevich Alexeyev to a wealthy family in Moscow as one of nine children, he developed his talent acting in a amateur family theatre. From his early years, he showed interest in the circus and puppetry. In 1881, he began studies at a conservatory in Moscow, transferring, however, to Maly Theatre. At that time his master was the Italian actor Tommaso Salvini. Stanislavski’s first notable productions were ‘Uriel Acosta’, ‘Othello’ and ‘The Polish Jew’. The Moscow Art Theatre, (MAT) which he co-founded with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, opened in 1898. The theatre became famous as the House of Chekhov, as it not only staged ‘Uncle Vanya’, ‘Three Sisters’ and ‘The Cherry Orchard’, but also offered classes in dance, voice and fencing. Stanislavski gathered his teaching and directing experiences in ‘The Method of Physical Actions’.
(1866-12-16 - 1944-12-13 )
Probably the most famous Russian Abstract artist of the 20th Century, Kandinsky, a native of Moscow, spent his childhood in Odessa, but then returned to the capital city to study law and economics at Moscow University. Although successful in his profession, he started painting studies at the age of 30, enrolling at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. The years 1911 – 1914 were a period of Kandinsky’s experiments with expressive colour masses, creating a number of his ‘Compositions’, often inspired by music. At that time he also co-founded The Blue Rider, an artistic group that held two exhibitions. He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the beginning of World War I; however, in 1921, he decided to return to Germany. There, for a decade he taught at the Bauhaus School of Art and Architecture until it was closed down by the Nazis. He then moved to France where he gained French citizenship in 1939. Kandinsky presented his views on art in his work ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’ (1911). His notable paintings include ‘Black Lines’ (1913), ‘Small Pleasures’ (1913) and ‘In the Black Square’ (1923).
(1832-12-27 - 1898-12-16 )
, Address in Moscow: 10, Lavrushinsky Per.
This Russian businessmen gave his name not only to the famous Tretyakov Gallery, but also to the Tretyakov Drive in the city of Moscow. Pavel Tretyakov was home-educated, and as he inherited his father’s business in 1850, he became a successful textile manufacturer. Tretyakov also co-founded a merchant bank as well as an industrial and commercial company. He owned five houses in Moscow, while his estimated fortune was 4.4 million roubles. At the age of 24 he started to collect art with ten canvases by Old Dutch masters being his first purchase. This is when the idea of creating a Russian national gallery was born. Buying artwork either at exhibitions or directly from the artists’ studios, he successively gathered a vast collection, spanning from the Ancient period to his contemporaries. By 1885, the place, located in Tretyakov’s house in Lavrushenski pereulok was visited by about 30 thousand people. What’s more, in 1892 the owner inherited a collection of Western European art from his brother. The official opening of the Pavel and Sergey Tretyakov City Art Gallery, as it was then called, took place on August, 15 1893. Apart from being a patron of art, Tretyakov was also a philanthropist, donating large sums of money to families of soldiers fighting in the Crimean and Russo-Turkish War, as well as donating to a school for deaf-mutes.
(1821-11-11 - 1881-09-02 )
A native of Moskow, Dostoevsky is considered one of the giants of Russian literature, whose novels ‘Crime and Punishment’ (1866) and ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ (1880) have profoundly influenced the whole literary world. Notably, his ‘Notes from Underground’ (1864) have also made him a precursor of existentialism. Fyodor Dostoevsky was raised as one of seven children in one of the worst districts in Moscow, close to the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor where his strict father was a doctor. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was sixteen and his father died two years later. At that time, Dostoevsky attended the Military Engineering Academy in St Petersburg. In 1842, he was made lieutenant. The following year, he started a literary career, translating Balzac's novel ‘Eugenie Grandet’ into Russian. His first work was the epistolary short novel, ‘Poor Folk’, published in 1845 in the periodical ‘The Contemporary’. After a mock execution, he was imprisoned on April 23, 1849 as a member of the liberal, intellectual group, the Petrashevsky Circle, and he was exiled to Siberia, where he spent four years in a hard-labour prison camp. He spent the next five years serving in the Siberian Regiment in Semipalatinsk. In December 1859, the writer returned to St Petersburg. He travelled to Europe, where he was gambled in casinos. He described his experiences in the novel ‘The Gambler’ (1867). Dostoevsky spent is last years at the resort of Staraya Russa.
(1908-03-17 - 1981-07-12 )
Polevoy was a notable Russian writer, whose most popular novel was ‘Story of a Real Man’, which was about the pilot Maresyev. He was born in Moscow as Boris Kampov to a family of intellectuals, but his literary career was associated with Tver (known as Kalinin in the Soviet Russia), where as a 12-year boy he published his first report in ‘Tverskaya Pravda’, one of Tver’s newspapers. Some time after, the editor of this magazine sent him to spy on a key criminal from Moscow in order to commit a series of articles infiltrating the ties of the criminal world with Soviet officials. Poleyov, then a young factory technician, put his life at risk many times; however, after a year he published ‘Memoirs of a Lousy Person’, which was acclaimed even by Maxim Gorky. His next documentary was based on the author’s experiences with factory work and it appeared in 1931. During World War II, he was a military correspondent for ‘Pravda’ and was promoted to major and later, lieutenant colonel. In 1943, he met lieutenant Maresyev, who became the prototype for his most famous book, which was eventually published in 1947. It has been read at schools and has quite often been adapted to stage, becoming a mark of Soviet propaganda.
Vladimir Yevgrafovich Tatlin
(1885-12-28 - 1953-05-31 )
This Russian painter and architect remains associated with his attempts to create the giant tower: The Monument to the Third International. Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, he first worked as a merchant sea cadet. His art career started when he moved to Moscow and became an icon painter. At this time, he also attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. His most famous project, a tall tower in iron, glass and steel, was ready to build in 1920. It was intended to be a monument, which, at almost 400 metres high, would overshadow the Eiffel Tower. Due to high costs, Tatlin could never realise his design. He became a core figure of Constructivist art, specialising in wood-and-iron sculptures to be hung in wall corners. Thus, he rejected the traditional style of painting, instead, proposing the utilitarian program. Tatlin was also interested in the study of clothing, objects and even the ubiquitous dream of humanity: to fly.