Gorky House-Museum or Ryabushinsky Mansion as it is also known, featured in yesterday’s Hero Image. This image of the building is like a painting.
Schechtel is seen as the most influential and prolific master of Russian Art Nouveau and late Russian Revival. He came from an ethnic German background and was baptised Franz Albert Schechtel but changed his name to Fyodor Osipovich Schechtel at the outbreak of World War 1. In the 20 years of his private practice he completed five theatres, 5 churches, 39 private residences, the Yaroslavsky Rail Terminal plus many other buildings, primarily in Moscow. (Wikipedia) Most of his legacy survives to date. So let’s have a look at a few more of his buildings.
We need to start by having a closer look at the inside of Ryabushinsky Mansion where the magnificent Art Nouveau staircase is the main feature.
(Credit: English Russia)
The main entrance to the Moscow Art Theater as seen below is a masterpiece especially with the addition of the sculpture The Wave by Anna Golubkina. Her bas relief was considered a symbol of Russian Modernism.
Anna Semyonovna Golubkina (1864-1927) was a Russian impressionist sculptor and has a fascinating biography. She was the first Russian sculptor to receive the Paris Salon prize, became an assistant to Auguste Rodin (replacing Camille Claudel) and has a crater on Venus named after her. I promise you that we will return to look at her work in more detail.
(Credit: Moscow Travel Guide)
And this incredible creation is the Yaroslavsky Rail Terminal, Moscow which was redesigned and rebuilt by Schechtel in 1902-04.
Schechtel was an interesting character and obviously very gifted. But he was also lucky to know some of the right people. He knew Anton and Nikolay Chekhov and illustrated a book for Anton Chekhov in 1886, who then recommended Schechtel to other clients within Moscow's artistic circles and the wealthy patrons of the arts who would become his future clients, notably the Morozov family of Old Believers.(Wikipedia). Schechtel's mother also worked for the Moscow merchant Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov (1832–1898) a Russian businessman, patron of art, collector, and philanthropist who gave his name to the Tretyakov Gallery and Tretyakov Drive in Moscow. His brother Sergei Tretyakov was also a famous patron of art and a philanthropist.
To conclude the Blog today I thought you would enjoy these descriptions of Ryabushinsky Mansion as seen above.
The most disgusting piece of decadent style. There is not one honest line, not a single right angle. Everything is bitched by obscene squiggles , incompetent arrogant curves . This vile vulgarity is everywhere – on stairs, ceilings, windows. Now it painted, varnished and therefore even more shameless" – this is what Korney Chukovski wrote about this building in his diary.
In reality, the mansion Ryabushinsky is a classic example of Art Nouveau. Each facade is distinguished in its unique appearance. According to the laws of the style, space should be developing from the inside out: interior layout causes the asymmetry of the external walls of the building. Massive cubic volume, taut lines and contrast of curves are dominating in the appearance of the building.
Frieze of the building is faced with glazed bricks and mosaics. Swollen forms of external portals and porches along with patterns of window frames and fences portend smooth forms of internal space. The interior of the house is planned rationally, the interior space is used with economy and is expanded with the help of stained glass. The composition of the rooms is grouped around the front 12-meter ladder-wave. F. Shekhtel was an adherent of the architectural symbolism. Combining modernity and taking into account the specific interests of the owners, he created a world of images with the common theme of the water element: the wave-shape staircase as a symbol of the eternal movement of life, lilies and salamanders on the capitals of the columns at the mysterious Old Believers Chapel - a symbol of the struggle between good and evil, etc. The decor of the plant used a lot of flower patterns, images of insects, animals of surface and underwater world like turtles, jellyfish, seahorses, shells, etc. Windows of the lobby are decorated with a huge butterfly wing stained-glass window, floor mosaic depicts a water swell, stucco relief rippled like duckweed pond with a slow snail. (Ref:https://um.mos.ru/en/houses/ryabushinsky-mansion/)
The Hero Image today is one is Schechtel's country houses namely Lokalov House in Velikoe village, Yaroslavl Oblast. (Credit for the photo: moscow.touristgems.com)
For your interest and to tempt your travel arrangements if you live in Australia, Jane has just told me that an exhibition has just opened in Sydney of Masters of Modern Art from the Hermitage until April 2019.