by Liudmila MOROZOVA, State Museum of Literature
The exhibition halls of the State Museum of Literature in Moscow (which were opened to the public in 1983) recently featured an exposition on the 190th birth anniversary of the great Russian poet Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov (1814 - 1841). The museum is housed in the mansion that once belonged to llya Ostroukhov, an artist and art collector. In the seventy years of its existence the museum has gathered a unique collection of Lermontov's autographs, paintings and drawings. This collection also includes portraits of the poet produced still in his lifetime as well as personal memorabilia...
"Moscow is and shall always be my homeland," Mikhail Lermontov wrote in 1832. Here he was born, and here he studied at the Moscow University Boarding School for Young Noblemen (1827 - 1830), and then attended Moscow University as student (1830 - 1832). Moscow was the home town of his near and dear ones. His tutors instilled great love of belles lettres and fostered literary talent in the youth, the "hope of Russian literature". One of his teachers was Professor Alexei Merzlyakov, the author of the lyrics of the Russian folk threnody Amidst the Level Plains. Among other things, the Lermontov exposition displays Merzlyakov's portrait (K. Afanasiev's engraving, 1825) as well as por-
traits of the poet's friends and acquaintances, such as the eminent man of letters Sergei Aksakov (elected to the Academy of Sciences in 1856 as corresponding member); of Konstantin Aksakov, his son who made a name for himself as a publicist, linguist and poet; of Mikhail Pogodin, the historian (elected to the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1841); of Yuri Samarin, a philosopher and public figure, along with other portraits.
As disclosed by Lermontov himself, he started writing poetry in 1828, i.e. at age 14. The literary journal Athenaeum was the first to publish his poem Spring signed just "L". In that heyday of romantic literature color ... Read more