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How the famous artist Vasnetsov and his brothers created fabulous furniture for Russian towers

Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov – one of the most famous Russian artists, his brother Apollinarius is also known, but rather to those who are interested in historical painting and theater. Other Vasnetsov brothers, in particular, Arkady, are in the shadow of the glory of the great painter-storyteller. But Viktor Vasnetsov, as a phenomenon in world art, could not have taken place if it were not for the atmosphere of creativity, conscientious service to art, familiar to each of the brothers from early childhood and leading several of them to a wonderful hobby – the creation of carved wooden furniture.

The beginning of a creative life

The head of the family, Mikhail Vasilievich Vasnetsov, was a priest in the Vyatka province, and from childhood he was fond of drawing. In the house of his mother, the grandmother of Viktor Vasnetsov, Olga Alexandrovna, as the artist later recalled, all the walls were occupied by paintings, the author of which was herself. The Vasnetsov family was always always close to creativity – its representatives participated in the painting of churches, the design of church fences and the design of iconostases.

The love of art was manifested to one degree or another among all brothers – Nicholas, Victor, Peter, Apollinaria, Arkady and Alexander. Primary education was given to all six by Mikhail Vasilievich himself.
Having become older, Viktor Vasnetsov began to take drawing lessons near his home, and then completely left for St. Petersburg to get an education at the Academy of Arts. There he met many eminent masters, including Kramskiy, Repin, Nesterov, entered the famous mammoth club – a creative community that arose around the philanthropist Savva Mamontov and his estate in Abramtsevo.

Apollinarii Mikhailovich, Viktor’s younger brother, took lessons from the Polish artist Michal Elviro Andriolli, who worked in the field of romanticism, but did not receive an academic education, despite studying in St. Petersburg by painters such as I. Repin and V. Polenov . Apollinarii Vasnetsov entered the history of Russian art thanks to the images of old Moscow – not just highly artistic, but also created with impeccable historical accuracy.

Another main business of his life was the creation of scenery for theatrical productions – including the operas Life for the Tsar, Khovanshchina, Snegurochka, Sadko. Apollinaris had the most direct relation to the Abramtsevo circle, constantly maintaining communication with its representatives. A special event in the life of Abramtsevo was the creation of a carpentry workshop.

At the end of the 19th century, interest in folk culture increased markedly, and the All-Russian Art and Industry Exhibition held in 1882 inspired many artists to turn to the subject of applied art. Another well-known philanthropist, Sergei Timofeevich Morozov, from the dynasty of the Morozov merchants, acquired the artifacts exhibited at the exhibition and a few years later opened the Museum of Handicrafts, which, among other things, exhibited items created by furniture craftsmen.

Buffet from the collection of the Museum of Handicrafts, now – the All-Russian Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts. Designed by the sketch of Apollinaria Vasnetsov

The members of the Abramtsevo circle, first of all, the sister of Vasily Polenova Elena, Victor and Apollinariy Vasnetsov, Elizaveta Grigoryevna Mamontova, took a lively part in the search for folk art and the creation of their own sketches for chairs, shelves, sideboards, chests of drawers and other wooden pieces of furniture, which Not only fell into the visibility of museum visitors, but also served primarily the convenience and decoration of the interior in the homes of the artists themselves.

Over the ten years of operation in the Abramtsevo carpentry workshop, more than a hundred products were created in it, including the authorship of the Vasnetsov brothers. Here, Apollinaris created projects for the interior of his apartment.

An oak buffet, with a pediment decorated with carved apples, with antique-style bolts, reminds one of a Russian tower. And the other, also of the authorship of Apollinaria, as if returns to the distant past – its doors are decorated like mica windows, and carving elements contain images of cockerels, grapes, figures of magic birds Alkonost and Sirin.

These pieces of furniture still adorn the artist’s apartment – it houses a museum where his works and interior items are collected, which Apollinarius not only created himself.

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