The spread of art is a matter of national importance.
Emperor Alexander III
Emperor Alexander III
Historical the withdrawal that began in Russia in the 60s of the XIX century with the abolition of serfdom was accompanied by impending social, technical, ideological and moral coups that were unprecedented in scope. Dostoevsky wrote in those years: "In that society, an extraordinary economic and moral upheaval prevailed ... The former world, the former order departed irrevocably ... Everything is transitional, everything is shaky."
The reign of Alexander III began a new stage in the history of Russia: for some, the “period of reaction", for others, the "era of rebirth." Supporters of the politics of Alexander III, in the ranks of which were well-known scientists, public and political figures, writers, artists, musicians, approved the emperor’s course “to pacify Russia” and its cultural development.
“The people who lived through His reign,” wrote Mendeleev in “The Covenant Thoughts,” clearly realized that a certain degree of restrained concentration and gathering of forces, directed towards simple ordinary peaceful inner activity, had come then ... ”According to the scientist,“ ... all types and forms progress and everything, as a state improvement (as well as deterioration) is not only imaginable, but also carried out both at monarchist and republican warehouses ... ”
The adjustment of 60 – 70’s transformations was accompanied by a number of, if not as effective as “Great Reforms”, but extremely important social, economic transformations that contributed to the adaptation of Russian society to the now irreversible process of its capitalist evolution.
Alexander III began, in Dostoevsky's phrase, "from the healing of the roots." He marked the beginning of the "moral gathering of Russia." The policy of Alexander III was limited to the preservation and development of Russian foundations, traditions and ideals. In the years of the reign of Alexander III, that spiritual originality was awakened, without which the cultural and historical life of any great people is impossible.
“Russian life has awakened from a long moral and mental hibernation, has begun to see clearly,” wrote Repin in his memoirs, “the first thing she wanted to do was to wash, to clean herself from useless garbage, from routine elements that had outlived their time. The power of fresh Russian thought reigned everywhere, merrily, cheerfully went ahead and broke without regret everything that they found outdated, unnecessary ... "
The years of Alexander III’s rule were marked by significant successes in strengthening the power of Russia, as well as outstanding achievements in the development of national culture and science, to which he personally contributed a lot.
According to Dygilev, “Alexander III can be counted among the best Russian tsars. For Russian culture, he was perhaps the best of all Russian monarchs. It began the flourishing of Russian literature, painting, music, and ballet. Everything that later glorified Russia began under Alexander III. ”
During the reign of Alexander III, with his direct participation in Russia, the Russian opera and the Russian Museum were created, and the Russian Imperial Historical Society was active, headed by the emperor himself. The creation of a Russian national theater headed by the playwright Ostrovsky was prepared, the opening of the Imperial Historical Museum was held, the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society was established ...
In his cultural policy, Alexander III sought to follow Dostoevsky’s precepts set forth in the Writer's Diary, which he personally sent to the emperor in 1878: “Society is based on moral principles ... On meat, on the economic idea, on turning stones into bread - nothing it is based ... Nations live not only by concern for the price of the ruble and exchange speculation, but by great feeling and great unity and all illuminating thought, union with the people ... National strength is born when the people unwittingly recognize hnih people with them at the same time. "
Among the prominent representatives of Russian culture of that time were people of different nationalities and religions who came to Russia and remained here forever. All their life they worked for Russia, its people, loved this country and valued its culture. One of them was the famous sculptor Mark Matveevich Antokolsky (1843 – 1902). Alexander III treated the works of Antokolsky with great respect and love and did much to keep his sculptural works forever in the treasuries of the Russian state. Critic Stasov wrote in one of the letters to Antokolsky: “The Sovereign always loved and favored you, always put you above others, always gave you orders — yes, all of them! The most important and strong - so will be ahead. "
Antokolsky, in turn, felt a deep belonging to Russia. “All my soul,” he wrote, “belongs to the country where I was born and which I got used to ... That's why everything I did would be the result of those intimate impressions that Mother Russia nurtured me ...” He considered the stories and The themes from Russian history are central to their work: “My dream, in my old age, to devote my last years to the glorification of the great people of Russian history, the main thing is epic.”
Emperor Alexander Alexandrovich purchased from Antokolsky for the future of the Russian Museum many of his works: “Christ before the People’s Court”, “Peter I”, “Nestor the Chronicler”, “Ermak”, “Yaroslav the Wise”.
Well aware of the significance for Russia of a calm and stable development, he sharply criticized the forces that were shaking the country and calling for a revolution: a false prophet speaking in the name of the people, and on those on whose conscience hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths lie. ”
Extensive church construction, which was launched throughout the country in the post-reform period, required the involvement of the most talented architects who understood the requirements of the era.
One of the founders of the so-called Russian style in architecture was the outstanding Russian architect David Ivanovich Grimm (1823 – 1898), a German by origin, a Lutheran religion.
According to the designs of David Ivanovich, a significant number of architectural monuments were built on the territory of Russia, including the Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonese, the Alexander Nevsky Church in Tiflis, the Church of St. Nicholas in the Brest Fortress, the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin in Egerskaya Sloboda in Gatchina, the Church of St. Olga near Strelna in Peterhof and others.
The emperor met with the architect more than once, and discussed with him projects for the creation of church buildings. Paying special attention to the revival of historical national traditions, Alexander III believed that the glorification of Russia's victories in past wars and battles is a necessary condition for educating the people in respect for the country's historical past. During his reign, dozens of memorials and historical monuments were erected throughout the country. “Knowledge of the great feats of military valor, images of great people and glorious deeds for each historical event is the engine of moral influence,” said the emperor.
A prominent representative of Russian architectural art of the late 19th century was an artist and sculptor, architectural theorist, academician Vladimir Osipovich Sherwood (1833 – 1897), the author of the project of the Historical Museum on Red Square and the monument to the Heroes of Pleven in the square near the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow.
An Englishman by birth, whose grandfather came to Russia among foreign specialists, Vladimir Osipovich became a truly outstanding Russian sculptor, who exalted the past of our Fatherland. After staying for five years in the homeland of his ancestors in England, Sherwood returns to Russia. “Life and the animating idea of Russia so engulfed my whole being that I was careless and unworthy indifferent to my English past,” he wrote in his diary.
Russia is becoming his real homeland. Philosophical searches lead him to the conviction that the most important type of Russian art is architecture. "I would like to do in architecture what Glinka did in music - take all his works, romances, dances, choirs, quartets and, finally, opera, you will see Glinka everywhere and Russian music everywhere ... This is a feature that you can to trace in all the works of Glinka, that is, the way to express, - and makes up the style ".
It was during the reign of Alexander III on the territory of the Russian state that a number of unique monuments were created, the author of which was the famous architect Ivan Nikolaevich Schröder (1835 – 1908), one of the authors of the Millennium of Russia monument erected in Veliky Novgorod in 1862.
In 1881, by order of the emperor, Schroeder created a monument to Catherine II for Tsarskoye Selo.
Great was the role of the emperor in the formation and establishment in Russia of the art of Carl Faberge. In 1885, Emperor Alexander III appointed Faberge as a court jeweler. “He would have remained known as a wonderful master and a wonderful artist,” wrote the English researcher Buf, “while his appointment to such a position gave him (Faberge) the opportunity to become legendary.” Being a Frenchman by birth, Faberge, ardently loving Russia, absorbed the Russian spirit so much that, as he said himself, he felt like a Russian person. According to Bufa, “first of all he was Russian, and Russian culture touched him as much as all the artists who worked in Russia, including foreigners who came here ...”
With Faberge, a new era began in jewelry art - the era of imperial Easter eggs, which lasted more than thirty years.
In his works, Faberge, who was given complete freedom in the choice of plot and execution of the order, responded to the most important events in the life of Russia. One of the most impressive works was the Easter egg “The Great Siberian Way”. By order of the emperor, an Easter egg “Memory of Azov” was made, dedicated to the journey to the East of the royal sons.
Faberge left his descendants and another creation dedicated to the emperor - a model of the remarkable monument to Trubetskoy, erected on Znamenskaya Square in 1910 year. The egg was made of rock crystal, on top of platinum. Inside was placed in gold equestrian statue of Alexander III.
The emperor strongly supported the performing and composing activities of Anton Rubinstein. “It is pleasant to think that this artist, dominating in his own way, belongs to Russia,” wrote the chief procurator of the Synod of Pobedonostsev to Alexander III. “By his birth, by his upbringing, by family and social relations and relationships, by habits and lifestyle - Anton Rubinstein is Russian, and remains in Russia, despite the brilliant suggestions that have been made to him more than once abroad ...”
“The aspiration of the monarch,” wrote the philosopher Ilyin, “was aimed not only at the material and cultural support of his subjects, but also at facilitating their attainment of the highest spiritual and religious ideal.” The latter was all the more important because this higher spiritual and religious ideal was at the same time a source of higher cultural and creative values that justify and rejoice at human life on earth, the very life which, due to the fallen state of human nature, too often tends to turn into hell "
Russia was in no way a prison of nations, as some Soviet historians tried to convince us, and it was a melting pot for people of different nationalities and religions, which the imperial power greatly contributed to. For a common cultural space could really unite Russia. Many prominent figures of Russian culture were not Russian by blood, but they remained in the memory of their descendants as the brightest representatives of Russian culture of the 19th century.
Understanding the tremendous importance of the role of culture in a multi-ethnic state, Emperor Alexander III believed that "the spread of art is a matter of national importance." Tchaikovsky wrote to Alexander III in June 1887 from Borjomi: “In Tiflis, an excellent, stately theater is being built for state sums ... In order for the theater to be arranged and open, the 235 sum of thousands of rubles in silver is needed ...” And the emperor ordered the allocation of necessary funds for the speedy completion of the construction of the Tiflis theater, which later received the name of Zakharia Paliashvili.
Yes, Alexander III followed the policy of Russification of the country, because the Russian people gave a talk of general state life, the emperor did not sympathize with the extreme chauvinists, because he understood that they were discrediting the government and the Russian people. This is evidenced by his phrase: “It is easy for them with their balaban patriotism, when they are not responsible for anything. I will not give offense to Russia. " They do not stand up to criticism of a number of historical publishers that Alexander III was an anti-Semite. Alexander Isaevich Solzhenitsyn in his book “Two hundred years together (1795 – 1995)” responded to this accusation:
“... After 1917, a group of researchers carefully searched for evidence on all opened state archives - and found only the opposite, starting with the fact that Alexander III himself demanded a vigorous investigation (facts of pogroms in Russia after 1881 of the year - Yu.K.). But someone nameless invented and sent poisonous slander around the world: Alexander III — it is not known to anyone, it is not known when and under what circumstances — he said: “And I, I confess, I am glad when they beat the Jews!” And - it was published in emigre liberation pamphlets entered liberal folklore, and even now in 100 years, until now, it emerges in publications as historical authenticity ... "
Departing from life, the king told his son, the future Emperor Nicholas II: “Your grandfather from the height of the throne carried out many important reforms aimed at the benefit of the Russian people. As a reward for all this, he received a bomb and death from the “Russian revolutionaries” ... On that tragic day, I was confronted with a question: what is the way to go? Whether it was the so-called “advanced society” that infected me with the liberal ideas of the West, or the one that my own conviction told me, my supreme sacred duty of the Sovereign and my conscience. I have chosen my path. Liberals dubbed it reactionary. I was interested only in the good of my people and the greatness of Russia. I tried to give the inner and outer world so that the state could develop freely and calmly, grow stronger, grow rich and prosper ”.
The greatest works of Russian culture during the reign of Alexander III are a national treasure of our country to this day.