среда, 28 апреля 2010 г.

65 anniversary of WWII-"Farewell of a Slavic woman"

Famous Russian military march (1912). Agapkin composed his march "A Slavic Farewell - Farewell to the Slavic Woman" in 1912, and it has been used to say farewell to Russian troops going to front ever since. He was conducting the famous November parade in Moscow in 1941 when German army were right next to Moscow.

The song was composed in 1912, as Russia was awash in rumors about the impending new Balkan War, in which the Slavs would be pitted against the Ottoman Turks, and Orthodox Christianity aganst Islam. Although, this particular war did not materialize, the song spread like wildfire, and became the most popular military march during WWI as well as WWII

Although it has its author, V. Lazarev, the text of the march that has become part of the urban folklore exists in several version. One of them, by A. Mingalev, is full of patriotic and martial spirit that is rather out of keeping with the elegiac and, perhaps, more authentic tone of the original. A more recent version was produced by Aleksandr Galich (1941 and 1970)..

The moment of parting is nigh
You look into my eyes with alarm.
I sense you dear breath,
And far away the storm is already gathering.

A tremor ran through the blue, misty air,
Alarm touched my temples,
And Russia calls us to a feat,
A breathe is wafting from the the marching regiments.

Farewell, the land of the fathers,
Remember us.
Farewell, dear glance,
Forgive-farewell, Forgive-

Years fly buy
Trains disappear in the dark.
In them -- the soldiers.
And in the dark sky
The soldier's star is shining.

In them -- the soldiers.
And in the dark sky
The soldier's star is shining.

Farewell, the land of the fathers,
Remember us.
Farewell, dear glance,
Forgive-farewell, Forgive-

Forests, the steppe, junctions stand in the steppe
The light of the twilight, evening, morning --
So, don't forget the Slavic woman's farewell,
Repeat it to yourself in your soul!

No, the soul will not be indifferent --
The lights of justice shine...
For love, for the great fraternity
We have sacrificed our lives.

Farewell, the land of the fathers,
Remember us.
Farewell, dear glance,
Not all of us shall return.

Years fly by,
A the song -- your are always with us.
We remember you,
And in the dark sky
The soldier's star is shining.

Farewell, the land of the fathers,
Remember us.
Farewell, dear glance,
Forgive-farewell, Forgive-


Rostov Region: the legacy of ancient Tanais

Древний город Танаис.Башня
«Древний город Танаис.Башня» на Яндекс.Фотках

Digging season on the site of the ancient town of Tanais came to a close in Rostov Region in Southern Russia. Tanais’ ruins were traced by archaeologist Ivan Stempkovsky 35 kilometers from Rostov-on-Don in 1823.

Stempkovsky’s expedition and the subsequent ones achieved insignificant results. In 1955 an expedition led by Dmitry Shelov made yet another attempt to find the town and 4 years later the settlement and the burial mound were declared a national reserve. And 1961 saw the opening of Russia’s largest archaeological reserve on more than 3 thousand hectares.

“Tanais is still a mystery, though the scientists have come closest to solving it now, — Valery Chesnok, a reserve employee, says. – The town existed for nearly 800 years and witnessed a golden age in economy and culture. The excavations produced a variety of treasures, including household items, clothing, weapons, decorations and ancient letters. Some read: “There is a town in the estuary of the Tanais River, for a traveler entering it Europe is on the left and Asia is on the right”. Ancient Tanais was thus at the juncture of antique and nomadic cultures. Every new find gets us closer to the antiquity”.

Каменные изваяния
«Каменные изваяния» на Яндекс.Фотках

Tanais was founded in the 3rd century BC and over a short period of time grew into a major trading center between the Greeks and nomadic tribes who dwelled in the steppes north of the Black Sea. In 237 AD the town was destroyed by the Goths (Germanic people who lived in 2-9th cc.) but 140 years later was rebuilt by the Sarmatians. Ancient Tanais ceased to exist in the 5th century having witnessed a heyday and then a decline.

Tanais consisted of stone structures with traditionally Greek elements of architecture and ceramic amphoras against the “silent burial mounds of the Don”. According to Valery Chesnok, the main achievement of this season is the unearthing of paved lanes leading to the southern wall. This suggests the existence of a gate through which residents and guests went in. When found the gate will provide scientists with yet a better vision of town planning in Tanais and a map of defensive fortifications.

Source:The Voice of Russia

четверг, 22 апреля 2010 г.

Symbolism of Colors in Icon

Colour plays a special role in icons because it is a symbolic language which manifests the light that is inside objects and human faces rather than their colouring. The source of this light is outside the physical world. Golden strokes in icons represent this unearthly light, and the golden background symbolizes the space 'not of this world'. There are no shadows in icons. In God's Kingdom everything is permeated with this light.
Icons cannot be looked at as pictures. They represent neither space as we know it nor events conditioned by ordinary cause and effect relations. An icon is a window looking onto the world of a different nature but it is a window open to those only who have spiritual eyesight.
Those who want to come closer to understanding icons need to see them with the eyes of a believer for whom God is the undoubted reality - a reality invisibly present everywhere and in every event, an invisible witness and judge from whose sight it is never possible to hide.

An introductory discussion on the symbolism of colors in icons Byzantines considered that the meaning of art is beauty. They painted icons that shined with metallic gold and bright colors. In their art each color had its place and value. Colors - whether bright or dark - were never mixed but always used pure. In Byzantium, color was considered to have the same substance as words, indeed each color had its own value and meaning. One or several colors combined together had the means to express ideas. Being trained in Byzantine art, Russian master-iconographers accepted and preserved the symbolism of color. Russian icons did not achieve the same magnificence and austerity as the art of imperial Byzantium. However, colors in Russian icons attained a brightness that was livelier and more vibrant. The iconographers of ancient Russia learned to create works close in inspiration to local conditions, tastes and ideals.

Mother of God of Vladimir

The brilliance of gold in mosaics and icons made it possible to feel the radiant light of God and the splendor of the celestial kingdom where there is never any night. Gold symbolized the divine nature of God himself. This color glimmers with different nuances in the icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir.

Purple, or crimson, was a color very important in Byzantine culture. This is the color of the Celestial King and the Byzantine emperor, whom André Grabar called "God’s Lieutenant on earth." Only the Byzantine emperor could sign edicts in purple ink and sit in glory upon a purple throne, and it was only he who wore purple clothing and boots - for all others it was strictly forbidden. The leather or wood bindings of the Gospel in churches were sometimes covered with purple cloth. This color is present in icons on the clothing of the Mother of God - the Celestial Queen.

Tsar's Family

Red is one of the most frequently used colors in icons. This is the color of heat, passion, love, life and life-giving energy, and for this very reason red became the symbol of the resurrection - the victory of life over death. But at the same time it is the color of blood and torments, and the color of Christ's sacrifice. Martyrs are depicted in red clothing on icons. In red celestial fire blaze the wings of the Seraphim - angels stationed adjacent to God's throne. Sometimes icons were painted with a red background as a symbol of the celebration of eternal life.

Transfiguration. Novgorod. 15th century

White is the symbol of the heavenly realm and God’s divine light. (Figure 3) This is the color of cleanliness, holiness and simplicity. On icons and frescoes, saints and righteous people are usually depicted clothed in white as righteous ones - people who were good, honest, and lived by "the Truth." In the same manner, white was used in the swaddling bands of babies, the shrouds of the dead and the robes of angels. Only righteous souls were depicted as wearing white.

Dionisy. Annunciation

Dark-blue and blue indicate the infiniteness of the sky and is the symbol of another everlasting world. Dark blue was considered the color of the Mother of God who combines in her self both the terrestrial and celestial. The backgrounds of mural paintings in many Byzantine churches dedicated to the Mother of God are filled with a celestial dark blue.

Green is the color of natural, living things. It is the color of grass and leaves, youth, flowering, hope, and eternal renovation. Ancient iconographers often painted the earth green to denote where life began - such as in scenes of the Annunciation (Figure 4) and the Nativity.

Brown is the color of the bare earth, dust, and all that is transient and perishable. Used in combination with the royal purple clothing of the Mother of God, this color reminds one of her human nature, which was subject to death.

Resurrection of Lazarus, Kirilo-Belozersky Monastery, 15th century

Black is the color of evil and death. In iconography, caves were painted with the color black as a symbol of humankind's grave and the gaping infernal abyss. In some subjects this was also the color of mystery. For example, against a black background, which indicated the incomprehensible depth of the universe, icon painters depicted Cosmos - an old man with a crown - in the icon of the Pentecost or Descent of Holy Spirit. The black robes of monks, who have left the path of worldly life, are a symbol of their eschewing the pleasures and habits they formerly kept, and dying a death toward this way of life.
Colors Not Used in Iconography

A color that was never used in iconography is gray. When mixing black and white together, iniquity and righteousness, it becomes the color of vagueness, the color of the void and nonexistence. There was no place for this color in the radiant world of the icon.


среда, 21 апреля 2010 г.

Cossacks of the Napoleonic Wars-сossacks' weapons.

"He knows how to use this weapon [lance]
with great skill and security,
nevertheless the fact that it is 1.5 foot
longer as the Polish lance." - Prokesch

The rank-and-file carried 8-foot long lance with a steel spearhead surmounting a steel ball to secure easy withdrawal of the point. Some Cossacks were also armed with curved sabers and 1-8 (!) pistols. Some carried carbines or muskets or other firearms. Furthermor, each sotnia (squadron) had muskets for 11 Cossacks trained as marksmen.

The officers were armed with sabers, but they have never mastered this weapon.
"... in 1812 ... a Prussian uhlan major fought a man-to-man duel with a Cossack officer (armed with saber) between their two regiments and captured him ..." ( - John Elting)
In 1814 near St.Dizier, the Guard Mamelukes "took a crack at some Cossacks whom 'they sabered in their accustomed style." - General Lefebvre-Desnouettes
Hungarian hussar "Samuel Hemmer... had engaged a large Cossack patrol by himself in 1812." Hollins - "Hungarian Hussar 1756-1815"

Prokesch writes, "... the lance is their main weapon. The Cossack knows how to use this weapon with great skill and security, nevertheless the fact that it is one and a half foot longer as the Polish lance. He knows how to use his sabre just as well; officers and NCO’s practice them for use against the Turks. The pistol is of less value to him. He considers it not really as a weapon, but only as a tool to scare the enemy. He fires only to fire, not to hit anything, and in common there are few Cossacks which use their pistols... Tettenborn armed his Cossacks completely with French muskets... The Cossack loves the use of a firearm, because of the reason that he fears the one of the enemy. He wants to take artillery with him, and the name Poushki (cannon) is for him a word of joy, as well as of fear...A tenth of every squadron consists of marksmen; Strelki. Rifle and pistols are mostly Turkish or Persian booty." (Prokesch - "Ueber den Kosaken, und dessen Brauchbarkeit im Felde")


вторник, 20 апреля 2010 г.

65 anniversary of WWII-children of war

From time to time photos of child soldiers in Africa holding AK-47s or some other kind of weapon appear here and there provoking outrage and compassion from the Western public. But just a few decades ago, during World War II, there were often occasions of Russian kids fighting in the regular army against the Nazis.

Generally speaking, children were not allowed to join the combat army—but many exceptions were made. Many kids tried to run away from their homes “to the War” but most such cases were eventually captured by military police and returned back to their homes. While some did succeed in joining the army, it was often the case for these runaways to get lost in the woods or shot along their journey.

Also, from time to time, soldiers found children in the devastated and burnt down villages of the Soviet Union. While there was a directive for them to send such children to established orphanages, still sometimes such boys were simply incorporated into the active combat units. Specially sized uniforms were tailored for them and they were entrusted with guns. Some of those boys joined the army at nine or eleven, and stayed with their regiment through all the war front, from Russia to Germany, until the war ended and they were discharged at fourteen or sixteen, often with medals of honor.



By Lyubov Tsarevskaya

Part and parcel of this great city are its long-established trading and catering businesses.

A turn-of-the-century newspaper reporter Vladimir Gilyarovski remembered a day in 1901 when the city's main thoroughfare, Tverskaya Street, saw the opening of a huge foodstore with special emphasis on quality wine. Onlookers blocked traffic, to admire the pompous architecture and avidly eye the glass showcases displaying picturesque pyramids of unheard of foods.

There were coconuts stacked like cannon-balls, each the size of a toddler's head; there were bananas hanging down in heavy garlands; there were unfamiliar seafoods, variously shaped and mysteriously colored; and there were, of course, bottles of wine ranked in countless batteries reflecting the bright light of high-power electric bulbs. The townsfolk dubbed the store the Moscow Temple of Bacchus. A temple indeed, with cut-glass chandeliers, huge mirrors, gilded relieves, Grigory Yeliseevcarved stalls and marble-topped counters creating a shopping space unparalleled anywhere in Europe and rather reminiscent of an opulently decorated place of worship.

The Company's founding father in the early 19th century was a frugal peasant farmer named Pyotr Yeliseyev. Having bought freedom from his landlord, he traveled on foot to St.Petersburg to start a small food shop. His sons inherited a much larger store which they incorporated as THE YELISEYEV BROTHERS Limited Company, a trading firm dealing mainly in colonial commodities such as tea, coffee, tobacco, spices, sugar and rum. To tackle the logistics of their growing business, they acquired a fleet of fast seagoing Dutch-built steamboats. Traders who did business with the agents on board spread the word of the firm's meticulous honesty and, most importantly, of its habit of expediently paying for supplies in hot cash. A coat-of-arms bestowed by the Emperor came as a well-deserved cognition of the Company's outstanding services to the Motherland.

The founder's grandson, Grigori, a manager up to the standards of the century that dawned, aggressively expanded into food processing. Factories and shops to produce sweets, chocolate, pastry, sausages, smoked fish and preserved fruit combined with warehouses, cold storage facilities, delivery services and state-of-the-art retail outlets to create a business empire to which only the sky would seem to be the limit.

In its heyday at the century’s turn, the Company launched this nation's first chain of food superstores, one in St.Petersburg, one in Kiev, and one in Moscow.

Profusely stocked with every conceivable type of delicacy, the Moscow store, the biggest of the three, appeared a real-life implementation of a Flemish-painted still-life. Sausage and cheese came in the widest possible choice. Stuffed goose and smoked turkey made a tantalizing contrast with fresh oysters and snow-white sturgeon fillets. A smashing variety of sweets and chocolate items matched an all-year-round assortment of fresh fruit such as strawberries, bananas, oranges, pears and pineapples.
Caviar went without saying, both salmon and sturgeon, in every package and preparation, ready for delivery on demand almost anywhere.

The wines, of every kind, grade and price, came from vast cellars where the Company aged precursory products imported from vineyards in France. For this job well done, the French national panel of wine tasters awarded the Company a gold medal. Grigori Yeliseyev himself received membership of the Legion of Honor for a collection of quality wines brought for appraisal to Paris. To secure a cheaper and more reliable supply of the basic raw material, he gave over to growing grapes on vast tracts of land on the southern seaboard of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

An unrivalled business tycoon and freshly-knighted nobleman, Grigori Yeliseyev contemplated a bold expansion into North America appointing his eldest son to establish a bridgehead.

But at this point the story goes sour.

The surprise discovery of a young mistress led Grigori's wife to commit suicide, and his sons, to formally renounce the inheritance rights. Caught up in a mounting public scandal, he wound up his business, married his sweetheart and took her to Paris where they spent the rest of their irretrievably shattered lives.

The Bolsheviks, when they took over, nationalized the YELISEYEV store. But the architectural opulence of the place lasted out the bleak decades. And so did the firm's big name, which these days again attracts gourmets to where they can procure Moscow's very best.

Several shops away from the YELISEYEV food store there is another well-established food business, a bakery once run by the famous FILIPPOV entrepreneurial clan. And once again, reading the memoirs by Vladimir Gilyarovski is the surest way to get an idea of what the business was like in pre-Bolshevik days.

The son of I.Filippov-D.I.Filippov

The shop, he remembers, was always doing a roaring trade. High school and university students, retired clerks, officers, military cadets, fashionable ladies and shabbily dressed working women all crowded around hot pans containing famous FILIPPOV pies stuffed with minced meat, eggs, rice, mushrooms, curd, raisins or jam. Cooked in good oil and leaving no nostril unstirred, five-copeck meat pies were big enough for just two to make a fairly heavy lunch.

The Filippov's bakery

They were the invention of Ivan Filippov, the founder, who initially won a reputation selling rolls and excellent brown bread. Asked whence the unparalleled flavor, he would cite diligence, care, hard work but first and foremost, the watchful eye of his employees charged with securing appropriate quality of the flour supply. As simple as that, would be his by-word.

The Filippov's bakery

The tasty produce found its way to the number one household in St. Petersburg. The poor chemistry of the northern capital's water precluded top-quality baking near the Emperor's palace and necessitated daily rail deliveries from Filippov's bakeries in Moscow. To places like Sibaria where the rail track had not yet reached out Filippov sent bread in the dead of winter by horse-drawn sleigh. Consignees unraveled the garlands of stone-frozen bag-shaped rolls, and buyers thawed the rolls on their tables. No loss of original flavor was ever recorded. As simple as that, to put it in Ivan Filippov's words.

The Filippov's bakery

Another invention, the roll with raisins, came into being after a happening in which Ivan Filippov displayed the qualities of a seasoned courtier.

One morning the then Governor of Moscow General Zakrewski, a tyrant no one dared to cross, discovered a dead cockroach comfortably baked inside a Filippov-supplied tea roll. Frogmarched to the Governor's office, just across the street from the bakery, and threateningly confronted with the disgusting find, Ivan Filippov promptly swallowed the ill-fated roll announcing that what his Excellency had mistaken for a dead cockroach was in fact a raisin.

To allay the General's doubts as to the existence of rolls with raisins, he rushed to the bakery and added a basketful of raisins to ripening dough. An hour later, rolls with raisins landed on the Governor's table, and twenty four hours later, in shopping bags of the public at large.

That brilliant exercise in face-saving by no means implied dishonesty. In doing his business, Ivan Filippov was a devout Orthodox Christian.

Prayers sent up by a sufferer, Orthodox tradition has it, are certain to reach the Almighty. In line with this belief, Russian business tycoons often marked Christian feasts by ordering extra supplies of bread to the population of jails. Unlike less scrupulous bakers who seized on the opportunity to sell off heaps of stale bread, Ivan Filippov saw to it that what his bakeries sent was fresh from the oven. Moreover, he channeled the proceeds to improve food rations in prison hospitals. His prime motivation was to do what is morally good, not to make money or gain distinction. As simple as that, to put it in his own words.

The Yeliseyev store nowadays

Sources:The Voice of Russia,www.dedushkin1.livejournal.com,www.old.moskva.com,www.ogoniok.com,www.slovari.yandex.ru

понедельник, 19 апреля 2010 г.

Scientist and explorer Nikolay Mikluho-Maklay

MIKLUHO-MAKLAI, NICHOLAI NICHOLAIEVICH (1846-1888), scientist and explorer usually known as Nicholas Maclay, was born on 17 July 1846 at Rozhdestvenskoye, Russia, second son of Nicholai Hijtch Mikluho-Maklai, hereditary nobleman, and his wife Ekaterina Semenovna, née Bekker. Educated in St Petersburg at a secondary school, he briefly studied law and philosophy at the university and in 1864 moved to Heidelberg. He studied medicine at Leipzig in 1866 and palaeontology, zoology and comparative anatomy at Jena. On vacation travels he became a competent linguist, and in the Canary Islands examined sponges and shark brains, on which he published important papers. Marine biology drew him to the Red Sea and after a bout of malaria to the Volga. His attention was drawn to New Guinea as a promising field for anthropological and ethnological studies. Aided by the Imperial Russian Geographical Society he visited European museums and met leading scientists. In October 1870 he sailed in the Russian corvette Vitiaz and by way of South America and the Pacific Islands reached Astrolabe Bay in September 1871.

From his hut at Garagassi Point, Maclay visited many villages, collected specimens, drew faces and scenery and named mountain peaks. With patience, courage and medical skill he won the confidence and co-operation of the inhabitants. He found them far from long-headed as earlier reported and studied their languages and characteristics. His necessities were running out when the corvette Isumrud arrived in December 1872. He named the Maclay Coast from Isumrud to Vitiaz Straits and in the corvette went to the Halmaheras and Philippines where he found primitive tribes similar to those he had seen in New Guinea. In 1873 at Batavia he published his anthropological observations, sent specimens and comments to his European teachers and recuperated for six months at Buitenzorg in the mountains. He then visited the Celebes and Moluccas, and at Papua-Koviai in west New Guinea found ethnological traits similar to those on the Philippines and Maclay Coast. After local exploration he returned to Papua-Koviai and found that raiders had smashed his hut, stolen his equipment and killed some local supporters. With skill he captured the chief offender and brought him to justice, but the experience contrasted so strongly with the goodwill of the more isolated natives of the Maclay Coast that he determined to preserve their cultures.

In April 1874 Maclay went to Amboina, where in June he was found seriously ill by Captain John Moresby who had been sent to look for him. By July Maclay was at Buitenzorg resting and preparing publications. In November he went to Singapore and for 176 days travelled in Malaya where he found more primitive tribes whose ethnological characteristics were akin to those in the Philippines and New Guinea. In December he returned to Buitenzorg and published four papers suggesting a relation between the natives of the regions he had investigated.

In January 1876 Maclay sailed to the Halmaheras and Carolines, and on the Admiralty Islands established that the natives' enlarged teeth were not a racial trait but resulted from chewing betel nut with lime. He returned to Astrolabe Bay in June and with material from Singapore built a new home at Bugarlom near Bougu village. Renewed friendships and greater facility with dialects enabled him to visit many villages in the mountains and on the coast and islands. He prevented violence which threatened to erupt from superstition and warned his native friends against slave traders. He also made drawings and collections of local animals but confined his diaries to anthropological matters. In November 1877 he sailed north among the islands and reached Singapore in January 1878. He went to Hong Kong in June and in July arrived at Sydney with large collections.

On 26 August Maclay addressed the local Linnean Society on the need for a laboratory of marine studies on Sydney Harbour. The lecture was one of his thirty-four research papers and notes published by the society; he was made an honorary member in 1879. He also became closely associated with W. J. Macleay, sharing common interests particularly in the study of sharks. In November 1878 the Dutch government informed him that on his recommendations it was checking the slave traffic at Ternate and Tidore. In January 1879 he wrote to Sir Arthur Gordon, high commissioner for the Western Pacific, on protecting the land rights of his friends on the Maclay Coast, and ending the traffic in arms and intoxicants in the South Pacific. In March, after continuing his campaign for the laboratory, Maclay sailed in the Sadie F. Caller for the islands north-east of Queensland. He expected the ship to return to Sydney with his collections but half of them were lost when she went elsewhere. With James Chalmers he visited villages on the south coast of New Guinea but found no evidence to upset his conviction that the people were of common origin. In April 1880 he went to Somerset, Queensland, and thence to Brisbane, where he resumed his studies on the comparative anatomy of the brains of Aboriginal, Malayan, Chinese and Polynesian origin. He inspected Aboriginals on the Darling Downs and palaeontological excavations of extinct mammals at Stanthorpe and Glen Innes. Meanwhile he continued to send notes and specimens to his former teacher, Rudolph Virchow (1821-1902).

Maclay returned to Sydney in January 1881. With help from the government and scientific societies in Sydney and Melbourne his ambition for a marine laboratory was at last realized. While it was being built at Watsons Bay he worked in Sydney museums and collected evidence for his campaign against the exploitation of natives. In August he went to New Guinea in hope of providing guidance at the trial of the murderers of native missionaries and their families at Kalo. He returned in October and found the laboratory almost complete. When the Russian Pacific fleet visited Melbourne in February 1882 Maclay joined the Vestnik and arrived at Kronshtadt, Russia, in September.

Maclay lectured to the Russian Geographical Society and each morning explained his collections and drawings to enthusiastic visitors. He was awarded a gold medal by the society and a certificate of honour by the Czar but failed to raise funds. He visited Virchow in Berlin, Turgenev in Paris and T. H. Huxley in London. In 1883 he joined the Chyebassa at Port Said. His luggage went to Sydney while he sailed to Batavia. A Russian corvette took him to Astrolabe Bay in March, where the natives reported unfavourably on European visitors, and thence to Hong Kong. In April he sailed for Sydney and was joined at Thursday Island by Chalmers. Together they sought recognition from the Colonial Office of the land rights of natives in eastern New Guinea, their freedom from forced labour and protection from intoxicants. In London Moresby supported their petition but action was too slow to prevent the German annexation of north-east New Guinea on 16 November 1884. Meanwhile Maclay had reached Sydney on 11 June 1883 to find many of his records and collections had been destroyed nine months earlier in the Exhibition Building fire. In August he worked at the marine laboratory and prepared papers for publication. On 27 February 1884 he married Margaret Emma Clark, widowed daughter of Sir John Robertson at her father's home, Clovelly, Watsons Bay.

Maclay wrote to Bismarck in October seeking protection of Pacific islanders from white exploitation and later protested against the German annexation. Early in 1886 he returned to Russia with his family and twenty-two boxes of specimens. He arranged some publications, lectured in St Petersburg and on his travels visited the family estates and scientists. At Vienna he and his wife were married by rites of the Russian Orthodox Church. He intended to return to Sydney but his health deteriorated and he died on 2 April 1888 in his wife's arms. Her income from his estate ended in 1917 and she died in Sydney on 1 January 1936 survived by their two sons.

A portrait by Corsuchin is among his records at the Library of New South Wales.
Select Bibliography

E. S. Thomassen, A Biographical Sketch of Nicholas de Miklouho Maclay, the Explorer (Brisb, 1882); F. S. Greenop, Who Travels Alone (Syd, 1944); S. Markov, Nikolai Miklukho-Maclay (Moscow, 1946); N. N. Miklukho-Maklai. Sobranie Sochinenii, vols 1-5 (Moscow, Akademii nauk SSSR, 1950-54); D. Fischer, Unter Südsee-Insulanern (Leipzig, 1955); Na Bregu Maklaya (Moscow, Akademii nauk SSSR, 1961); N. A. Butinov, N. N. Miklukho-Maklai-velikii Ruskii Uchenyi-Gumanist (Leningrad, 1971); Miklouho-Maclay papers and M. de Miklouho-Maclay diary, 1888 (University of Sydney diary); relics (State Library of New South Wales). More on the resources

All the drawings by Nikolay Mikluho-Maklay

Author: R. W. de M.-Maclay


воскресенье, 18 апреля 2010 г.

Sergei Diaghilev

Opening a series of portraits of the Silver Age, we start off not with a musician, artist or writer, but rather begin with the portrait of a man who, in effect, himself created his profession – one that at first glance seems ‘secondary’ to “lofty art” itself. He was an entrepreneur. However, one of genius! Extraordinary! A unique persona in the history of Russian art. A man who created a turmoil, an upheaval in culture of not only Russia, but the world at large! His name – Sergei Diaghilev.

A “Napoleon of Russian Art”, “descendant of the great reformer Peter I”, “powerful alchemist of culture” — these were only some of the words applied to this remarkable person. He conceived a grand-scale Russian Empire of the Arts which would conquer the world. So what was it: the mad plan of an obsessed ambitious high-climber? He really was ambitious to the point of frenzy. …(“I have two idols: success and fame”, Diaghilev used to pronounce unabashedly). However, the result of his volcanic-like activity, obliterating all obstacles that stood in its path, were real tangible achievements, which to a great degree determined the directions for 20th century culture…

In the very first years of the 20th century there was a veritable boom in Russia’s art world. Sergei Diaghilev created a magazine, and later – a community of artists, which would make a name for itself all across the world – “Mir Isskustva” (World of Art). Alexander Benois, Konstantin Somov, Lev Bakst, Alexander Golovin — their exhibitions were sensations. The magazine dealing with new art circulated all across Russia and Europe in unbelievable runs. The great Russian writer Anton Chekhov wrote to Diaghilev: “you are the most ingenious chief editor there ever was and could be!”

A new sensation is soon forthcoming. Sergei Diaghilev writes a monograph about a forgotten Russian 18th century artist Dmitry Levitsky. And after this comes the revelation of the fantastically talented and quite unknown to anyone Russian 18th century!

The year 1903. Thunderous success of exhibitions comprising six thousand historic portraits, collected by Diaghilev all across Russia. To begin with Russia raved over them, then it was the turn of the heart of European culture — Paris. Revelations of Russian art – ranging from ancient icon art to Malevich and Kandinsky!

And in 1907 there began the triumphant march across the world of Russian music. Diaghilev’s first project – “5 concerts of Russian music” in Paris. And as the result – a storm of stunned amazement, sensations and revelations. “Rave reviews were abundant in newspapers and magazines all over the world, as it listened with bated breath to the music of Glinka, Mussorgsky, Scriabin, the conducting of Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff’s playing…

The year 1908. Overwhelming success of a production of “Boris Godunov” by Mussorgsky brought by Diaghilev to the Opera de Paris. A half century prior to the birth of the authentic trend in world art Diaghilev himself labored in the archives to restore the original score. Shining in all splendor in the revived production of “Boris” was the remarkable Fyodor Chaliapin, who at the time acquired international acclaim.

The year 1909. Presently the entire world is marking a very special date – the 100th birth anniversary of the famous “Russian Seasons”. No wonder, they are also dubbed “Diaghilev’s seasons”. His ideas were to ‘fire’ the entire world: opera and ballet productions, where the stage scenery, directing, performance act on a par with the music, singing and dance. All the participants — geniuses! Artists Benois, Bilibin, Golovin, Roerich, singers Chaliapin, Yershov, Sobinov, dancers, choreographers – Pavlova, Karsavina, Fokine, Nizhinsky. It was he – Sergei Diaghilev – who made them megastars!

The world churns in rapturous delight over productions of “Khovanschina” and “Tale of Czar Sultan”, ballets to music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, Ravel, Richard Strauss or the mesmerizing “Polovetsk Dances”…

Sergei Diaghilev possessed remarkable intuition, a gift of foresight. He was the one who introduced into the Russian language the words “modernism”, “constructivism” — and he was also the one to ‘provoke’ the further development and evolution of these innovative trends. It was none other than Diaghilev who revealed to the world the wondrous talent of Igor Stravinsky!

…A young composer demonstrates his music. Fifty eight times one ear-splitting chord is repeated… Diaghilev asks: shall this continue for long?!!”

“Up until the very end of the ballet, my Dear!” replies Stravinsky defiantly.

And Diaghilev accepts the challenge, and is quite enchanted when at the premiere in Paris the public rages, whistles and even spits!

“Excellent! This is a real victory. This is how people intuitively react to something brand new. I am not at all interested what the seniors will say, though they might be the wiser. I am interested what my grandchildren will think of the art of my time!”

That is how the world-famous “The Rite of Spring”, “Petrushka”, “Fire Bird” were born…

“Fire Bird” (Lev Bakst)

(Lev Bakst)

In 1929, Nikolai Roerich would write of him: “We can consider Diaghilev’s achievements as those of a great personality who left his mark in history.” While Igor Stravinsky would dub him a “unicum” possessing a unifying artistic willpower of universal scope”. Outstanding ballet master Serge Lifar, who once stared out in Ballets Russes, yet another of Diaghilev’s brainchild’s that became fantastically famous all over the world, summed up decades later: “If it were not for Diaghilev, so much in 20th century art might never have happened at all.”

Sources:The Voice of Russia,www.artpages.org.ua