On October 15, 1814, was born a man who lived 26 years only, but flashed like a bright star on the horizon of the Russian culture. Mikhail Lermontov became the second after A. S. Pushkin in poets’ range, and together with him and N. Gogol he laid the foundations of Russian classical prose. Poet, writer, artist and musician, and along with it the brave military – these are the main incarnations of Lermontov.
This isn’t you whom I ardently love,
And not for me you shine with beauty
I love in you my former sorrow
And my lost youth
(M. Lermontov «This isn’t you whom I ardently love…»)
With the kind assistance of Valentina, we will try to remind the main stages of the biography of Mikhail Lermontov.
Valentina Lentsova is Honored worker of culture of the Russian Federation, head of Department of the State literary Museum “House-Museum of Mikhail Lermontov”.
The exposition of the House Museum was created by the State Literary Museum in 1981, it is located in the wooden house on the Arbat, which was built 202 years ago. This house in 1829-1832 was rented by the grandmother of poet E. A. Arsenyeva and Lermontov lived there three years in his youth, being a graduate of the University noble boarding school. Collection of State Literary Museum immerses us in the life of Lermontov, his family and entourage, recreates the environment in which the poet was formed. There are 18 paintings of Mikhail Lermontov.
That’s how Valentina Bronislavovna says about the exposure: “We are not limited by the story of Lermontov youth when the poet stayed in this house, because the wealth of material allows us to talk about all the works and biography of Lermontov. The poet himself confessed: “I started to write poems in 1828, and apparently by instinct, tidied them.” Later Lermontov returned to writings of his youth. So, there was firstly wrote a poem “the Field Borodino”, which Lermontov then remade in the famous “Borodino”. At the same time he wrote the poem “My demon” which served as the prototype for his future famous poem “the Demon”.
Mikhail Lermontov was descended from quite noble families, which included Lermontov, Stolypin and Arseniev. The love of art was characteristic of his ancestors. In particular, the great-grandfather of the poet A. E. Stolypin created a serf theatre in Simbirsk, which then was sold to the Treasury and formed the basis of the Maly theatre.
Thinking about the roots of his name, Lermontov first supposed its Spanish roots – hence the Spanish theme in poetry and painting, then he found Scottish ones.
Lermontov was born in Moscow, near the Red Gate (the house is not preserved), and early learned the bitterness of loss: poet’s mother died, and his father was forced to give him up for adoption to his grandmother, Elizabeth Arsenyeva. In the House-Museum the interiors of the rooms were recreated, there are also the types of Lermontov Moscow, portraits of the mother and grandmother of the poet, 2 adorable baby portrait of Lermontov, and the father’s portrait in watercolor was written by Lermontov.
Lermontov studied at Moscow University at noble boarding school (1828-1830), then he spent 2 years in Moscow University, and two other at the St. Petersburg school of guard sub-ensigns and cavalry cadets. He served in the guard, he was twice exiled to the Caucasus (for a duel with the son of a French Ambassador and for a poem on the death of A. S. Pushkin “the death of a poet”). For valor he was presented to the combat awards, but didn’t get it. In 1841 Lermpntov was killed in a duel in Pyatigorsk by his ex-schoolmate Nikolay Martynov, called “monkey”.
The poet died! — he’s slave of honor
He fell, slandered by a rumor,
With lead in breast and vengeance,
Hanging his proud head!..
The poet’s soul could not bear
The shame of petty offenses,
He rebelled against the views of society
Alone as before… and killed!
(M. Y. Lermontov “death of a poet”)
The House-Museum’s exposition shows a textbook of mathematics, in which Lermontov studied at the boarding school, with his autograph, there is a book “Reflections Dodd and mourning him in prison”, presented to his friend with the autograph “to my Dear friend Andrew by M. Lermontov 1830” as well as portraits of the recipients of youth lyrics by Lermontov and his friends. The most expensive relic of the Museum is a self-portrait of the poet.
In the House Museum, we learn about the love of Mikhail Lermontov to the music. It is known that he played several musical instruments, including the piano and violin, and sang and tried to compose music.
For many visitors, it is a discovery that Lermontov was a talented artist. Despite the fact that the heritage of the poet in this area is considered by philologists and he isn’t treated as professional artist, graphics and paintings of Lermontov, of course, are amazingly talented and have their own style.
Lermontov in Russian memory and culture
His memory is perpetuated in literature, music, geographical names, museums. Here are just some of the facts.
The city under the name of Lermontov is located in the Stavropol region. Streets, squares and avenues named after Lermontov in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. The monument erected by the sculptor Opekushin, decorate Pyatigorsk.
The name of Lermontov as a playwright was immortalized in the title of the drama theaters in the Caucasus, in Stavropol and Grozny. Still in the repertoire of Russian theaters include with success play “Masquerade”.
The beautiful poetry of Lermontov romances created the “I’m bored And sad” by A. Gurilev, “I am sad” by A. Dargomyzhsky, “At the gates of the Holy cloister” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, “Peaks” by A. Varlamov, etc.
The most important collection of relics of M. Y. Lermontov is stored in the Literary Museum of the Pushkin house in St. Petersburg. These materials came from the first Lermontov Museum in the Nicholas Cavalry school (founded in 1883, in Soviet times, disbanded).
The second by number of art works is his House-Museum in Moscow. Beautiful exhibits are in the museums of the poet in Tarkhany in Penza region (he spent his childhood), in Pyatigorsk in the Stavropol region (the place of the travel, service and death) and the Taman Peninsula of Krasnodar Krai (“bad town”, immortalized in “a Hero of our time”).
And, what is important, the great Russian poets had a wonderful tradition – to serve memorial church services for departed brethren, taking care of their souls. Today this tradition also supports the House-Museum of M. Y. Lermontov in Moscow. In the Church of St. John the Warrior on Yakimanka prayer services are held for the deceased servant of God Michael.