In 2018 in Russia will be held a major exhibition of R. M. Rilke

Press-conference of Rilke exhibition 2018 at German ambassador estate

In February of 2018 at New Manege hall in Moscow will be held an exhibition dedicated to the Austrian poet of the turn of XIX-XX centuries Rainer Maria Rilke. This was announced on 17 November 2016 at the evening dedicated to R. M. Rilke at the residence of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Rudiger Freiherr von Fritch.

Rainer (René) Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was an Austrian poet, philosopher, a native of Prague. His friend writer Lou Andreas-Salomé, the Russian of German origin, turned him to Russian language and culture. Rilke arrived in Russia with her and her husband in 1899, where he met writer Leo Tolstoy, painters I. Repin and Leonid Pasternak. In 1900 he comes here for a second time, he continued the acquaintance with Tolstoy and met the writer S. Drozhzhin. Later Rilke entered into correspondence with Marina Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak. The main work about Russia is “Horologion” 1905. In addition, the poet translated Russian authors: “the Word about Igor’s regiment”, S. Drozhzhin, and so on.

Honoring of R. M. Rilke, the poet being singer of the spiritual world, and seeker of God is always actual, especially if we are talking about losing the spirituality in our time. This light image is also a symbol of friendship between Russians and Germans. This encourageв the German Embassy to support the project. “Rilke’s Love to Russia is one of aspects that made us love him in Germany,” said Dr. von Frisch. “I would like to say that this was the kind of person who had contributed to the cooperation between our countries… He serves as a kind of appeal to hear each other, to understand each other,” he said. The German Ambassador himself is a great admirer of R. M. Rilke, and once he nearly became a professional researcher.

A portrait of A.S. Pushkin, sculptor I.P. Vitali

Rilke found in Russia a spiritual homeland. He believed that people of Russia is chosen by God, and that we are God – bearing people. “Rilke endured the icons in his poetry,” – said about him curated by the German Literature Archive, Dr T. Schmidt (Dr. ThomasSchmidt). This was the watershed between him and Leo Tolstoy, as well as other people who do not share the passionate love of the poet for the Russian people. In response, famous Russian writer was removed from the second part of the novel, which was conceived firstly with the end of a walk with Tolstoy at Yasnaya Polyana – his estate.

The exhibition project “Rilke and Russia” was created by the German Embassy in cooperation with the Russian State Literary Museum. It implies the participation not only of Russia and Germany, but also Switzerland. On 03 may 2016 exhibition will be opened in Marbach (Germany), then it will move to Zurich and Bern (Switzerland), and then in February of 2018 it will arrive in Russia, where it will be held at the New Manege.

A portrait of A.S. Pushkin, sculptor I.P. Vitali

Center of the exhibition is archival documents about the two visits of the poet in Russia. “We can say that the journey of Rilke to Russia is a special event, like a journey of Goethe in Italy,” described the subject of the exhibition Dmitry Bak, Director of State Literary Museum. According to him, “this project is of cultural and political value, it shows the unity and continuity of European culture, how we are inseparable with Germany and Italy”.

20 museums will present the show of 280 exhibits. Archive of R. M. Rilke is the only archive, which is entirely in private hands of his descendants. Perhaps at the Russian exhibition will be possible to use the Fund #690 stored in the St. Petersburg library, in which it came in 1945.

The event will also serve as a reminder to a wide range of Russians about Rilke, and the Germans – about his Russian correspondents, which are known in Germany in varying degrees.

  1. M. Rilke, according to D. Bak, today is loved in Russia: “In Russia there is a lot of well-known poets of the XX century: Stephen Spender, and many others – I could go on… but Rilke is absolutely topical poet. I gathered together all the books of Rilke, which I have. There are 21 volumes, which means numerous editions and translations of his creations. Even apart from Tsvetaeva and Pasternak, Rilke is a foreign poet No. 1”.

Russian friends of the poet are known in varying degrees. As told Dr. von Fritch, answering the question of “E Vesti”: “as for Tolstoy, he is one of the most popular foreign writers, not only in Germany but worldwide. In Germany he’s one of those Russian authors whom people enjoy reading. As for M. Tsvetaeva and other poets, it is difficult to translate them, so they are less known outside their country. In addition, Tsvetaeva’s own special, secret language is especially hard to translate. Although recently a very nice bilingual edition of works by Tsvetaeva was published. And what else contributes to her popularity is the fact that she spoke very good German. She spent a certain time in Freiburg, and people love her there. In the focus of our conversations we will devote the evening to Tsvetaeva”.

A. Alexandrova, K. Asadovsky and Dr. T. SchmidtA. Alexandrova, K. Asadovsky and Dr. T. Schmidt

During the exhibition, each country will present own research project devoted to the work of R. M. Rilke: Switzerland will make essay-translation of Marina Tsvetaeva, the German Literary archive in Marbach will unveil photos of the places visited by Rilke and Russia’s Anastassia Alexandrova (State Literary Museum) will show a film about Rilke. Considering the endearing personality of R. M. Rilke, whose charm affects everyone enters in contact with his writings, research projects must be special, spiritual. As told the Russian curator A. Alexandrov: “We initially agreed not to idealize Russia, as did Rilke, but, once following his route in Easter week we were fascinated…”.

Sources: State Literary Museum

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