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Discover a World of Art at Abramtsevo

Situated about 70 kilometers north east of Moscow, Russia, in the proximity of Khotkovo, the estate of Abramtsevo served as a center for artistic activity and the Slavophile movement in the 19th century. The Slavophiles were members of a 19th century intellectual movement that advocated the policy of developing the Russian Empire based on values derived from Russia’s early history, particularly rooting out any influences of Western European culture.

Abramtsevo was originally owned by Russian author Sergei Aksakov who often offered hospitality to fellow writers and artists where they would spend time discussing ways of purging Western influences from Russian art to re-establish a distinctive national style. Eleven years after Aksakov’s death in 1870, wealthy industrialist and patron of the arts, Savva Mamontov, bought Abramtsevo. Russian themes and folk art thrived at Abramtsevo during the 1870s and 1880s as several workshops were established to produce traditional handmade ceramics, furniture and silks. Abramtsevo became the nucleus of the country’s modern art movement with some of Russia’s most famous artists visiting the estate to paint and assist in the construction and decoration of various buildings including the establishing of the Museum of Folk Art.

Currently the estate of Abramtsevo is home to a number of museums that display unique artworks. Visitors can stroll along the tree-lined pathways that lead to the various museums, possibly passing an artist or two that are capturing onto canvas the beauty of the shaded forest areas and the well preserved ancient buildings. The Folk Art Museum is a good reflection of what the originators were trying to achieve – elevating traditional handcrafts to the level of art. The main house is well maintained with the plain gray and white exterior contrasting with the beautifully ornate interior, reflecting the personalities of its former owners. This remarkable house was the inspiration and setting for Anton Chekhov’s play, “The Cherry Orchard”.

Across from the main house there is a large white structure containing a permanent exhibition of modernist paintings by Soviet era artists including Robert Falk and Aristakh Lentulov. Also on the estate is the Church of the Savior which was designed and built, complete with icons and traditional Russian stove, by renowned artists Ilya Repin, Vasily Polonev, Mikhail Nesterov, Mikhail Vrubel and the Vasnetsov brothers.

When you travel to Russia, why not take some time out to explore the historical estate of Abramtsevo – the place that continues to be a source of artistic inspiration to many.


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