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Vasily, Andrey and Anton

Updated: Aug 15, 2018

" Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."

Anton Chekhov

|||Blog post no.3

Calm and ready

Time spent in #PolenovoAIRprogram - 3 weeks.|||

The painter who was an architect.

The philosopher who was an agriculturist.

And the writer who was a doctor.

In my time here, I've visited the homes of three important men of russian culture.

Polenov. Bolotov. Chekhov.

I'm not going to tell you about the importance of their work. Or how magnificent they were. All that you can read on Wiki pages.

I'll tell you the impression you get from entering their homes. A private impression.

I'll start with Bolotov.

Andrey Bolotov was such a strange guy! Introverted, writing memoirs like crazy, and absolutely in love with plants and agriculture. (the museum have an impressive collection of plants he dried up in books) They say he was the Russian Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

By looking at his study you can see he does research almost religiously. And beyond that- an inventor! But not like those who wish to do good for people... like those who are so into what they do, that somehow it comes out right for others to enjoy the fruits of success. But for him- all in the sake of discovery.

At the house-museum you can also buy some jam, made from the special plants that grow in the Bolotov garden.

Bolotov Polenov
Natalya Polenova & I at Bolotov's house

Fun facts:

*Bolotov was a close friend of Catherine the great and was in charge of the upbringing of her special beloved bastard son called Bobrinsky (one of many bastards).

*The potato was introduced to Russia by Bolotov himself.

So, When you eat Potatoes, Think of Andrey.

up here - Bolotov house pics

Anton Chekhov the one and only.

The guy we all just love to love. I spent a few good hours in that manner, hearing endlessly about Anton's family, Anton's achievements, Anton's Dachshunds and so on.

Bottom line- Anton Chekhov was a super cute guy, extra talented. A doctor first and a writer second.

Tall, sensitive, smart, FUNNY, beautiful, perfect.

He was the only provider for his family (Sister, parents and 3 brothers), and all of the money came from writing. And a lot of it.

Anton was also a great giver. People would ask him for money to educate their children and he just gave it, no questions asked. On top of all that, he and his sister built a school together. With an apartment for the teachers so they wouldn't have to travel so much.

It seems like this whole village- Malikhovo owes a lot to the Chekhov family.

Anton Chekhov's photo in a weird box display

Fun facts:

*Tolstoy wrote to Chekhov - Please never write any more Plays. Shakespeare was much better. Anton's reaction: Tolstoy put me and Shakespeare in the same sentence! I'm flattered!

*Tchaikovsky adored Chekhov and Chekhov Loved Tchaikowsky. Anton had on his desk a signed and dedicated photo of tchaikowsky he sent to him himself.

*Chekhov was unbelievably in love with his Dachshunds. So in love he had statues of them made and put in the garden.

up here - Chekhov's house pics

Vasily Polenov was a great visionaire. He dreamt of a place for his family, somewhere in the countryside... and he built it!

He wanted to give culture to the peasants and the poor, he gave it!

But beyond that... I think he really liked design more that anything. You can really see it in his Art Nouveau architectural work on the church, and The perfect studio he built for himself. Which by the way, also acts as a theater when needed. He was in general a grandiose kind of guy and at the same time very humble. Vasily made all of his family work hard in order to succeed, to grow.

Polenov Church
Church Designed and built by Vasily Polenov

Polenov Abbey
The studio | The Abbey

When thinking about it, and after having oh so many conversations about Polenov with Natalya and others here at Polenovo's, He built everything around him and his own work. Apparently not because of a self adoration, but because of a strong and charismatic personality and the aime to keep working hard, learning as much as possible and great creativity.

Vasily was a true realist. Believer of Jesus, the dude. That is also the way he described him in his paintings. Just a simple mediterranean man. He traveled twice to the middle east and Israel to see for himself how the places where Jesus walked actually looked.

He was a highly spiritual man and he passed it on to his whole family.

Another super cool point: There was no difference to him in matter of education and importance between men and women. A liberal mind. All of the women in his family got the same possibility for education as the men.

window at Polenov's big house museum

Fun facts:

*Vasily built the church, but never practiced. He never went to any ceremonies or Mass.

*After the revolution in 1917, Vasily managed to keep his family and the museum running at his estate even though it was completely liquidated by the government.

*He actually always wanted to be a musician.

*He was a vegetarian

This HUGE bookcase stands on six glass spheres
glass spheres


That's it for now. Another post will probably be coming right up because I haven't even started describing this weird and amazing time i'm spending here.

Tonight I'm going back home to Tel-Aviv for a few days. Participating in #FreshPaintArtFair

But worry not! be back here in Polenov for two more great months to work on the projects ahead!

See you soon

Here, There or anywhere


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