MIKHAIL NESTEROV AND THE RUSSIAN RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHERS

Nicoletta Misler

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#2 2007 (15)

Among some of the most fascinating and prized items owned by the State Tretyakov Gallery is Mikhail Nesterov’s famous double portrait of the philosophers Pavel Florensky (1882-1937) and Sergei Bulgakov[1] (1871-1944). Painted in 1917 and showing the two men in Sergiev Posad, for many years “The Philosophers” was consigned to storage; yet now, once again, it forms part of the Tretyakov Gallery’s display as a vital element of Nesterov’s creative and spiritual development. Deacon Sergiy Trubachev’s important article[2], written to mark Florensky’s the 100th anniversary of Florensky’s birth and examining this very painting, focuses in particular on its spiritual merit. Deacon Trubachev’s study offered a convenient starting point for this article.

Created in 1917, the year of the Great October Revolution, Mikhail Nesterov's portrait was at the centre of a whole series of events occurring around, or in direct connection with it under the "hallowed arches” of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad. It can, indeed, be seen as something of silent witness, having observed the momentous upheavals of those times.

From the point of view of composition, the painting constitutes a double portrait in the Renaissance tradition. Two profiles are situated side by side, so close as to be almost overlapping. From the point of view of form, however, the work should be viewed as a single portrait, the figures indissolubly linked in an emblematic image.

Sergei Bulgakov wrote of the portrait: "As the artist saw it, this was to be not merely a portrait of two friends painted by a third, but, more significantly, a spiritual vision of an era. Both faces, for the artist, expressed the same realisation, but in different ways: if one showed terror, the other spoke of peace, joy, victorious overcoming. The artist himself initially experienced doubt as to the appropriateness of the first image, to the extent that he attempted to alter the portrait, substituting terror with idyll, and tragedy with equability. The falsity and utter impossibility of such a substitution becoming immediately apparent, the artist was forced to restore his initial vision. The image of Father Pavel, however, was immediately conveyed: artistically and spiritually evident, it required no further correction. Artistic clairvoyance had succeeded in portraying the two images of the Russian apocalypse, situated within and outside earthly being respectively: the one - in trouble and turmoil (which I was experiencing precisely on account of my friend's fate), the other contemplating the victorious end we now observe.”[3]

Bulgakov's apocalyptic interpretation is, perhaps, more appropriate for his own image than for that of Pavel Florensky: where Bulgakov is shown wrapped in a dark coat, his face expressing intense, if suppressed, inner conflict, Florensky appears in a snow-white cassock, head tilted slightly as he listens to his friend. Florensky's calm, humble acceptance of his own fate is stressed by his gesture, as he lays his hand on his chest. A gentle, meek figure, he nonetheless generates a sense of impending tragedy.

According to Bulgakov, Nesterov's portrait was begun one May evening in 1917, in Florensky's garden in Sergiev Posad. The light was fading into dusk, as the sun sank slowly to rest: the twilight hour, before the first evening star, was Pavel Florensky's favourite time of day. The rosy heavens in the background call to mind the feminine images evoked at dawn and sunset by Mikhail Lermontov, Vyacheslav Ivanov and other authors: in his essay "Celestial Signs” (Nebesnye Znameniya)[4], Florensky interpreted these female images as premonitions of Sophia, Divine Wisdom. The two philosophers are, perhaps, discussing Sophia as they sit, the topic holding special importance for both: that very year, Bulgakov wrote on this subject in his essay "The Unevening Light: Contemplations and Meditations” (Svet nevecherny. Sozertsaniya i umozreniya) (Put, Sergiev Posad, 1917).

Around that time, Sophia, Divine Wisdom was much discussed in religious circles. Outside the Church, she was often associated with the Beautiful Lady of symbolist writers and philosophers[5], drawing some unexpected comparisons. Insofar as Florensky's views are concerned, his essay "The Stratification of Aegean Culture” (Naplastovaniya egeiskoi kultury)[6], examines not the ethereal Sophia, the feminine spiritual archetype of the symbolists, but the solid Earth Mother of prehistoric matriarchy. "The Stratification of Aegean Culture” was published by the printing-house of Sergiev Posad Lavra[7] in the brochure "The First Steps of Philosophy” (Pervye shagi philosophii) simultaneously with Bulgakov's book, and with our portrait. "The First Steps of Philosophy” included a number of Florensky's earlier works; thus, the philosopher's decision to publish them in 1917 brings us back once more to the importance of the double portrait. By way of introduction to the booklet, Florensky offers a dedication to Bulgakov[8], which the portrait serves to illustrate. The dedication runs as follows:

"For Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov. My dear and deeply respected friend! I commenced the task of publishing this book precisely seven years ago... inasmuch as the book is concerned, these seven years have not been misspent: much has been re-examined, yet the main standpoint was not abandoned. My initial intention to dedicate this book to you has only grown stronger with time. Throughout these seven years, which have served as a good test of our friendship, my respect and love for your spiritual image have only deepened. To publish the entire book in the near future would be impossible; and yet it would pain me so to abandon the consecration with which it has become linked in my soul. So, please accept my most humble offering, not as a work worthy of your name, but simply as testimony to my lasting feelings for you. From the author. 4 May 1917. Sergiev Posad.”

In "The Stratification of Aegean Culture”, Florensky looks at archaeological and philosophical matters, exploring the importance in ancient cultures of feminine power and influence - the term "influence” possessing, for Florensky, a meaning somewhat different to that accepted today. In his study, he refers frequently to Jakob Bachofen's work on matriarchy[9], extremely popular at that time.

It is hardly surprising, then, that whilst working on his double portrait, Mikhail Nesterov also noticed the Mothers present during the process. The "mystery” of Motherhood was here sensed by Nesterov in two women: Olga Florenskaya, the philosopher's mother, and Anna Giatsintova, Florensky's wife and the mother of his five children. If, in Olga Florenskaya, Nesterov found "something which was hers only, something hidden... A secret thing she would yield to no one,” not even to her beloved son, of the philosopher's wife he said: "her entire being is in her smile. Whilst she smiles, everything can be said to be going well. No troubles or old age can bring harm, as long as she smiles.”[10]

Are these two details - the ancient Cora's eternal smile, and the inscrutable remoteness of the Earth Mother - not the two very poles of which Florensky spoke in his debate on femininity in ancient culture? Aphrodite and the stone "babas” (menhirs)?

The smile worn by the enigmatic statue of Cora at the centre of Lev Bakst's 'Terror Antiquus' (1908, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg) was referred to by Florensky in his argument that Cretan archaeological finds are a key element in the understanding of the roots of Ancient Greek culture, and the final link with the lost continent of Atlantis. Not for the first time, Florensky used the vision of a contemporary artist to illustrate his own thinking: "It is hardly surprising that the sinking of Atlantis proved a source of inspiration to one of Russia's most cultured artists, Lev Bakst, in his painting 'Terror Antiquus' - the most significant work, I feel, to have been produced over the last few years by our historical painters.”[11]

Florensky's preference is somewhat surprising. The philosopher, it seems, felt no overwhelming enthusiasm for the grand synthesis of Russian culture conveyed in his friend Mikhail Nesterov's painting "The Christians (In Rus. The Soul of the People)” (1914 - 1916, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow), although chronologically, and ideologically, this canvas was closely linked to the double portrait discussed above.

Nesterov's initial plans for "The Christians” were made around the time of Florensky's research into Cretan and Mycenean iconology. The fruit of the artist's work was a large painting, 'The Christians' (In Rus. The Soul of the People), whereas the philosopher's studies resulted in the brochure "The First Steps of Philosophy”. Around that time, Nesterov was in close contact with Vasily Rozanov. His meeting with Florensky occurred in the summer of 1916[12], as he was working on the final version of 'The Christians'. The Pavel Florensky Museum contains a note on this meeting[13], dated "10 May 1916” and written in Florensky's hand.

The concept behind "The Christians” had long been pondered by Nesterov, who produced a number of small works on this topic prior to the large canvas. Of this creative process, the artist wrote: "In early October [1914] I finally began to work on 'The Christians' in oils. I worked with enormous enthusiasm. I began with the landscape, and the Volga. This gives a good idea of our Russian life, and man with his soul. The plan for the painting was as follows: the Rus of believers, from holy fools [yurodivye] and idiots, patriarchs and tsars to Dostoyevsky, Lev Tolstoy, Vladimir Soloviev, through to our days, the war, with its soldiers blinded by suffocating gas and its sisters of mercy - in a word, the life of our land and people up until 1917 - advancing in a mighty stream in search of the living God. A surge of faith and great deeds, as well as delusions, passes before the face of Time. Before this living torrent walks a boy. Calm and quiet, he shows no hesitation. The only one to see God, he will reach Him before anyone else does. Such was the concept behind my painting, which I planned as early as 1905 or 1906, yet started only in 1914, working on a large, seven-arshin [five-metre] canvas.”[14]

By the summer of 1916, the painting was all but finished. The main value of the canvas was seen by Nesterov as philosophical, rather than artistic: the artist frequently discussed the painting with religious philosophers. When, in early 1917, the work was completed, Florensky and Bulgakov both came to visit the painter, who hoped, presumably, to be assured of their approval.[15]

On 18 January 1917, Nesterov wrote to Alexander Turygin: "Many wish to see the painting. I grudgingly show it to my fellow artists only. Three of four of them have now seen it, each expressing approval 'in his own way'. They all, however, concur that it is above everything I have produced in the last ten or twelve years... The 'religious philosophy' group has been, with Prof. Bulgakov, Father Pavel Florensky, Kozhevnikov and others.” [16]

In his subsequent lectures on the "Analysis of Spatiality”[17], Florensky devoted several pages to the study of Nesterov's painting. His strong approval was, of course, motivated not only by his friendship with the artist, but also, primarily, by the religious and national issues explored in the painting, which lay close to his heart. Having expressed his approval of the general concept, however, towards the end of his study Florensky suggests that there is no real connection between time and space in the painting: "Time plays with these three-dimensional images, rather than being a part thereof. Many such works exist - they are often created when the artist wishes to convey something large and complex, yet perceives this thing mainly through analogy, lacking, as it were, any real idea of the thing. Such is, for instance, Mikhail Nesterov's "Soul of the People”.[18] In this work, the "joints” between images from different temporal coordinates have to some extent been erased, yet they remain visible: the group is united in a common action, yet the individual figures are not directly connected, through subject matter or painting technique. The space of the canvas falls apart, disintegrating into several distinct areas, which are very loosely interconnected. This disintegration does not correspond to the concept of the painting, and can hardly be justified.”[19]

In Nesterov's painting, Florensky does not find the kind of synthesis he notes, for instance, in the grand medieval murals of the Dormition Cathedral in the Trinity Lavra. Of these, he writes: "the church indeed resounds with continuous music - a rhythmic beating of invisible wings, which fills the entire space. Alone in such a church, one is objectively forced to hear the sound of its murals, this sacred sound which lies outside perception. It then becomes clear beyond any doubt that this sound is not imagined by us, but emanates from the images, taken together. The entire church pulsates with the rhythm of time.” [20]

Florensky's guarded criticism of "In Rus” found expression not only in his "Lectures on Spatiality and Time in Works of Art”, given at VKHUTEMAS, The Higher Art and Technical Workshops, between 1921 and 1923. As his sharp comments on the neo-Russian murals of the "odd-looking Cathedral of St. Vladimir in Kiev”[21], show, the philosopher had reservations concerning the neo-Russian style of art as a whole. Primarily directed at Wilhelm (Vasily) Kotarbinsky (1849-1921), these comments were also intended for Viktor Vasnetsov[22] - thus, Nesterov, who had worked with both, was also indirectly involved.

In similarly independent spirit, however, Florensky also wrote of those works which he considered to be examples of successful space-time synthesis. Through the powerful use of symbols, he claimed, these captured the spirit of their time. His preferences are, at times, most unexpected: in the "Analysis of Spatiality”, for instance, he contrasts Nesterov's "In Rus” with Jean-Antoine Watteau's elegant, frivolous "Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythera” (1717, Louvre Museum, Paris), holding the latter up as an ideal model of space-time synthesis.[23] Similarly, in 1908 he accepted the vague, esoteric content of "Terror Antiquus” by the decadent Bakst, finding in this painting the symbolic ancient synthesis of which he had written in his "Stratification of Aegean Culture”, using both classical and symbolist sources as examples. Interestingly enough, the completion of Bakst's painting coincided with the beginning of Florensky's series of lectures on ancient philosophy.

Naturally, Florensky's view of realism could not accommodate the pompous images of socialist victories. Neither, however, could it sit with Nesterov's praise of Orthodoxy, sung as it was with the artist's particular brand of naturalism. In his article "To the Honoured "Makovets”[24], Florensky voiced his reservations about "stylisers”, making the distinction between his own view of realism, and that propounded by the "stylisers” of neo-Russian art, Dmitry Stelletsky (1875-1947) in particular. At the same time, a number of factors exist which might have prompted Florensky to regard Stelletsky in a favourable light. Not only did this artist attempt to use the Russian icon form in his paintings, but he was also a close associate of Vladimir Komarovsky (1883-1937) and, most importantly, of Yury Olsufiev (18781939). In constant contact with both as an artist and as a friend, Stelletsky knew Olsufiev, and worked with him, before the latter's emigration to Paris in 1913.[25] There exists, indeed, a portrait of Yury Olsufiev's son in medieval dress, painted by Stelletsky.

Florensky knew and loved both Komarovsky and Olsufiev, holding the artists in the greatest esteem. Vladimir Komarovsky created several portraits of the philosopher, using the synthetic language of icons in an innovative way: today, these can be viewed in the Pavel Florensky Museum. Yury Olsufiev, like Florensky, was a member of the "Committee for the preservation of ancient monuments and works of art” of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius.[26]

Naturally, its very name - "The Philosophers” - burdens our portrait with a certain "baggage” from the very outset: the same is also true of Nesterov's later portrait of Ivan Ilyin (1882-1954), which bears the title "The Thinker” (1921-1922). These works can justly be seen as the conclusion of an entire cycle of symbolist portraits of prerevolutionary Russian cultural figures.

Nesterov, it seems, felt the same way: even before the portrait of Ilyin was created, he wrote to Alexander Zhirkevich: "I have three portraits at the moment - of Lev Tolstoy, Metropolitan Antony and the Professors - the best and most gifted philosophers, our theologians - Father Pavel Florensky (the author of the book 'The Pillar and Ground of the Truth') and Sergei Bulgakov. All three portraits complement each other in the area of religious quest, thoughts and deeds.”[27]

Of all the portraits from this cycle, the most convincing is the double image of Sergei Bulgakov and Pavel Florensky. There is an element of illustration in this work, Nesterov having decided to place a view of Abramtsevo in the background. The Abramtsevo landscape was seen by Florensky as the main element in the spiritual structure of the Lavra's grounds.[28] The philosophers' special connection with Abramtsevo was further reinforced, when on 26 July 1916 Alexandra Mamontova, guardian of Abramtsevo and daughter of Savva Mamontov, founder of the Abramtsevo Art Circle, brought Nesterov to Florensky to discuss the future portrait.[29]

There were, indeed, many factors which prompted Nesterov's decision to substitute the real view behind the two philosophers - that of Florensky's garden - with the hills of Abramtsevo. Nesterov spent the summer of 1917 in Abramtsevo, and wished to stress the emotional and symbolic importance of this spot both for himself, and for his two friends. A peaceful retreat, where nature and culture could both be enjoyed, Abramtsevo could also serve as a safe haven, should disaster strike.

On 30 July 1917, a prophetic year, Pavel Florensky wrote to Alexandra Mamontova: "Naturally, that which is happening around us is, for us, extremely painful. I believe and hope, however, that nihilism will outlive itself and appear in all its baseness - that everyone will tire of it and begin to hate it. Then, after this abomination has failed, hearts and minds will turn once more to the Russian ideal, to the idea of Russia, to holy Rus - not cautiously and half-heartedly, as before, but out of real hunger.”[30] At the same time, Florensky was convinced that there were difficult times ahead: "I am certain that the worst lies ahead, not behind us.”[31]

His letter to Nesterov, penned in June 1920, also betrays despair: "...in between your letter, and that which we have here, there are several psychological decades.”[32] Four years after Nesterov created his double portrait, Florensky began to notice certain changes in its hues. In a letter to his wife, with typical sensitivity of observation he expresses anxiety and concern: "Against the background view, certain of the hues have begun to change, affected by time. Something like a greenish halo has appeared around S.N.B.'s [Bulgakov's] head, where it is particularly strong; it is visible around my head also, but weaker. The shining around SNB is so intense as to attract attention - M.V [Nesterov] will have to paint it over. It made M.V. quite anxious at first - he feared that something might have happened to S.N. in the Crimea.”[33]

With his natural perceptiveness, Florensky could not fail to understand that the new regime disapproved both of him, and of his portrait. Nesterov, however, was naively optimistic. Expecting his double portrait to be purchased by the Tretyakov Gallery, in 1927 he submitted the work for approval by a committee headed by his friend, the architect Alexei Shchusev. [34]

The portrait was finally purchased by the Tretyakov Gallery in 1964. Over thirty years after Nesterov's initial offer, "The Philosophers” was acquired from the artist's daughter, Natalia Nesterova: thus, the idea and its proponents were finally rehabilitated. Nesterov's "The Christians (In Rus.The Soul of the People)” (1914-1916) was acquired by the Tretyakov Gallery in 1958, and "The Thinker” (1921-1922) joined the State Russian Museum collection in 1963.

Today, as the personality and ideas of Pavel Florensky continue to arouse growing Russian and international interest, this beautiful portrait is not merely a prized piece in the State Tretyakov Gallery, but also a witness - and a reflection - of an entire era.

 

  1. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov (1871-1944) - priest, philosopher and economist. Ordained in 1918, Bulgakov was exiled from Russia in 1922. Moving to Prague, then to Paris, he was one of the few Russian intellectuals who maintained contact with Florensky after emigrating. A broad overview of his philosophy is given in Catherine Evtuhov, "The Cross and the Sickle, Sergei Bulgakov and the Fate of Russian Religious Philosophy”, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1997. Bulgakov's thoughts on Sophia, Divine Wisdom can be found in Sergei Bulgakov, "Sophia, the Wisdom of God: An Outline of Sophiology”, revised edition, Hudson, New York, Lindisfarne Press, 1993 (La Sagesse de Dieu Resume de Sophiologie), ed. C. Andronikof, L'Age d'Homme, Lausanne, 1983.
  2. Deacon Sergiy Trubachev, "Pavel Florensky and Mikhail Nesterov” (PAFlorensky i M.V Nesterov), in "Selected Articles and Studies” (Izbrannoye. Statyi i issledovaniya), Progress-Pleiada, Moscow, 2005, pp. 345-359. The minutes from the conference held in the Abramtsevo Museum appear in "Abramtsevo. Documents and Studies” (Abramtsevo. Materialy i issledovaniya), no. 6, Sergiev Posad, 1994, pp. 12-20.
  3. Fr. Sergiy Bulgakov, "Father Pavel Florensky” (Sviashchennik Pavel Florensky), in "Slovo”, 1989, no. 12, p. 29.
  4. Pavel Florensky, "Celestial Signs. On the Symbolism of Colours: a Meditation" (Nebesniye znameniya. K simvolike tsvetov (meditatsiya). In Fr. Pavel Florensky, "Works" (Sochineniya) in 4 vols. Moscow, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 414 - 418.
  5. Florensky was well acquainted with this debate through his close contacts with the symbolists at that time. Ample material on this topic can be found in Ye. Ivanov (ed.), "Pavel Florensky and the Symbolists. Literary Experiments, Articles and Correspondence" (Pavel Florensky i simvolisty. Literaturniye opyty, statyi, perepiska), Yazyki Slavianskoi Kultury, Moscow, 2004.
  6. See Pavel Florensky's essay "The Stratification of Aegean Culture" (Naplastovaniya egeiskoi kultury) in Fr. Pavel Florensky, "Works" (Sochineniya) in 4 vols. Moscow, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 91 - 130.
  7. Published under the single title "The First Steps of Philosophy" (Perviye shagi philosophii), the three texts - "The Stratification of Aegean Culture" (Naplastovaniya egeiskoi kultury), "Lecture and Lectio" (Lektsiya i Lectio) (in lieu of introduction to the lecture course) and "The Forefathers of Philosophy" (Prashchury liubomudriya) - were part of a series of lectures on ancient philosophy, given at Moscow's Academy of Theology between 1908 and 1918. Hegumen Andronik (Alexander Trubachev), "Father Pavel Florensky - Professor of the Moscow Ecclesiastical Academy" in the anthology "Theological Works" (Bogoslovskiye trudy), Moscow Ecclesiastical Academy, 300 years (1685 - 1985). Moscow, 1986, pp. 226 - 232.
  8. Bulgakov's first meeting with Florensky most probably occurred in 1906: his first letter to the philosopher is dated that year. This letter can now be seen in the Pavel Florensky Museum, Moscow.
  9. Johann Jakob Bachofen, "Myth, Religion, and Mother Right: Selected Writings of J.J. Bachofen", translated from the German by Ralph Manheim. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1967 (Das Mutterrecht. Eine Untersuchung Liber die Gynoikratie der Alten Welt und ihrer religiOsen und rechtlichen Natur), Krais und Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1861.
  10. Quoted from Trubachev, "Pavel Florensky and Mikhail Nesterov", pp. 355 - 356.
  11. Pavel Florensky, "The Forefathers of Philosophy" (Prashchury liubomudriya). In Fr. Pavel Florensky, "Works" in 4 vols. Moscow, 1996, vol. 2, p. 84.
  12. Mikhail Nesterov, "Letters" (Pisma). Leningrad, 1988.
  13. Deacon Sergiy Trubachev, "Pavel Florensky and Mikhail Nesterov", p. 350.
  14. Mikhail Nesterov, "Memoirs" (Vospominaniya). Moscow, 1985, p. 334.
  15. On Nesterov and Florensky's friendship, see Trubachev, "Pavel Florensky and Mikhail Nesterov”. The Florensky family archive contains six letters from Mikhail Nesterov to Pavel Florensky, written between 1916 and 1923.
  16. Mikhail Nesterov, "Letters” (Pisma). Leningrad, 1988, p. 258.
  17. Pavel Florensky, "An Analysis of Spatiality” (Analiz prostranstvennosti). In "Collected Works. Articles and Studies on the History and Philosophy of Art and Archaeology” (Sobraniye sochineniy. Statyi i issledovaniya po istorii i philosophii iskusstva i arkheologii). Moscow, 2000, pp. 229 - 232.
  18. Ibid, p. 229
  19. Ibid, p. 232.
  20. Ibid, p. 227.
  21. Ibid, p. 228.
  22. Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926) worked on the murals for the Cathedral of St. Vladimir between 1885 and 1896, coordinating the work of his fellow artists. One of these artists was Wilhelm Kotarbinsky, a typical representative of the Russian "pompier” style of the second half of the 19th century. The murals inside the cathedral were largely painted by lesser known artists, although several famous painters, like Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel, also took part.
  23. Pavel Florensky, "An Analysis of Spatiality” (Analiz prostranstvennosti), p. 232.
  24. Pavel Florensky, "To the Honoured "Makovets” (Letter to N.N.Bariutin)” (V dostokhvalny "Makovets” (pismo N.N.Bariutinu). In Fr Pavel Florensky, "Works” in 4 vols. Moscow, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 628 - 629.
  25. For a history of the friendship between Olsufiev, Neradovsky, Komarovsky and Stelletsky, see Yury Olsufiev, "On the Recent Past of One Estate: Buetsky Dom as We Left It on 5 March 1917” (Iz nedavnego proshlogo odnoi usadby Buetski dom, kakim my ostavili ego 5 marta 1917 goda). In Olsufiev's memoirs, edited by Gerold Vzdornov, in "Nashe Naslediye” nos. 29/30, 1994, pp. 91 - 131 and no. 31, 1994, pp. 97 - 123.
  26. M.S.Trubacheva, "The Committee for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments and Works of Art of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, 1918-1925” (Komissiya po okhrane pamiatnikov stariny i iskusstva Troitse-Sergievoi lavry, 1918-1925) in "Muzei” no. 5, 1984, pp. 152 - 164. See also Gerold Vzdornov, "Restoration and Science” (Restavratsiya i nauka), Moscow, 2006.
  27. Mikhail Nesterov, "I Continue to Believe in the Triumph of Russian Ideals” (Prodolzhayu verit v torzhestvo russkikh idealov): Letters to Alexander Zhirkevich, "Nashe Naslediye”, no. 3, 1990, p. 22.
  28. See the Trinity of St. Sergius Lavra collected material for 1919, Sergiev Posad, and, most importantly, the "Projects" for the preservation of the grounds developed by Pavel Florensky and Pavel Kapterev for the "Committee for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments and Works of Art of the Trinity Lavra of St.Sergius". See also M.S. Trubacheva, "The Committee for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments and Works of Art of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, 1918-1925" (Komissiya po okhrane pamiatnikov stariny i iskusstva Troitse-Sergievoi lavry, 1918-1925).
  29. The fact of this meeting is confirmed in Trubachev's "Pavel Florensky and Mikhail Nesterov", p. 349. See also Nesterov's letter to Vasily Rozanov of 28 April 1916 in Mikhail Nesterov, "Letters" (Pisma), Leningrad, 1988, p. 268.
  30. Pavel Florensky: "Letter to Alexandra Mamontova" (Pismo A.S.Mamontovoi). In Fr. Pavel Florensky, "Works" in 4 vols. Moscow, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 409-410.
  31. Ibid, p. 409.
  32. From Florensky's letter to Mikhail Nesterov of 1 June 1920, Sergiev Posad. Quoted from Trubachev, "Pavel Florensky and Mikhail Nesterov", p. 357.
  33. From Florensky's letter to Anna Florenskaya of 18 September 1921, Moscow. Quoted from Trubachev, "Pavel Florensky and Mikhail Nesterov", p. 358.
  34. Mikhail Nesterov, "Letters" (Pisma). Leningrad, 1988, p. 325.

Illustrations

Mikhail NESTEROV. The Philosophers. 1917
Mikhail NESTEROV. The Philosophers. 1917
Oil on canvas. 123 by 125 cm. State Tretyakov Gallery
Mikhail NESTEROV. In Rus (The Soul of the People). 1914–1916
Mikhail NESTEROV. In Rus (The Soul of the People). 1914–1916
Oil on canvas. 204.6 by 483.5 cm. State Tretyakov Gallery
Lev BAKST. Terror Antiquus. 1908
Lev BAKST. Terror Antiquus. 1908
Oil on canvas. 250 by 270 cm. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Vladimir KOMAROVSKY. Portrait of Pavel Florensky. 1924
Vladimir KOMAROVSKY. Portrait of Pavel Florensky. 1924
Oil on canvas. 70 by 62 cm. The Pavel Florensky Museum, Moscow
Photo. Sergei Bulgakov, May 29 1916, Moscow
Photo. Sergei Bulgakov, May 29 1916, Moscow
The Pavel Florensky Museum, Moscow
Mikhail NESTEROV. The Christians (In Rus. The Soul of the People). 1914. A Study
Mikhail NESTEROV. The Christians (In Rus. The Soul of the People). 1914
A Study. Gouache on paper mounted on cardboard, 39.7 by 92.4 cm. State Tretyakov Gallery
Mikhail NESTEROV. The Christians. A Study. A variant of “The Christians (In Rus. The Soul of the People)”. 1914–1916
Mikhail NESTEROV. The Christians. A Study. A variant of “The Christians (In Rus. The Soul of the People)”, 1914–1916
Tempera, pencil on paper. 20 by 43 cm. State Tretyakov Gallery

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