Сайт Сергея Глушкова

Kuskovo. Winter

Kuskovo. Winter
Размер: 37х110, 1997 г.
Техника: Холст - масло

For the first time Kuskovo has been mentioned in the chronicles of the XVI century already as an ownership of Sherementyevs, whose family was one of the noblest in Russia. The first domestic church made of wood is known since 1624, also in this place there were the courtyard of the boyars, the garden and the rural settlement.

The changes in the cultural life of the manorial estates of the nobility have begun to appear at the turn of the XVII and XVIII centuries in connection with the process of the «obmirtshenie» (liberation of the mentality from the church influence) and the formation of the «new» secular culture, when came into existence the interest in the new scientific knowledge, literature and art, which was reflected in the perception of the world by Russian man. The intensification of the contacts with the European countries and the impressions of the voyages caused, first of all, the change of the mode of life of the higher nobility, and developed into its passion for «rarities» and «amazing tricks».

Already in the last third of the XVII century the rich landowners, following the order arranged in the summer residence of the tsar Alexei Mikhailovich in Izmaylovo, have begun to remake their country residences adjusting them «dla priyezdu» (for short visits) and «dla prokhlady» (for refreshing) – they planted the Dutch gardens, erected the mansions having the fanciful architecture and built the stone temples.

In 1697-1699 years Boris Petrovich Sheremetyev, the first Russian count, together with Ioann Pashkovsky, while carrying out the diplomatic task of Peter I, has made a voyage to the Western Europe, where he had an audience by Roman Pope, from whom he has obtained as a present the golden cross with the particle of the Tree of the Life-giving Cross of our Lord. This relic according to the testament has passed to his son, count Peter Borisovich Sheremetyev. In the honor of this relic has been founded the temple (1) dedicated to the Origin of the Honored Tree of the Life-giving Cross of our Lord. It is the former domestic church of the family Sheremetyevs, also known as Church of the Most Merciful Saviour (1737-1739 years). (2) The bell tower has been added to the temple later, in 1792, by the architects A.F. Mironov and G.E. Dikushin. The facades and the roof of the church were richly decorated with the sculpture, which made it resemble a park pavilion. The church itself wasn't reconstructed and has reached our times in its original state. It is considered one of the rare Moscow architectural monuments in the style of the «Annensky baroque», it means in the baroque of the epoch of Anna Ioannovna. Unfortunately, the sculpture has disappeared during the restoration of the building in the XIX century. In the 1812 the French robbed the house and the church. With the construction of this temple on the site of the decrepit wooden church the count Pyotr Sheremetyev has begun the reconstruction of his family manorial estate. To the right of the temple one can see (4) the Kitchen wing (also the «Pink wing», 1755-1756, architect F.S. Argunov, was rebuilt in 1780 years). In order to prevent the fire the kitchen was located in the separate building. Now here there is the funds depository of the museum. Right way behind it (5) sushilo and karetnik (drying and coach houses) (second half of the XIX century).

According to the legend this territory has obtained its name from a word «piece» (in Russian «kusok») as count Boris Petrovich Sheremetyev used to call his family ownership – a little plot of the ground. All the area around the neighbouring and distant settlements and villages surrounding Kuskovo belonged to the prince A.M. Cherkassky. When the count Pyotr Borisovich, the son of Boris Petrovich Sheremetyev, married the richest bride of Russia, the only daughter of prince Cherkassky, all his manors – Perovo, Tetyorki, Veshnyaki and Ostankino – have passed to the family of Sheremetyevs. Besides it the princess Cherkassky has brought as a dowry to her husband more than 80 000 peasants. The young countess has spent her childhood in Veshniaki (two versts to the south of Kuskovo) and liked that place very much. She didn't want to leave her motherland and the young count has fulfilled the wish of his spouse. On that piece «kusok», which initially belonged to his family, he undertakes a large-scale construction works, creating a unique manorial estate in the vein of the parks of the imperial Court near Saint Petersburg. Since then begins the bloom of the estate.

In 1750—1770 years in Kuskovo has been made a vast manorial estate with many «amusements and entertainments», with big park and ponds. The creation of this outstanding ensemble is tightly connected with the names of the serf architects Fyodor Argunov and Alexei Mironov. In the ownership of Sheremetyevs Kuskovo remained more than 300 years, up to 1917 – rather rare situation in the history of the nobility estates.

The architectural complex has been created in the baroque-rocaille style of the middle of the XVIII century. (3) Palace – is the main building in the country residence of the count Pyotr Borisovich Sheremetyev in Kuskovo. The palace was called in the XVIII century «Big house» and was built in 1769-1775 years on the site of the former two-storeyed building of the 1740 years. Built of the wood in the style of early Russian classicism it has two storeys – the parade one and the entresol. On the high stone socle were located the wine cellars and utility rooms. The palace has been destined for the solemn reception of the guests in summer. Initially the project of the palace has been ordered to the French architect Charles De Wailly, but the technical drawings from Paris have arrived too late, therefore the construction has been entrusted to Moscow architect Karl Ivanovich Blank. Then to the construction have been added some details according to the drawings of De Wailly. The layout of the palace corresponds to the disposition of the interiors as the suite of the rooms as it was then in fashion. The Palace has about 20 different chambers. In one chamber the walls have been made of Venetian glasses cast in one piece, in other - have been decorated with the malachite, in the third – upholstered in precious Gobelin tapestries, in the fourth we can see the artistic painting of the ceiling and walls. Everywhere there were the ancient bronzes, statues, porcelain, vases of jasper. There were also a big picture gallery, a huge library and the armory, in which there was the rare collection of the ancient and new arms and, by the way, the saddle of Karl (Charles) XII, which together with his horse was the trophy of count Boris Petrovich Sheremetyev. The gently sloping ramps designed so that the coaches with the noble guests could arrive straightly to the entrance of the palace were decorated with the figures of the Sphinxes made by the sculptor I. Just. The façade of the palace is decorated with three porticoes with the columns, the central one is the biggest and the most solemn, the gable of which is filled with the luxurious wood carving around the family monogram «PS» under the count's crown. The lateral porticoes with the semicircular gables are decorated with the carving of the military attributes. The suites of the halls consisted of Salons, the Hall for card plays, the Hall for billiards, Dining Room, the Parade Hall, the Everyday Bedroom, the Library and so on. The enormous glasses completely covered the wall of the White Dance Hall – the main hall of the palace. Another wall looked on the garden.

The big (Picturesque) pond in front of the palace, on which bank was situated the building has been dug in 1751-1755 years. In the middle of it there was an island and abundance of fish was such that in one time were netted with the seine two thousand of crucian carps. Beside this pond in the territory of the manorial estate have been dug 17 ponds and in them the precious sorts of fish were bred. The organization of the ponds has allowed to drain the swampy area. The count had his own fleet for his pleasure, which consisted of the golden yacht with 6 cannons for the fireworks, the Chinese vessels, the Italian gondolas and Turkish canoes. On the island were organized the picnics. Along the banks of the pond have been disposed the places for retirement – the romantic ruins and the fishers' huts. In that times any average citizen with rather mean income could take his girl for a ride in Kuskovo and there organize a picnic, see a theatrical spectacle or fish. The house-serfs of Sheremetyevs gave to the visitors the fishing rods for the crucian carps free of charge lest they would take the rods from Moscow.

Kuskovo has been conceived not as the practical household but as the place «for pleasure and amusement», where everything is destined for «the pleasant pastime»: and the palace and the park and the park pavilions had a reputation of «Moscow Versailles». Kuskovo was even called in such a manner - «summer pleasure and amusement house of the count Pyotr Borisovich Sheremetyev». All the festivities in Kuskovo were notable for their unusual splendor. On the extending 230 hectares of the manorial estate in the days of the most solemn parties number of the strollers and visitors could reach 30 thousand persons. This number was in addition of those called guests, which were admitted by tickets in a number of more than 2 thousand persons. Near the entrance to Kuskovo from the side of Perovo there stood a wooden pillar with the inscription, which invited the visitors of Kuskovo «to enjoy themselves as they like in the garden and inside the home». But it was strictly observed that «they walk quietly and pick and break nothing in the garden, making no row, quarrel and outrage».

The central compositional axis of the whole ensemble going through two main buildings - the palace and the greenhouse, - continued after the pond and channel, the entrance to which was marked by two columns with the decorative vases. One of the columns, serving as lighthouses – (9) and the channel (10) are seen in the picture. After the pond the regular park passed into the landscape park, where there were the richest menagerie and the kennels, where have been brought 12 wolves, 120 American and 20 German deer. The animals and the birds lived in the particular elegant houses. Near the menagerie in the park has been built the Hunter's house, resembling a small Gothic castle. Beside it in the park stood the pavilions called typically for that epoch: «To find here a calmness», «A shelter to good people», «A house of the Philosophers», «A temple of the silence», «A house of the retirement», «A haystack», «A cave of lions», «A hut», «A Turkish kiosk».

The regular park has been divided in three parts. Its centre situated between the buildings of the palace and the greenhouse was organized as the parterre with the flowerbeds, lawns and paths and was decorated with many pieces of sculpture. Two lateral parts of the park, planned symmetrically, have been made as the alleys with the boskets, outgoing in a form of rays of a star from the central point, on which alleys stood the park pavilions. Here there were about 50 various exotic pavilions and amusement facilities (for example, a haystack could prove to be inside a comfortable pavilion), garden labyrinths, fountains, grottoes, hoist bridges, merry-go-rounds and so on. The typical particularity of the regular park of Kuskovo was the exceptional unity of the nature and architecture. This park was very popular in XVIII century. Each construction in the park (Dutch house, «Belvedere» and others) is the centre of the small ensemble, each path in its perspective is ended by the statue or by the façade of the palace pavilion, or pergola. (6) Open-air cage for birds - the modern reconstruction, (9) Menagerie - the modern reconstruction. The pavilion Menagerie is something like a zoo for birds (1755). Here the rare birds were bred: American geese, pheasants, pelicans.

If our picture were called «Summer in Kuskovo, XVIII century» and were a little bit bigger we could see many wonders of the Moscow country manorial estate. In that time the theatre comes into fashion. Many self-respecting noblemen organized private theatres in their manors. Their serfs played in these theatres in order to amuse the guests coming to the parties. P. Sheremetyev with the help of his son Nikolay also has founded the serf theatre in Kuskovo and his own theatrical school for the serf actors. The theatres were situated in the park of Kuskovo: The Big theatre – in the landscape park, the Air theatre – in the regular park, and the third theatre – in the Turkish house. The most interesting was the Green or Air theatre, which was situated to the north of the (8) Italian house. It was completely made of verdure: the wings and the actors dressing rooms were made of the clipped fir-trees and shrubbery, the benches were made of sod, boskets with the trellis were made of the barberry, which grew around the amphitheatre. There have remained the foundations made of earth, according to which one could trace the plan of the whole construction.

The cultural originality of the manorial estates in the second half of the XVIII century consisted in addressing to the European and Oriental architectural styles and application of them in the unusual cultural environment. The garden houses of the regular parks stylistically reminded of the strange architecture and created an imitation of the voyages. The manor is an «Extract of the Universe, arranged on one dessiatina (Russian measure unit of land)». So the centre of the «Dutch plot» with the pond and the hoist bridge (initially it was held on the iron chains), Dutch garden and tulips, with the grazing cow brought especially from the Holland was the two-storeyed Dutch house with a pediment going stepwise in a Dutch style and typical glass structure of the windows. In the other part of the manor – so called «Italian corner» - has been reconstructed the image of the Renaissance Italian villa with the (7) Grotto and amphitheatre. In the small garden in front of the two-storeyed (8) Italian house there were the fountain and the statues. This house has been built in 1754-1755 years under the guidance of Yu. I. Kologrivov, the fine art connoisseur, who was educated in Rome. Within the scope of the holidays the Italian house played the role of the «Palace for small parties». In the Italian house were conserved the masterpieces and «rarities» of the Italian art: the pictures of Raphael, Rembrandt, Correggio and other masters. These pictures after 1780 years have been transferred to Saint Petersburg and Ostankino. This fact added zest of the museum to this small palace. In several rooms the walls were made of wood and covered with gilding, the ceilings were decorated with excellent drawings, the pictures hung on the walls were of the better quality than in all other buildings.

The design of the Chinese pagoda in Kuskovo was associated with the fantastic composition of the theatrical décor of the XVIII century. It was a «world of dreams», based on the «encyclopedic vision of the diversity of the world». The creation of the uncommonly magic, harmonious world full of the allegories was the main task of the arrangement of any manorial estate.

Count Pyotr Borisovich together with the well educated intellect and rare courtesy had also the genuine Russian hospitality and cordiality. All the celebrities of that time: poets, men of letters, actors, artists, ministers and envoys frequented him. The empress Catherine II also often visited the count in Kuskovo. In 1775 the Austrian emperor Joseph and many princes accompanied her. For this visit the triumphal gate has been especially erected in Kuskovo. Last time the empress was in Kuskovo in 1787 during the celebration of the twenty fifth anniversary of her accession to the throne. The empress has entered Kuskovo with all her Court and the brilliant suite through the magnificent arch. By the approach of the retinue of the empress the warship with 20 cannons and other smaller ships standing in the Big Pond saluted and from the banks the response volleys replied. To the Big House led the gallery of the tableaux vivants: here stood in pairs the inhabitants and the servants of Kuskovo with the baskets full of flowers. The girls in white dresses and wreathes scattered the bouquets of the flowers on the way.

The son, Nikolai Petrovich, like his father knew how to entertain his distinguished guests, how to throw parties even outdoing in luxury in brilliance those which had thrown his father. In his time the theatre in Kuskovo flourished more than in time of his father. Many people with great pleasure visited the theatre in Kuskovo country residence, preferring it to Moscow city theatres. The best decoration of the theatre in Kuskovo was the talented actress and singer Praskovya Ivanovna Kovalyova-Zhemchugova. Then to many serf actresses instead of their simple surnames were given the scenic pseudonyms in honor of the precious stones. Together with Praskovya Kovalyova-Zhemchugova appeared on stage singer Anna Buyanova-Izumrudova, dancers Tatyana Shlykova-Granatova, Fyokla Urusova-Bityuzova, Kuzma Deulin-Serdolikov.

The count, man noble and well educated for his time, from the first meeting with his serf maid has been struck by her beauty and was smitten with the serious feeling. The difference in their social status was too big for that time and therefore their life underwent many ordeals. In 1800 the count has left Kuskovo and removed to Ostankino with Praskovya Ivanovna. Little by little all the best things have been transferred from Kuskovo to Ostankino and the manorial estate has been forgotten. In 1801 the count got married with Praskovya in the legal marriage. In 1803 she bore to the count the son Dmitry. Three weeks later she died from tuberculosis. The death of Praskovya has undermined the health of Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetyev and he himself caught a cold and died in 1809. Kuskovo, left by its owners, has fallen into decay.

The six-year count Dmitry has been put in ward. The tutors destroyed and even sold by auction movable property, monuments, buildings, premises, constructions under the pretence to maintain the staff of the manor. The French invasion in 1812 has finally ravaged the estate. In Kuskovo has been accommodated the army of marshal Ney, which has plundered everything it could: the French have torn off even the dear velvet upholstery of the walls. The marshal himself has taken away to Paris the best pictures and tapestry.

After the defeat of the Napoleon's army Kuskovo has been repaired but without the former luxury. The reasons for it were both the means and the tastes of the new owner, Dmitry Nikolayevich Sheremetyev. Called up for military service he was in those troops, which shot at the insurgents on Senate Square in December 1825. The tragedy of the Decembrists so has shaken his young soul, that he has retreated into himself, secluded himself and was deeply absorbed in the religion, spending his days in prayers and fasts. The crowded noisy holidays in Kuskovo have come to an end, the theatre has been dismantled and after the Emancipation Reform (abolition of the serfdom) to maintain the regular park with the gardeners was too difficult even for Sheremetyevs. At the end of the XIX century the new heir has sold the bigger part of the lands of Kuskovo for dachas (summer cottages), but he didn't touch the family home (although it only made to bear the losses) and has built for himself the wooden house near the deserted Palace.

In 1919 the manorial estate has obtained the status of the State museum and since 1938 has been united with of the museum of the ceramics, the only one in Russia. Museum of the ceramics exists within the walls of the manor up to now. The building of the church has been transformed in the subsidiary premises of the museum. The church of the Most Merciful Saviour has been restored and consecrated again in 1991.

The pavilion «Grotto» is one of the most interesting constructions in Kuskovo. Grotto has been built in 1755-1761 years under the guidance of F. S. Argunov and its decoration has been finished by I. Focht and M. Zimin about 1775. The interior decoration of the grotto has been executed by the artist, master of «grotto decoration» I.I. Focht, who has been especially invited from Saint Petersburg.

The stone pavilion built in the baroque style and based on the three-stage socle-stylobate is richly decorated by the sculptures in the niches, the gable ornaments, the lion masks above the windows and cartouches above the doors. The unique interior has been decorated by the sculptures of coquina and gypsum. In the decoration of the grotto were used the nacres brought from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, stained glass, tufa and marble. According to the design of the architect the grotto had to personify the elements of the stone and water and represent an underwater cavern. The cupola is crowned by the fountain, its ribs made of the white tinned iron symbolize spurts of water and the water streams on the cartouches «put out» the flame in the bowls. Near the entrance at the doors there are two figures representing spring and summer, further – two other figures representing autumn and winter. The grotto is decorated with the nacre palms and flower bouquets, near the wall lies a huge mammoth bone. In front of the grotto has been dug out the cross-shaped pond.


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