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Read about the places where the People’s Artist of the USSR lived and worked in this mos.ru article.

It is difficult to overestimate the merits of Igor Grabar in preserving the cultural heritage of the capital. A famous artist, restorer, educator, art critic and explorer of Moscow, he also managed to prove himself as a talented architect.

After the revolution, Igor Emmanuilovich saved many historical buildings from demolition. And it was he who also initiated the creation of a commission for the restoration of monuments of icon painting and painting and carried out work to preserve ancient icons and frescoes. Since the beginning of the 1940s, under the scientific supervision of Academician Grabar, large-scale work has been carried out to restore the monuments damaged during the Great Patriotic War.

March 25 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Igor Grabar. In honor of the memorable date, mos.ru invites you to recall a few facts from the master’s biography and take a virtual tour of the places in Moscow associated with his life and work.

Katkovsky Lyceum

The future artist was born in Austria-Hungary in 1871 in the family of a lawyer and deputy of the Hungarian parliament Emmanuel Ivanovich and his wife Olga Adolfovna, who was engaged in social activities. A few years later, the family moved to the Russian Empire.

At the age of 11, Igor Grabar entered the Moscow Imperial Lyceum in memory of Tsarevich Nicholas, located on Ostozhenka (building 53/2, building 1). This institution was popularly called the Katkov Lyceum – one of its founders was a publicist and educational reformer Mikhail Katkov.

It was a fundamentally new institution for that time, where young people from wealthy families received a classical education. The lyceum had philological, physics and mathematics and legal departments. The innovation consisted in the individual approach of teachers to each of the pupils. Emperor Alexander II was present at the solemn ceremony of consecration of the new building of the Lyceum.

In 1889, after graduating from the Lyceum with honors, Igor Grabar left Moscow to continue his studies at the St. Petersburg Imperial University at the Faculty of Law and History and Philology, and then to enter the Imperial Academy of Arts. He finally returned to Moscow only in 1903.

The building of the Katkovskiy Lyceum serves educational purposes to this day. Currently, the building on Ostozhenka houses the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.

Hospital named after G.A. Zakharyina

Igor Grabar successfully combined social activities with painting – today the country’s museum collections keep numerous still lifes, landscapes and portraits by the artist. And experts call his photographs of old Moscow houses invaluable.

The talent of the master, manifested in architecture, deserves special attention. According to Igor Grabar’s project, a hospital for the treatment of pulmonary diseases was built in the village of Kurkino (now Moscow, Kurkinskoe highway, building 29), named after the outstanding doctor Grigory Zakharyin, the founder of the Moscow school of clinical therapy. The decision to build the hospital was made by the widow of Professor Zakharyin Ekaterina after the death of their son Sergei from tuberculosis.

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Construction began in the spring of 1910. In his project, Grabar embodied the Palladian motives. The main ideas were symmetry, perspective and adherence to the principles of ancient architecture, which determined the appearance of the building – ceremonial and monumental. The hospital was designed for 50 patients, had a surgical and therapeutic department, an outpatient clinic, as well as buildings for doctors and staff. During the construction, new solutions were applied, which made it possible to provide an operating heating system in the winter, and the created lighting system far exceeded the standards usual for those times.

The First World War prevented the completion of the finishing work. Then the hospital opened a hospital, and in 1920 a surgical bone tuberculosis sanatorium was created on its basis. The interior design of the main building was carried out already in the 1930s.

Igor Emmanuilovich visited his only architectural brainchild more than once. Over the years, the hospital has not changed its purpose. Like a hundred years ago, today they provide medical care to patients with tuberculosis.

Art restoration workshop

After the October Revolution, Igor Grabar initiated the creation in Moscow of a commission for the preservation and disclosure of monuments of ancient painting (since 1924, transformed into the Central Restoration Workshops). For several years, under his supervision, specialists have been carrying out large-scale work on the restoration of paintings and icons preserved in ancient churches and monasteries of ancient Russian cities. The main task was not only the restoration of art monuments, but also a change in the approach to this process: if earlier restoration was considered repair, then Grabar sought to make it a science and attracted specialists in the field of chemistry, physics and microbiology to work.

In 1934 the workshops were disbanded. Restoration work resumed only 10 years later, and again it happened on the initiative of Igor Grabar, who was the first to declare the need to restore valuable objects damaged as a result of the Great Patriotic War. So, by order of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR dated September 1, 1944, the State Central Artistic and Restoration Workshop was organized. Igor Grabar was appointed its artistic director.

In 1945, a part of the territory of the Martha-Mariinsky monastery was allocated to specialists for work. One of the first restoration projects was the Church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, designed in the Art Nouveau style by Alexei Shchusev. Thanks to Grabar’s flexibility and ability to bypass bureaucratic obstacles, restorers saved it, like many other churches, from the destruction planned during the reconstruction of Zamoskvorechye.

Since 1960, the workshop has been named after its founder. Today the All-Russian Art Scientific Restoration Center named after academician I.E. Grabar is located on Radio Street (house 17).

Town of Artists

In the 1930s, Igor Grabar, along with his wife, daughter and son, settled near Verkhnyaya Maslovka Street in one of the houses of the artists ‘town, where the artists’ workshops and apartments were located. The building was erected by architects Vladimir Krinsky and Alexei Rukhlyadev in the style of rationalism. Such famous artists as Yuri Pimenov, Sergey Gerasimov, Vladimir Tatlin and Vasily Vatagin coexisted with Igor Emmanuilovich.

According to the recollections of Grabar’s daughter, for 15 years he strictly observed the daily routine: the morning began with a walk around the Dynamo stadium, then he worked at home for two hours, and then left for the Institute of Art History and Protection of Architectural Monuments he created and returned in the evening.

Currently, the facade of House 2 on Petrovsko-Razumovskaya Alley, where the famous artist lived and worked, is decorated with a memorial plaque by sculptor Alexander Zavarzin. The griffin depicted on it in the spirit of Old Russian architectural ornamentation, as well as the inscription made in a stylized Old Slavonic font, symbolize the scientific and artistic predilections of Igor Grabar, one of the founders of the Russian school of art history and restoration.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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