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April 26, 2021 09:01 am

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During the opening ceremony of the monument to N.V. Gogol. Arbat Square. Photo of artistic phototype by K.A. Fisher. April 26, 1909. Main Archive of Moscow

Today this monument is installed on Nikitsky Boulevard in the courtyard of the former estate of Count Alexander Tolstoy.

Nikolai Gogol became the second Russian writer after Alexander Pushkin, to whom a monument was erected in Moscow. It happened in 1909. The Glavarkhiv contains documents related to the opening of the monument to the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth.

For the first time, the idea of ​​installing the monument was announced in the large hall of the Noble Assembly by the theater figure Alexei Potekhin during the celebrations dedicated to the unveiling of the monument to Alexander Pushkin in June 1880.

The first meeting of the Committee for the construction of the monument to Nikolai Gogol was held in 1896. It discussed the location of the monument and the terms of the competition for the best project. It was decided that the monument would be erected on Arbat Square next to Prechistensky Boulevard (now it is Gogolevsky Boulevard). The documents of the Glavarkhiv state that according to the terms of the competition for the drafting of the monument to Gogol, it should be “a bronze statue of a writer in a sitting position” and in a suit that would correspond to the era of his life.

In the Historical Museum, 46 projects of the future monument in the form of models and drawings were exhibited for all to see. The results of the competition were summed up in February 1902 at a committee meeting – four projects were selected. Their authors were academician of architecture Parmen Zabello, architect Vladimir Sherwood, sculptors Sergei Volnukhin and Robert Bach. However, none of these projects were approved.

At the next meeting of the committee in April 1906, which took place in the garden at the house of the artist and collector Ilya Ostroukhov in Trubnikovsky lane, the young sculptor Nikolai Andreev presented his project. He approached the work very responsibly: he re-read the writer’s works, studied his lifetime portraits, met with Nikolai Gogol’s sister Olga and his contemporaries. As a result, the committee approved this project unanimously. Also, Fyodor Shekhtel made his proposals in terms of the architecture of the monument, who acted as an expert together with the artist Valentin Serov and the artist of the Maly Theater Alexander Lensky.

An interesting feature of the monument designed by the sculptor Nikolai Andreev is the multi-figured relief frieze encircling the pedestal. It depicts the heroes of Gogol’s works “The Inspector General”, “The Overcoat”, “Taras Bulba”, “Dead Souls”, “Petersburg Tales”, “Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka.”

The production of the monument took almost two years. To organize a holiday in honor of the opening of the monument to the writer, a special Gogol commission was created. The Moscow Archive Fund contains a program of celebrations dedicated to the unveiling of the Gogol monument on April 26-28, 1909, as well as a ticket and an invitation to the ceremony.

A plan of Arbat Square was prepared in advance, indicating the stands and places for those invited. Newspapers wrote that there should be at least 1,500 guests, but about 4,000 spectators came to the opening. This event has become very significant in the cultural life of Moscow.

The scale of the celebration was captured by the founder of the Russian Photographic Society Karl Fischer – the owner of one of the largest photographic institutions in Moscow. His petition, sent to the Gogol Commission at the Moscow State Administration, to take photographs during the opening ceremony has survived. On the day of the celebration, April 26, 1909, Karl Fischer captured a large crowd of people on Prechistensky Boulevard.

In 1951, the monument to the writer was moved to the territory of the Donskoy Monastery. And in 1959 it was installed on Suvorovsky Boulevard (today it is Nikitsky Boulevard) in the courtyard of the former estate of Count Alexander Tolstoy, where Nikolai Vasilyevich spent the last four years of his life.

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

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