As a famous artist, Vasnetsov and his brothers created fabulous furniture for Russian theaters.
Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov – one of the most famous Russian artists, his brother Apollinarius is also known, but rather those who are interested in historical painting and theater. The other Vasnetsov brothers, in particular, Arkady, are in the shadow of the glory of the great painter and storyteller. But Viktor Vasnetsov as a phenomenon in world art could not have taken place if it were not for the atmosphere of creativity, conscientious service to art, familiar to each of the brothers from early childhood and which led several of them to a great passion – to create carved wooden furniture.
The beginning of the creative life
The head of the family, Mikhail Vasilyevich Vasnetsov, was a priest in the Vyatka province, and from childhood he was fond of drawing. In the house of his mother, Olga Vasnetsov’s grandmothers, Olga Alexandrovna, as the artist later recalled, all the walls were occupied by paintings made by herself. The Vasnetsov family was always close to creativity in general – its representatives participated in the painting of churches, the design of church fences and the design of iconostasis.
The love of art manifested itself to one degree or another in all the brothers — Nikolay, Viktor, Peter, Apollinaria, Arkady and Alexander. Primary education to all six was given by Mikhail Vasilyevich himself.
Becoming older, Viktor Vasnetsov began to take drawing lessons not far from his home, and then he left for St. Petersburg to get an education at the Academy of Arts. There he met many famous craftsmen, including Kramsky, Repin, Nesterov, entered the famous Mammoth circle – a creative community that arose around the philanthropist Savva Mamontov and his estate in Abramtsevo.
Apollinaris Mikhailovich, Victor’s younger brother, took childhood lessons from the Polish artist Michal Elviro Andriolli, who worked in the field of romanticism, but never received an academic education, despite his studies in St. Petersburg from such painters as I. Repin and V. Polenov . Apollinaria Vasnetsov entered the history of Russian art thanks to the images of old Moscow – not just highly artistic, but also created with impeccable historical accuracy.
Another main activity of his life was the creation of scenery for theatrical productions – including the operas “Life for the Tsar”, “Khovanshchina”, “The Snow Maiden”, “Sadko”. Apollinaris had the most direct relation to the Abramtsevo circle, constantly keeping in touch with his representatives. A special event in the life of Abramtsevo was the creation of a carpentry workshop.
At the end of the 19th century, interest in folk culture increased markedly, and the All-Russian Art and Industrial Exhibition held in 1882 inspired many artists to turn to the subject of applied art. Another well-known patron of the arts, Sergey Timofeevich Morozov, from the dynasty of the Morozov merchants, acquired the exhibits displayed at the exhibition and a few years later opened the Museum of handicrafts, in which, among other things, items created by furniture makers were exhibited.
Members of the Abramtsevo circle, and first of all, Vasily Polenov’s sister Elena, Victor and Apollinary Vasnetsov, Elizaveta Mamontov, took an active part in the search for samples of folk art and creating their own sketches for armchairs, shelves, sideboards, chest of drawers and other wooden furniture, which she not only came to the visitors of the museum, but also served primarily as a convenience and decoration of the interior in the houses of the artists themselves.
In the ten years of its operation in Abramtsevo, the carpentry workshop created over one hundred products, including the authorship of the Vasnetsov brothers. Here Apollinary created projects for the interior of his apartment.
Oak buffet, with a pediment decorated with carved apples, with semi-antique bolts, resembles a Russian tower. And another, also by Apollinaria, as if it returns to the distant past – its doors are decorated as mica windows, and the elements of the thread contain images of cockerels, grapes, figurines of the magic birds Alkonost and Sirin.
These pieces of furniture and now decorate the apartment of the artist – it houses the museum, where his works and interior items are collected, which Apollinaria not only created himself.