The most famous patrons of art



When people achieve everything – fame, fortune, high post, sometimes you want to share your state with society. This is a very laudable aspiration, inherent, alas, to a few. True patrons who provide support for art and science at their own expense, not so much. Close to the spirit of this phenomenon is sponsorship and charity. Concepts are generally similar, simply the direction of investment can be different.

The emergence of sponsorship in the West and in our country was developing in different ways. In Europe and America, material prosperity was considered a sign of God-pleasingness and righteousness (thanks to Protestantism and capitalism). We have for a long time had a real anti-cult of wealth. Marina Tsvetaeva also noted that there is an unpronounced sense of untruth of big money in the soul of a Russian person. Poverty is used to us not to consider a vice, but merchants and bankers were considered bloodsuckers and interest-holders.


Despite the negative general attitude of the society, the Russian rich people still shared their capital, promoting science, culture and art. The appearance of patrons in Russia is not accidental, because many millionaires left the peasantry, being deeply believers. Such rich people lived according to the principles of Christian morality, frankly wanting to help the “wretched and wretched”. Although some patrons in the depths of their hearts cherished the dream of getting for their actions a state award or light their name. Today, charity in Russia is experiencing a revival, so it will be appropriate to recall the most famous of our patrons. Gavrila Gavrilovich Solodovnikov (1826-1901).

This merchant became the author of the largest donation in the history of Russia. His fortune was about 22 million rubles, 20 of which Solodovnikov spent on the needs of society. Gavrila Gavrilovich was born in the family of a paper trader. The future of a millionaire from childhood, attached to the case, so he never learned to really write or express his thoughts. But at the age of 20 Solodovnikov already became a merchant of the first guild, and in 40 years earned his first million. The businessman became famous for his extreme prudence and frugality. They say that he did not hesitate to eat yesterday’s porridge and ride in a carriage without tires on wheels. Solodovnikov did his own business, even if it was not entirely clean, but he calmed his conscience, making a well-known testament – almost all of the merchant’s condition went to charity. The first contribution was sponsored by the Moscow Conservatory. The contribution of 200 thousand rubles was enough for the construction of a luxurious marble staircase. Efforts of the merchant on Bolshaya Dmitrovka built a concert hall with a theatrical stage, where ballets and extravaganza could be staged. Today it became the Operetta Theater, and then there was the private opera of another patron, Sawa Mamontov. Solodovnikov wanted to become a nobleman, for this he decided to build a useful institution in Moscow. Thanks to the patron in the city, the Clinic for Skin and Sexually Transmitted Diseases appeared, equipped with all the most interesting. Today in its premises is the Moscow Medical Academy named after IM Sechenov. At the same time, the name of the benefactor was not reflected in the name of the clinic. According to the will of the merchant, his heirs left about half a million rubles, the remaining 20147700 rubles were put into good deeds. But at the current rate this amount would be about 9 billion dollars! A third of the capital went to the construction of Zemstvo women’s schools in a number of provinces, another third – to create vocational schools and a shelter for homeless children in the Serpukhov district, and the remainder to build houses with cheap apartments for poor and single people. Thanks to the testament of the patron in 1909, the first house “Free citizen” appeared on the 2nd Meshchanskaya street with 1152 apartments for single people, in the same building the “Red Diamond” house with 183 apartments for families was built. With the houses there were features of communes – a shop, a dining room, a laundry, a sauna and a library. On the first floor of the family house there were nurseries and a kindergarten, the rooms were already offered with furniture.Only here in such comfortable apartments “for the poor” the first to enter live the officials.

The most famous patrons of art

Alexander Ludwigovich Stieglitz (1814-1884).

This baron and banker was able to donate from his fortune 100 million rubles to good deeds of 6 million. Stieglitz was the richest man in the country in the second third of the XIX century. His title of a court banker, together with the capital, he inherited from his father, Russified the German Stieglitz, who received the title of Baron for his services. Alexander Ludwigovich strengthened his position by acting as an intermediary, thanks to which Emperor Nicholas I was able to conclude an agreement on external loans for 300 million rubles. Alexander Stiglitz in 1857 became one of the founders of the Main Society of Russian Railways. In 1860, Stieglitz was appointed director of the newly created State Bank. The Baron liquidated his firm and began to live on interest, taking up a luxurious mansion on the Promenade des Anglais. In itself, capital brought Stieglitz 3 million rubles a year. Big money did not make the baron sociable, they say that even the haircut he cut for 25 years did not hear the voice of his client. The modesty of the millionaire took painful features. It was Baron Stieglitz who stood behind the construction of the Peterhof, Baltic and Nikolayev (later October) railways. However, the banker remained in history not with his financial assistance to the tsar and not the construction of roads. Remembrance of him remained largely due to charity. The Baron allocated impressive sums for the construction of the School of Technical Drawing in St. Petersburg, its content and museum. Alexander Ludwigovich himself was not alien to art, but his life was devoted to making money. The husband of the adoptive daughter, Alexander Polovtsev, managed to convince the banker that the country’s growing industry needed “scholarly draftsmen.” As a result, thanks to Stieglitz, there was a school for his name and the country’s first museum of arts and crafts (the best part of his collections was eventually handed over to the Hermitage). Polovtsev himself, who was State Secretary of Alexander III, believed that the country would be happy when the merchants began to donate money for education without the mercenary hope of receiving a government award or preferences. Thanks to the inheritance of his wife, Polovtsev was able to publish 25 volumes of the “Russian Biographical Dictionary”, but because of the Revolution this good deed was never completed. Now the former school of technical drawing Stieglitz is called Mukhinsky, and a marble monument to the baron-philanthropist from it has long ago been thrown out.

The most famous patrons of art

Yuri Stepanovich Nechaev-Maltsov (1834-1913).

This nobleman donated a total of about 3 million rubles. At the age of 46, he unexpectedly became the master of a whole network of glassworks for himself. They received them from his uncle-diplomat Ivan Maltsev. He was the only one who survived during the massacre in the Russian embassy in Iran (at the same time Alexander Griboyedov was killed). As a result, the diplomat became disillusioned with his profession and decided to start a family business. In the town of Gus Ivan Maltsev created a network of glass factories. For this, a secret of colored glass was obtained in Europe, with the help of which the industrialist began to produce highly profitable window panes. As a result, all this glass-crystal empire, along with two rich houses in the capital, painted by Aivazovsky and Vasnetsov, was inherited by the elderly officer, Nechaev, who was no longer young. Together with the wealth he got a double surname. Years lived in poverty, imposed on Nechaev-Maltsev his indelible imprint. He was known as a very mean person, allowing himself to be spent only on refined food. Ivan Tsvetaev, the father of the future poetess, became a friend of the rich man. During the rich feasts, he sadly counted how much building materials could be bought for gourmet money. Over time, Tsvetaev managed to persuade Nechayev-Maltsev to allocate 3 million rubles, required for the completion of the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. It is interesting that the philanthropist himself did not seek fame.On the contrary, all 10 years that construction was going on, he acted anonymously. The millionaire was going to unimaginable waste. So, 300 workers hired by them extracted a special white frost-resistant marble right in the Urals. When it turned out that in the country no one can make 10-meter columns for the portico, Nechaev-Maltsev paid for the services of a Norwegian steamer. Thanks to the philanthropist, skilled stonemasons were brought from Italy. For his contribution to the construction of the museum, the modest Nechayev-Maltsev received the title of Ober-Hofmeister and the diamond order of Alexander Nevsky. But not only the museum invested funds “glass king.” On his money in Vladimir appeared Technical School, on Shabolovka – poorhouse, and on Kulikovo field church in memory of the killed. To the centennial anniversary of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2012, the Shukhov Tower Foundation offered to give the institution the name of Yuri Stepanovich Nechaev-Maltsov instead of Pushkin. However, the renaming did not take place, but on the building there was a commemorative plaque in honor of the patron of art.

The most famous patrons of art

Kuzma Terentyevich Soldatenkov (1818-1901).

The rich merchant donated more than 5 million rubles to charity. Soldatenkov sold paper yarn, he was a co-owner of textile Tsindelevskaya, Danilovskaya, and Krenholmsky manufactories, in addition to the shares owned trehgorny brewery and the Moscow registration bank. Surprisingly, Kuzma Terentyevich himself grew up in an ignorant Old Believer family, not accustomed to reading and writing. From an early age, he was already behind the counter in the shop of his rich father. But after the death of the parent, no one could stop Soldatenkov in quenching the thirst for knowledge. The course of lectures on ancient Russian history was read by Timofei Granovsky himself. He also introduced Soldatenkov into a circle of Moscow Westerners, accustomed to doing good deeds and sowing eternal values. A rich merchant invested in a non-commercial publishing house, becoming at a loss to print books for the common people. Even 4 years before Pavel Tretyakov, the merchant began to buy paintings. Artist Alexander Rizzoni said that if it were not for these two big patrons, Russian masters of fine art simply would not be able to sell their works. As a result, in the collection of Soldatenkov was 258 paintings and 17 sculptures, as well as engravings and a library. Merchants even nicknamed Kuzma Medici. All his collection he bequeathed to the Rumyantsev Museum. For 40 years, Soldatenkov donated 1,000 rubles a year to this public museum. Donating his collection, the patron asked only to place her in separate rooms. Unsold books of his publishing house and rights to them were donated to the city of Moscow. Another million rubles was allocated by the patron for the construction of a vocational school, and he gave two million for the creation of a free hospital for the poor, where they would not pay attention to titles, estates and religion. As a result, the hospital was completed after the death of the sponsor, it was called Soldatenkovskaya, but in 1920 it was renamed Botkinskaya. The benefactor himself would hardly be upset to learn this fact. The fact is that with Botkin’s family he was especially close.

The most famous patrons of art

Brothers Tretyakov, Pavel Mikhailovich (1832-1898) and Sergei Mikhailovich (1834-1892).

The state of these merchants was more than 8 million rubles, 3 of which they donated to art. The brothers owned the Great Kostroma Linen Manufactory. At the same time, Pavel Mikhailovich was in charge of the factories themselves, but Sergei Mikhailovich was in direct contact with foreign partners. This division was in perfect harmony with their characters. If the older brother was closed and unsociable, the younger one adored secular encounters and rotated in public circles. Both Tretyakov collected paintings, while Pavel preferred Russian painting, and Sergei – a foreign, mostly modern French. When he left the post of the Moscow city head, he was even delighted that the need to hold official receptions had disappeared. After all, it made it possible to spend more on pictures.In total, Sergei Tretyakov spent about one million francs on painting, or 400 thousand rubles. Already from the youth, the brothers felt the need to make a gift to their native city. At age 28, Paul decided to bequeath his fortune to create a whole gallery of Russian art. Fortunately, his life turned out to be quite long, as a result, the businessman was able to spend more than one million rubles to purchase paintings. A gallery of Pavel Tretyakov worth 2 million, and moreover, real estate, was donated to the city of Moscow. The collection of Sergei Tretyakov was not so great – only 84 paintings, but it was estimated at half a million. His meeting he managed to bequeath to his elder brother, not his wife. Sergei Mikhailovich was afraid that his wife would not want to part with a valuable collection. When in 1892 Moscow got an art museum, it was called the City Gallery of the Brothers Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov. It is interesting that after attending the meeting, Alexander III offered the elder brother the nobility. However, Pavel Mikhailovich refused this honor, saying that he wants to die as a merchant. But Sergey Mikhailovich, who managed to become a real state councilor, would have accepted this proposal. Tretyakov, in addition to the collection of the gallery, contained a school for deaf-mutes, helped widows and orphans of painters, supported the Moscow Conservatory and art schools. On their money and on their own plot in the center of the capital, the brothers created a thoroughfare to improve transport connections in Moscow. Since that time the name Tretyakovskaya has been preserved in the name and the gallery itself and the travel, created by the merchants, which turned out to be a rarity for the country with a stormy history.

The most famous patrons of art

Savva Ivanovich Mamontov (1841-1918).

This bright personality in the history of Russian culture had a significant impact on her. It is difficult to say exactly what Mamontov sacrificed, and it is quite difficult to calculate his condition. Mamontov had a couple of houses in Moscow, Abramtsev’s estate, land on the Black Sea coast, roads, factories and a million-dollar capital. Savva Ivanovich went down in history not just as a patron of art, but also as a true builder of Russian culture. A Mamontov was born in the family of a wine-seller, who headed the Society of the Moscow-Yaroslavl Railway. The industrialist made his capital on the construction of railways. It was thanks to him that a road appeared from Yaroslavl to Arkhangelsk, and then to Murmansk. Thanks to Savva Mamontov, a port appeared in this city, and the road that connected the center of the country with the North saved Russia twice. First it happened during the First World War, and then during the Second World War. After all, almost all the aid of the Allies came to the USSR through Murmansk. The art was not alien to Mamontov, he himself worked well. Sculptor Matvey Antokolsky even considered him talented. They say that thanks to the excellent bass Mamontov could become a singer, he even managed to make his debut in the Milan opera. However, neither on the stage, nor in the school Savva Ivanovich never got. But he was able to earn so much money that he managed to arrange his own home theater and establish a private opera, the first in the country. There Mamontov acted as a director, conductors, and decorators, and also set his actors a voice. Having bought the Abramtsevo estate, the businessman created the famous Mamontov circle, whose members constantly spent time visiting their wealthy patron. On the piano, Mamontov learned to play Chaliapin, Vrubel wrote in his philanthropist Demon’s office. His estate near Moscow Savva the Magnificent made a real art colony. Here workshops were built, peasants were specially trained, and in the furniture and ceramics a “Russian” style was planted. Mamontov believed that people should be taught to the beautiful not only in the temples, but also at the stations and on the streets. Sponsored by the millionaire and the magazine “World of Art”, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Only now the fan of art is so carried away by charity that he managed to get into debt.Mamontov received a rich order for the construction of another railway and secured a large loan on the security of the action. When it turned out that there were 5 million to repay, Savva Ivanovich was in Taganskaya prison. Old friends turned away from him. To somehow repay Mamontov’s debts, his rich collection of paintings and sculptures was sold for a pittance at an auction. The impoverished and aged patron began to live at the ceramic workshop behind Butyrskaya Zastava, where he passed unnoticed for all. Already in our time, the famous patron of art was put up a monument in Sergiev Posad, because here the Mammoths laid the first short branch line specially for the transportation of pilgrims to the Lavra. It is planned to erect four more monuments to the great man – in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, on the Donetsk railway and on the Theater Square in Moscow.

The most famous patrons of art

Varvara Alekseevna Morozova (Khludova) (1850-1917).

This woman owned a fortune of 10 million rubles, donating more than a million to charity. And her sons Mikhail and Ivan became famous collectors of art objects. When Varvara died a husband, Abram Abramovich, from him she inherited the 34 years of the Association of Tver Manufactory. Becoming the sole owner of large capital, Morozova took care of providing the unfortunate. Of the 500,000 that her husband allocated to allowances for the poor and the maintenance of schools and churches, 150,000 went to a clinic for the mentally ill. After the revolution, the Morozov Clinic was named after psychiatrist Sergei Korsakov, another 150,000 were donated to the Craftsmen’s School for the Poor. The remaining investments were not so great – 10 thousand received the Rogozhskoe women’s primary school, they went to rural and earth schools, to shelters for the nervous. Cancer Institute in the Maiden Field received the name of its patrons, the Morozovs. And there was a charitable institution in Tver, a sanatorium in Gagra for tuberculosis patients. Varvara Morozova was in many institutions. Her name eventually resulted in the name of vocational schools and primary schools, hospitals, maternity shelters and almshouses in Tver and Moscow. In gratitude for the donation of 50 thousand rubles, the patron’s name was engraved on the pediment of the Chemical Institute of the People’s University. For Prechistensky courses for workers in Coursov Lane Morozova bought a three-story mansion, she also paid for the move to Canada Dukhobors. It was Varvara Alekseevna who financed the construction of the first in Russia free library-reading room named after Turgenev, which was opened in 1885, and then helped to acquire the necessary literature. The final point of Morozova’s charitable activity was her will. Fabrikantsha, exhibited by Soviet propaganda as an example of money-grubbing, ordered to transfer all of its assets to securities, put them in the bank, and give the money to the workers. Unfortunately, they did not have time to appreciate all the kindness of their mistress – a month after her death, the October Revolution happened.

The most famous patrons of art

Savva Timofeevich Morozov (1862-1905).

This philanthropist donated about 500 thousand rubles. Morozov managed to become a model of a modern businessman – he studied chemistry at Cambridge, and studied textile production in Liverpool and Manchester. Returning from Europe to Russia, Savva Morozov headed the Association of Nikolskaya Manufactory, named after him. The managing director and chief shareholder of this enterprise remained the mother of an industrialist, Maria Fedorovna, whose capital was 30 million rubles. The forward thinking of Morozov said that thanks to the revolution, Russia will be able to catch up and overtake Europe. He even drafted his own program of social and political reforms, which set the goal of the country’s transition to a constitutional regime. Morozov insured himself in the amount of 100 thousand rubles, and the policy was issued to the bearer, transferring it to his beloved actress Andreeva. There, in turn, transferred most of the funds to the revolutionaries.Because of his love for Andreeva Morozov supported the Art Theater, he was paid 12-year rent of a room in Kamergerskiy Lane. At the same time, the contribution of the patron was equal to the contributions of the main shareholders, including the owner of the gold-cannery manufactory Alekseev, known as Stanislavsky. The reconstruction of the building of the theater cost Morozov 300 thousand rubles – a huge sum for those times. And this is despite the fact that the architect Fyodor Shekhtel, the author of the Mkhtava seagull, made the project completely free. Thanks to Morozov’s money abroad, the most modern stage equipment was ordered. In general, lighting equipment in the Russian theater first appeared here. Totally, the art patron with a bronze bas-relief on the facade in the form of a sinking swimmer, the patron spent about 500 thousand rubles. As already mentioned, Morozov sympathized with the revolutionaries. Among his friends was Maxim Gorky, Nikolai Bauman was hiding in the industrialist’s palace on Spiridonovka. Morozov helped deliver illegal literature to the factory, where the future People’s Commissar Leonid Krasin served as an engineer. After a wave of revolutionary action in 1905, the industrialist demanded that the mother transfer the factories to his complete submission. However, she obtained the removal of the obstinate son from her deeds and sent him with her wife and a personal doctor to the Cote d’Azur. There Savva Morozov and committed suicide, however, the circumstances of the death were strange.

The most famous patrons of art

Maria Klavdievna Tenisheva (1867-1928).

The origin of this princess remains a mystery. According to one of the legends, her father could be the Emperor Alexander II himself. Tenisheva in her youth tried to find herself – she married early, gave birth to a daughter, began to take singing lessons in order to get on a professional stage, she began to draw. In the end, Maria came to the conclusion that the goal of her life is charity. She divorced and remarried, this time for a prominent entrepreneur, Prince Vyacheslav Nikolaevich Tenishev. He was nicknamed “Russian American” for his business acumen. Most likely the marriage was by design, because only so grown up in an aristocratic family, but illegitimate, a girl could get a firm place in society. After Maria Tenisheva became the wife of a wealthy entrepreneur, she gave herself to her vocation. The prince himself was also a well-known philanthropist, founded the Tenishev School in St. Petersburg. True, he still fundamentally helped the most cultural representatives of society. Even during her husband’s tenure, Tenishev organized drawing classes in St. Petersburg, where Ilya Repin was one of the teachers, and she also opened a drawing school in Smolensk. In her estate, Talashkino, Mary opened an “ideological estate.” There was created an agricultural school, where the ideal farmers were brought up. And in the handicraft workshops were preparing masters of decorative and applied art. Thanks Tenisheva in the country there was a museum “Russian Antiquities”, which became the first museum of ethnography and Russian decorative and applied art in the country. For him in Smolensk was even built a special building. However, the peasants, as the princess cared for, thanked her in her own way. The body of the prince, embalmed for a hundred years and buried in three coffins, was simply thrown into the pit in 1923. The very same Tenisheva, containing with Savva Mamontov magazine “World of Art”, which gave the money to Diaghilev and Benoit last years lived in emigration in France. There she, not yet an old one, took up the enamel art.

The most famous patrons of art


Margarita Kirillovna Morozova (Mamontova) (1873-1958).

This woman was a relative of both Sawa Mamontov and Pavel Tretyakov. Margarita was called the first beauty of Moscow. Already at the age of 18 she married Mikhail Morozov, the son of another famous patron of art. At 30, Margarita, being pregnant with the fourth child, became a widow. She herself preferred not to deal with the affairs of the factory, whose co-owner was her husband. Morozova breathed art.She took music lessons from the composer Alexander Scriabin, who for a long time financially supported him, to enable him to create and not be distracted by everyday life. In 1910, Morozova presented the art collection of her deceased husband to the Tretyakov Gallery. A total of 83 paintings were transferred, including the works of Gauguin, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Munch, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Perov. Kramskoy, Repin, Benois, Levitan and others). Margarita financed the work of the publishing house “Path”, which until 1919 issued about fifty books, mostly on religion and philosophy. Thanks to the patron of art, the magazine “Questions of Philosophy” and the socio-political newspaper “Moscow Weekly” were published. In his Mikhailovskoye estate in the Kaluga province, Morozova transferred a part of the land to the teacher Shatsky, who organized the first children’s colony here. And this institution the landlord supported financially. And during the First World War, Morozova turned her house into a hospital for the wounded. The revolution has broken both her life and her family. Son and two daughters were in exile, in Russia there was only Michael, the very Mika Morozov, whose portrait Serov wrote. The manufacturer herself lived out her days in poverty at her summer cottage in Lianozovo. A separate room in the new building, a personal pensioner Margarita Kirilovna Morozova received from the state a few years before her death.



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