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The guardian of Russian art

  In the suburbs of Smolensk, Belarus, there is a historical and artistic relic protection area Tarashkino. As early as the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was originally a luxurious manor, and its owner was a duchess named Maria Denisheva. This is an outstanding figure who made great contributions to Russian culture and art. However, she is unknown, and there is no way to verify her exact date of birth and who her biological father is. Only her full name when she was a girl was known was Maria von Jason, and Jason was her stepfather’s surname. She studied in an excellent private high school. After graduation, she was eager to get rid of the constraints of her family and married lawyer Rafael Nikolayev.
  
  Change the fate
  
  Maria ‘s artistic talent is outstanding, and she was born with a golden voice. After giving birth to her daughter, she was still ambitious and determined to go to Paris to learn vocal music, but her family was firmly opposed. Not only did she not give money and passports, she also threatened her with her children and threatened to deprive her of her inheritance. But persuasion and threats failed to succumb.
  After studying in Paris for 3 years, she has achieved remarkable results. Many letters of appointment with favorable conditions have come in succession, inviting her to appear on the major stages in Europe and have a bright future. She returned to China, however, and before long, she gave up her acting career and declared, “To be honest, I don’t want to get stuck in this mud.” Although Maria also has a talent for painting, she has no intention of devoting herself to the painting career, so for a period of time, she fell into a situation of being at a loss and unhappy.
  At this time, a prince charming in fairy tales, Duke Denishev, a wealthy entrepreneur, broke into her life, and their acquaintance and love finally changed Maria’s life path, allowing her to fully realize her own life. the value of life.
  Maria was brilliant and versatile, especially with her charisma to win the favor of the best people of the day. In her mansion, a large number of painters, musicians, writers, historians and even national dignitaries are often her guests.
  
  be kind
  
  Maria is open-minded and willing to help others, never caring about the harm done to her by others. Before she remarried Denishev, her family was not wealthy, but she generously supported the overseas Chinese. Her family made a lot of comments for this, and she always laughed it off. , When others are in difficulty, she immediately donates to help, never refuses, or even waits for others to speak. She does so based on an idea, like Pierre in Tolstoy’s War and Peace: “Since he needs it, I’m not short of money. I don’t care if I have money, I don’t hesitate. Give the land to others, so that the other party will not feel uneasy…”
  After Maria became the Duchess of Denishev, her philanthropic spirit was fully developed due to her husband’s wealth. At that time, the Novgorod Castle needed to be repaired, but the funds were scarce. Upon hearing the news, the Duchess immediately sent money to support it. Smolensk suffered repeated fires, and the wife financed the purchase of fire trucks. After the outbreak of the First World War, she set up a medical clinic in the manor, purchased an X-ray machine, and took care of the soldiers’ diet. Each wounded was subsidized when they were discharged from the hospital, and when the factory deducted workers’ wages, Maria upheld justice for them.
  In addition to her passion for public welfare, Maria is most concerned about civilian education and cultural relics collection. She founded a vocational school in the suburbs of Bryansk and several civilian primary schools in Petersburg and Smolensk. The pinnacle of her educational activities was the establishment of an agricultural school in Frenovo near Tarashkino, hiring the best teachers and creating an extremely well-stocked library.
  
  husband and wife
  
  Maria’s charitable and charitable behaviors always get the full support of her husband, Duke Denishev. It can be said that she responds to her beloved wife’s requests. When there is a disagreement, she immediately apologizes to her after the incident and corrects it. It happened that the famous art activist Sergei Diaghilev and Benoit founded the influential art society “Art World” in 1898, they were going to launch a magazine of the same name and turned to Mary for help. Ya. Since the duke disapproved of the magazine’s purpose of promoting “artistic freedom”, when his wife asked him to sponsor the magazine, he thought it was whimsical and categorically refused. Although Maria was embarrassed at the time, she knew her husband’s character and person very well. She knew very well that as an enterprising woman, she would only attract ridicule and ridicule, but as an ordinary woman, she could be willful and coquettish. Spending money on his wife is the Duke’s most comfortable enjoyment. He could buy furs and pearls for his wife without a second thought…and the Tarashkino estate.
  The Duchess decided to change tack. The next day, she changed the sullen attitude of asking for help, and appeared in her husband’s study with the majesty of a queen and shouted: “I want money!” The duke knelt down immediately, kissed her hand, and said in French: “Duchess, your business is my business.” “Art World” came out successfully in the second year, although it has only been established for 5 years, it has reached the level of the best publications in Europe.
  Duke Denishev was a very educated entrepreneur. In her memoir “Impressions of My Life”, Maria wrote with love and affection: “He has absolutely no gentlemanly manners in the upper class, he is serious, educated, and more importantly, his character is strong and independent, all of which make me fall in love. He has no prejudice in dealing with people, and will never give up unless he achieves the established goals. A rare self-taught person!” The
  Duke also supported his wife and the painting master Repin to set up a painting school in Petersburg. Run cheap stores and craft workshops.
  
  cultural preservation
  
  In 1896 she founded a painting school in Smolensk, modeled on her St. Petersburg studio. It was at this time that she developed a keen interest in antiquities, especially Russian antiquities. Over the years, her storage room, attic, and even wardrobe were filled with all kinds of icons, painted and carved plaques, wooden utensils, spinning wheels, musical instruments and other antiquities from all over Russia, thus becoming a well-known collection. Family. Her husband was not interested in this hobby, so Maria had to quietly continue to acquire her husband behind her back, and sometimes had to sell her precious jewelry to solve the urgent need.
  From 1903 to 1905, a museum building was built in Smolensk, named “Russian Antique House”, because Tarashkino could no longer accommodate any more collections. In 1911, the Duchess donated her museum to the city of Smolensk. In the current municipal gallery that survived the war, there are also many oil paintings donated by Denisheva.
  As early as 1895 when the Russian Emperor Alexander III Museum (the largest art museum in Russia, now known as the Russian Museum) was established in Petersburg, the Duchess has generously donated precious prints, drawings and gouache. In 1910, he donated another 60 oil paintings, among which were the works of famous painters Vasnetsov, Lich, Korovin, Bilibin and others.
  For many years, while Maria was working hard to educate the civilians and collect cultural relics despite her heart disease, in January 1905, the “Bloody Sunday” incident occurred in Petersburg, where the Tsar’s bloody suppression of peaceful protesters provoked a nationwide workers’ strike. , sailor uprisings, and even students and shop assistants took part in the protests. The most unexpected thing for Maria was that the peasants, who had always been regarded as the defenders of ancient traditions and worked hard for the education of their children, also used forks and axes to occupy the landlord’s manor. Maria couldn’t take the blow. In the autumn of 1905, she left Paris with her collection.
  Although the peasants’ indignation against the landlords and the nobles inevitably made the idealistic Maria disappointed and led her to leave Paris, the unexpected trip to Paris brought her new brilliance. The collection she brought was highly appreciated by local practical artists. Soon Maria, at the request of the French government, exhibited the treasures of Russian art for the French public in the 4 halls of the Louvre. The number of visitors reached 78,000. The French government honored the Duchess Denisev with the title of Educator of the People.
  A year later, the Duchess presented the products of the Talashkino workshop to the citizens of Paris. But she hesitated on the eve of the exhibition, fearing that the Russian-style exhibits would attract ridicule and ridicule, but her French friends gave her full support to build her confidence. Sure enough, the show was a great success, and the French were as pleasantly surprised as they had discovered the New World. All the exhibits were sold out immediately! Another year later, Russian tunics, headdresses, and Russian blouses all appeared in the boudoirs of Parisian ladies.
  Maria became interested in enamel craftsmanship in her last years and tried to explore the secrets of ancient enamel craftsmen. To this end, she established a workshop at home, and developed more than 200 unique enamel utensils day and night. Wrote a paper on this. The Duchess has been selected as her researcher by several European art institutes as a painter, collector, and art researcher.
  After the October Revolution, Maria, the Duchess, was bound to find it difficult to adapt to the new living environment. . Even in her final years, she studied enamelling, held art salons, and ran a technical school for children of Russian expatriates.
  
  After the October Revolution, Talashkino, the manor left by the Duchess, was also damaged to a certain extent. Fortunately, the government soon designated it as a historical and artistic cultural relic protection area. There are also records of painters Vrubel, Malyukin, Lorikh, Trubetskoy’s work and the composer Travensky’s 1913 ballet “On the occasion of spring”. There are also a few surviving collections of folk art in the restored agricultural school building. Denisheva Street, which was once renamed Krupskaya Street (name of Mrs. Lenin), was also restored to its original name.
  Maria Denisheva, a Russian woman who has made outstanding contributions to Russian culture, art and education, will not be forgotten by the world.

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