The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition “To the Great Writer Leo Tolstoy. From the Moscow Society of Lovers of Art.”
1009-26To commemorate 185th anniversary of Tolstoy's birth. 1828-1908-2013
Beginning September 9, 2013
Yasnaya Polyana Estate, Volkonsky House

This exhibition shows objects from our memorial collection: drawings by the Russian artists who gave their works to Leo Tolstoy as their birthday present in 1908, when he was 80. This album is now 105 years old.

For the first time in the history of the Yasnaya Polyana Museum the visitors to this unique exhibition can see the collection of the water colours and pastel drawings which the artists included in the album. Due to the state of preservation of the album we can feel the atmosphere of Tolstoy’s time, its moral overtones, tensity, and emotional abundance.


Portraits, landscapes, genre sketches referring to everyday life or historical events, complementing each other, as if echoing Tolstoy’s thoughts, depicted the true life of the Russian people, and reflected the most urgent problems of the Russian peasantry – poverty, starvation, and deprivation of rights; and they made one think about eternity and the meaning of human life.

On his 80th birthday Leo Tolstoy carefully looked through all these works, still smelling of paint, which were so close to his own frame of mind.

On October 8, 1908 many Russian newspapers published Tolstoy’s open letter addressed to the people and institutions which had sent him their birthday wishes or presents:

“…I thank all the universities, city Dumas, local councils, various educational institutions, societies, unions, groups of people, clubs, partnerships, and editorial offices of newspapers and magazines, which sent me their greetings and salutations. I also thank all my friends and acquaintances both in Russia and abroad who remembered me on that day … I also thank the people who along with their greetings sent me presents that were so moving for me…”

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