The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Exhibition “The Orchard of Leo Tolstoy”

SadLvaTolstogoSeptember 7 – October 6, 2013
Yasnaya Polyana Gallery

This exhibition was created at our museum several years ago and has already been shown at the Nikolai Nekrasov Museum-estate “Karabikha,” at the Mikhail Sholokhov Museum in the village of Veshenskaya, the Tambov Regional Local History Museum, and at a number of places in Bulgaria – Primorsko, Burgas, and the village of Yasnaya Polyana. Now the orchard of Leo Tolstoy is at last “blooming” in Tula, transporting the visitors into the world of harmonious nature – which human nature longs for, and into the world of Tolstoy which cannot be imagined without his family, his works, and, of course, his estate.

Creativity, Family, and Country Estate – these are the main themes of this exhibition project. It is just as in one of Tolstoy’s stories: the peasant who planted the tree died long ago, but the tree is still growing. Likewise, the “orchard of Tolstoy” implies many things: the real apple-orchards he planted at Yasnaya Polyana, which are still blooming and bearing fruit, and which surround the estate as a gorgeous apple-tree “necklace;” Leo and Sophia Tolstoys’ children, grandchildren, and numerous descendants living today; and, of course, his great works that will live and inspire the readers, calm and torment them, and make them laugh or cry as long as people live.

We didn’t want to fully reconstruct details of Tolstoy’s study, or scenes from the life of the family… We wanted to help the visitors come closer to the central figure of our project.

The exhibition shows memorial objects from our museum collections, which belonged to Tolstoy and his family, numerous photographs, paintings and drawings. In addition, visitors can see objects that did not belong to Tolstoy. But they are not just copies; some of them correspond to the original objects, and some do not.  But unlike the originals, these objects can be touched and even “experienced”: bent-wood furniture one can sit on, or a cup one could drink tea from, and, after all, the very taste of the tea brewed in the way Tolstoy’s wife Sophia did it.

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