The hall is devoted to L.N. Tolstoy's life and work during 1880-90. The turn of 1870-80s was the time when the writer experienced a profound spiritual transformation associated with his tireless search of faith. Since then religious, philosophical and social issues of the time are of prevailing concern of the writer. The works written in these years demonstrate changes in themes and in genre: alongwith fiction works Tolstoy started writing journalistic works, often using for his new writings the form of a treatise which was suitable for expression in details the ideas of religious and philosophical nature.
At that time Tolstoy and his family moved from Yasnaya Poliana to their estate Khamovniki in Moscow. Here we can see a portrait of Sofia Tolstoy with daughter Sasha on a hand painted by artist N.N. Ghe. The portrait is a copy by artist G.A. Zakharov. In Khamovniki L. Tolstoy wrote over one hundred works of different genres: short and long stories, dramas and a novel. Numerous illustrations to these works are demonstrated in this hall: for example, illustrations by artist F.E. Burov to the story “The Death of Ivan Ilich”, pictures by artist G.K. Savitski to the story “Kholstomer”, illustrations by artist B.M. Kustodiev to several tales for folk (“A Candle”, «As the Imp Chunk Bought»), illustrations by artist M.V. Nesterov to the story “Three Elder”.
Тоlstoy's works that contained his personal sharp critique of the contemporary state and church were subject to rigid censorship. Most of the religious, philosophical and publicist works by the writer were forbidden for publication in Russia («Confession», «What I believe», «The connection and translation of the four Gospels», «Kingdom of God is within you”, etc.). However they were distributed illegally, hectographed or copied by hand. Many works of Tolstoy were first published in Russian abroad: by Elpidin in Geneva and Chertkov in London.
The novel “Resurrection” written in 1890s deserves a special place in the creative legacyof Тоlstoy. In the hall there are illustrations to this novel by artist L.O. Pasternak and his painting dated 1895: “L.N. Tolstoy at the concert of Rubinstein”. Due to censorship the fate of the novel was tragic. Only 25 chapters out of 129 of the first edition were published in full, without censorship exemptions. The censorship omissions appeared later a booklet form.
In the hall there is the illustration by artist I.В Repin to the drama «The Power of Darkness», its publication was also complicated and even caused a negative response of the Emperor Alexander III who called Tolstoy “a nihilist” and “a godless person”.
In the portrait of V.N. Meshkov L.N. Tolstoy is depicted in the last year of his life.
It is the largest collection of items related to the heritage of Russia's greatest writer and philosopher. It is also a world famous It is also the world's largest research, cultural and educational center for studies and promotion of the creative legacy of Tolstoy.
The collection consists of about 500000 items related to the life and work of Leo Tolstoy. It has been the basis for research work of specialists on Tolstoy from Russia and other countries for many decades. The major part of it is a unique collection of manuscripts of the writer and persons close to him; it also includes the collections of art, sculpture, graphics, photos and films (several thousand negatives depicting the writer); a library of rare books and publications with almost all editions of Tolstoy's works undertaken during his life.
The Мuseum was established after death of the writer by the family, friends and loved ones of the writer, many of them being prominent figures of the Russian culture. Among them are his wife Sofia and Tolstoy's children, Russian writers: V. Briusov, I. Bunin, M. Gorki, V. Veresaev; artists: I. Repin, L. Pasternak, V. Меshkov, sculptor S. Меrkurov, representatives of the theatrical community: К. Stanislavski, V. Nemirovich-Danchenko, V. Каchаlov, А. Yablochkina, followers of Tolstoy: V. Chertkov, P. Buriukov, I. Gorbunov-Posadov, N. Gusev, V. Bulgakov. The museum of L.N. Tolstoy, then settled down at 18 Povarskaia street, received first visitors on December 28, 1911. 1920 was the year of significant changes: it changed its status from public to a state one to be denominated further on as the State Literary Museum. The museum was offered new premises in the house of the Lopukhin family at 11 Prechistenka street.
The museum occupies the ancient house which is a unique example of building in Moscow after the Patriotic War of 1812. The house was designed by architect А.G. Grigoriev (1782–1868), who was rebuilding Moscow after the great fire of 1812, alongwith Osip Bove, the Gilardi family, the Shestakov brothers and other famous architects. The Lopukhin house is distinguished by monumentality and refined simplicity of the external decoration. In the house are five state rooms: reception, hall-dining room, large living room and front bedroom. The architectural diversity of the ceremonial room complements the colorful ceiling paintings, made by Italian craftsmen.
In the late 18th - early 19th century the manor belonged to the Guards Lieutenant Basil Avramovic Lopukhin, then to his son Abraham Vasilyevich. Later the house was owned by Katherine Stanitsky, Councilor of the Court. It is not known exactly whether Tolstoy visited the house, though he was a distant relative of the Lopukhin: his cousin's aunt Maria Ivanovna Lopukhin, was the elder sister of Count Tolstoy, Fyodor Ivanovich, nicknamed "American". The Lopukhin house survived until today without significant changes and is now carefully preserved by the museum.