The ideas to memorialize Leo Tolstoy were expressed immediately after death of the writer. Several months later, in October 1911 Tolstoy exhibition was arranged in the halls of the Historical Museum. The materials presented at that exhibition laid the foundation for the Museum of Leo Tolstoy. The photos displayed in this hall were taken at that commemorative exhibition. We also show some of the items that were exhibited there. Matches, cigarettes, eau de cologne, candy and chocolate wrappers, tokens, erasers, razors….all bearing pictures of Tolstoy.
These items undoubtedly testify to the immense popularity of Tolstoy. They are displayed in the showcase to the right of the hall entrance.
On the walls of the hall there are the landscapes of Yasnaya Poliana painted by Sergey Nikolaevich Saltanov in 1912 after death of the writer. We can see a picture by V.S. Konstantinov depicting the house of the chief of the railway station Astapovo where the great writer died. There are also a copy of one of Repin's portraits of Tolstoy and a figurine “Tolstoy on arable land” by K.Klodt.
The legacy of Tolstoy is expressed in printed words – that is why the book collection of the museum is of special importance. You can see in the book cases many a rare and unique publication. There are collections of works published during Tolstoy's lifetime, separate works, volumes of the Complete (or “Commemorative”) edition which had been published during 30 years, from 1928, when the country celebrated one hundred years of Tolstoy's birth, to 1958. We can also see the first volumes of the new academic collection of Tolstoy's works (100 volumes total) which is published by the Institute of World Literature, Academy of Science of Russia. The library collection includes multiple works on Tolstoy in Russian and foreign languages, as well as publications of memoirs, diaries, letters of the members of Tolstoy's family which are a valuable source for studies of the life and work of the writer. We can see in the hall publications of correspondence between Tolstoy and his sister and brothers, and Russian writers, “Yasnaya Poliana Notes” by D.P. Makovitski, the personal doctor and friend of the writer who lived in Yasnaya Poliana for six years, publication of “Diaries” by Sofia Tolstoy, etc.
In the bookcase there personal items of great interest like “Gospel” which belonged to Alexandra Andreevna Tolstoy, great-aunt of the writer with whom he exchanged correspondence for many years; the chess presented to Tolstoy who was fascinated with the ancient game; phonograph rollers with the voice of Tolstoy recorded in 1908.
The main task of our museum is to preserve the memory about Leo Tolstoy, life and creative work of a genius who left an indelible mark in the history of Russian literature, culture, social thought. The items from the museum collection presented in this exhibition demonstrate in full majesty of the personality and creativity of the writer who was able to influence, by printed word, the minds and hearts of the people, “make the world listen”.
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.