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Next to the elegant bridge we find a monument to the portraitist Ilya Repin. If you take the bridge, it brings you to Lavrushinsky Lane in just 300 metres, where you'll be right outside the Tretyakov Gallery – where many of Repin's works are on display.
In 1958 it was decided to erect a monument to the Russian artist Ilya Repin, on the embankment of the Water Overflow Canal. Just four years later the entire name of Marshy Square was changed to Repin Square. The historic name of the square was reinstated after thirty years.
The proportions of this soviet-era statue – the high pedestal, the heavy-handed sculptural design – don't fit the romantic atmosphere in this historic part of Moscow. However, the image of the artist himself, and his outstanding work and creative achievements do fit into the area – when we consider how close we are to the Tretyakov Gallery, where many of his most famous works hang on display. This idea creates a more intimate connection between the artist and the place where his statue has been erected.
Ilya Repin was a Russian artist who became the most famous painter of his age – for portraits, domestic and historical canvases. Many of his works can be seen in Moscow's galleries. He had a particular aversion to the spelling reforms which were officially introduced in the Russian language in his lifetime. However, these reforms had not been introduced been introduced by the Bolshevik government – they were in fact initiated long before then, and continued by the Provisional Government which held office before the Bolsheviks finally seized power in October 1917.
Repin's opposition to spelling reform was firmly-held and cantankerously pursued. The removal of antiquated letters from the C18th gave rise to new spellings of even common words – but it was the re-spelling of his own surname which peeved the artist. It was now possible to write “Repin” and “Ryopin” instead. When letters arrived addressed to “Mr. Ryopin” at his house, he gave them back to the postman, marked “No Mr. Ryopin lives at this address”.
Ilya Repin was born in Kharkiv, in the Russian Empire – which is today in Ukraine. He had a fascination with painting ordinary working people and their lives – a fact which saved his reputation when Communism came in 1917, since he had similarly painted the portraits of the Romanov Royal Family and most of Imperial Russia's nobility too.
He made a great reputation while still young for his picture “The Volga Boatmen”, but followed this up with a terrifying portrait of Ivan the Terrible clutching his son's dead body – Ivan had just clubbed the boy to death in a fearful rage. Repin went on to paint the portrait of nearly every famous personality of his age – not only nobility, but composers, scientists, and authors. His country studio north of St. Petersburg ended-up on the wrong side of the border when Finland declared independence from Tsarist Russia – but Repin said he was too old to move house, and thus died in Finland. The land where the house stands later became Russian once again in the border-shifting which ended WW2.
The territories of historical district Zamoskvorechye lie on the right (southern) bank of the Moskva River. They joined Moscow in the 14th century when Russian lands used to suffer from the Golden Horde raids. The settlers mainly were soldiers, handicraftsmen and merchants. Their life was organized in a patchwork sloboda system. In 1591-1592 during the reign of Feodor I the fortified wall on the site of the present-day Garden Ring was built. Even now, one can easily understand from the street names what occupation the residents had centuries ago. For example, royal garden attendants (садовники, sadovniki) settled in the beginning of present-day Sadovnicheskaya Street from 1495 until the fire of 1701; tanners specializing in sheepskin (oвчинники, ovchinniki) gave their name to Ovchinnikovsky Lanes; royal mint workers (монетчики, monetchiki) – to Monetchikovsky Lanes, Court translators (толмачи, tolmachi) to Tolmachevsky Lanes. Bolshaya Ordynka Street was named after Orda, was the road to the Golden Horde, and was initially home to the Tatar community.
During our tour we are going to tell you about famous historic buildings in Pyatnitskaya Street, the main walking street of the district. We will walk around the State Tretyakov Gallery and listen to the story about the Tretyakovs, famous Russian businessmen, collectors and patrons of art, and the history of their collection and Gallery building.
There is also the house and museum of another famous Russian businessman and patron of art - Bakhrushin museum of theater, built in 1896.
Famous Russian writer Alexander Ostrovsky also lived in Zamoskvorechye, in Malaya Ordynka street. If you like his works you can visit his house-museum.
Zamoskvorechye is famous for its churches: Church of St. Sophia Of God's Wisdom on Gardener's Island and its belfry, Church of St. George the Victorious in Endova, The Church of the Ikon “the Joy of All Who Suffer”, The Church of St Nicholas at Pyzhakh, etc. Each of them has its own history and mystery.
With Your Audio Guide you will go through all the streets and lanes, get familiar with some interesting yards, explore the legends and myths and find out the truth. You will relax on the benches of Bolotnaya square; take pictures of the Kremlin domes, Giant Peter the Great statue, river embankments, learn about the former Mamontov Hotel and super deluxe Balchug-Kempinsky.